The Shapes We Mae


Kate WeinerComment

I must be a mermaid. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.



For whatever reason, imagining myself as a mountain mermaid—as a gorgeous siren making waves in alpine lakes—has kept me anchored during a month of free falling. Whenever I'm anxious about the future, afraid I'm not doing it right, I say "I'm a mountain mermaid!" and it makes me feel silly and strong and succulent. 

Herewith, the mountain mermaid manifesto for living fearlessly. Whether you're a star flower sun goddess or a full-time witch a la Lily, drafting up a few ideas for how you want to live in this world is a soul-affirming practice. 


Mountain mermaids dive into unknown depths with an open heart. I've had moments when tightness about money and fear of scarcity have driven me to stockpile and not to explore. I don't want to fall prey to capitalist markers of success because I'm NOT A COG IN THE MACHINE, MAN. I want to adventure fearlessly, to approach the world from a place of abundance, because doing so feeds my soul. Every time I climb a mountain, every time I romp in the woods with friends, every time I say fuck it and take a 12-hour bus ride to explore a new city, I feel so crazy alive.  


I spent this entire weekend reading in the park. I skipped out on opportunities to travel not because I don't love scaling cliffs but because I knew, deep down, I needed some solitude. I needed to sit still and feel the grass against my legs and watch the evening sky shift from coral to gold to black. Much as mountain mermaids love a good adventure, they know that joy can be found wherever you are. You have to nap. You have to take two hours making yourself a delicious snack. You have to spend a day biking aimlessly and singing to Jess Best's latest album. Life needs long pauses of nothingness.


Like many mountain mermaids, I'm very reactive. It's the quality I least like in myself and the one that I am most fearful will threaten relationships with those I love. Even though I have grown a lot this last year, I still beat myself up for mistakes I made years ago. I fall into shame spirals at my shortcomings. I get so angry at every little thing I did wrong and can't fix, at all the ways I wasn't and am not perfect, that I can't get to sleep some nights. 

But the thing is, when you're a mountain mermaid, you have so many mountains to climb and hot springs to sink into that there isn't time to punish yourself. You have to accept you are imperfect—that you are learning and growing—and swim on. Forgiving yourself is part of loving yourself. And it's not a selfish act. It's a gift to those you love (and that includes you!)


The good bit about being reactive is that it stems from a place of passion. I want to cultivate that part (because the irrational responses and mood swings aren't doing anyone good) by choosing to radiate love. Even when it's hard. There's so much love to be had and shared and I want to drink it up and dish it out like the saucy, snappy, soulful mountain mermaid I aspire to. 


Mountain mermaids make art. Mountain mermaids play. Mountain mermaids create the space for others to grow and love and learn together. That's just how it is (in the very REAL world of mountain mermaids). 


Being a mountain mermaid isn't always easy. It takes work to get up those mountains without legs (and to be this crazy for THIS long. I'm exhausted!) But it's worth the process of exploring everything that this world and those we love and our star-filled souls have to offer.