The Attack of the Troll

There I was, just strolling along, minding my own business, doing my thing, happy as a little lark with my little lark friends — when the troll pounced.

It came from out of nowhere — in fact, I didn’t even know it was there until its huge shadow blocked the sun from my face and I looked up to see it looming over me. My lark friends scattered, but I was frozen.

Let me tell you, this was one scary motherfucker. We’re not talking about the cute, fuzzy-haired, Americanized version of a troll. We’re talking the full-on Scandinavian romantic-era folklore version – giant, ugly, smelly, savage, mean. Sharp teeth and huge eyes bulging out of its nasty head.

 

It towered over me, slimy drool dripping from its swollen lips, ready to snatch me up any second with its enormous claws to devour me, bones and all.

I started to run, but in my fear I stumbled, and as I desperately climbed back to my feet I failed to see the large pit of quicksand before me.  Two steps in and I was trapped.  There I stood, feet sunk, powerless to do anything but stare up at this enormous, hideous beast as it moved in for the kill.  Quickly I looked around me, searching for some kind of weapon, anything I could use to fight this disgusting green monster.  But there was nothing.  Just the spit-out flesh and bones of past victims that didn’t agree with the troll’s digestive tract.

As I searched for hope, I found that others were trapped there, too.  We all stood silent, staring up at this revolting beast, wondering what would happen next.  I exchanged frightened glances with a few of them and it was clear that we were all thinking the same thing.  What was to become of us?  What had we done to deserve such an awful fate?

We were a varied bunch, but we all shared one thing in common:  We had opened ourselves up to the world.  We had dared to share things about our deepest selves with others – hopes, dreams, grief, belief, humor, love.  We had done this in innocence, a simple attempt to connect with others.  But in doing so we had lifted a protective spell, and the hungry, slimy monster smelled our blood.

As I stood there with the others, paralyzed by quicksand, waiting for the revolting fiend to choose its first snack, a quick thought flashed:  “It is all over.”  I hung my head in resignation and closed my eyes, waiting for the inevitable.

But then, something happened.  Something, inside my head, HAPPENED.  Some part of me switched from “off” to “on,” and I heard a tiny voice cry, “Don’t give up!  You are worthy!”  It was faint, but just loud enough that I could hear the determination in its voice.  And I believed it.

My eyes snapped open.  I lifted my hanging head and looked the gruesome creature dead in the eye.  I was NOT going down without a fight.

It snarled at me and a revolting smell oozed from its mouth.  But I was not daunted.  I laughed in its face, a huge belly laugh of defiance.  I screamed, “YOU ARE NOTHING TO ME!” and I meant it.  I closed my eyes tightly and screamed it again, louder:

“YOU ARE NOTHING TO ME!”

And in that moment, a series of scenes began to flash upon the black screen behind my closed eyelids.  Time stopped as it all played out before me.

I saw my friends, the ones I know online and off, friends who encourage me and appreciate what I have to say, overlooking my many faults and forgiving me for my totally imperfect existence.

I saw my parents, my mother and father and stepmother, who love me and support me no matter what, who are proud of me and tell me so all the time.   And my husband, who laughs at my stupid jokes even when they’re lame, because he thinks it’s funny that I think it’s funny, and who always reminds me that I’m special, with nothing more than a quick smile or a squeeze of my hand or a tiny kiss in passing.

I saw my beautiful son, who is now, and will always be, the best thing I have ever done.

And with that, I knew I had beaten the monster.

I opened my eyes, and the giant beast was gone.  Sunlight covered my face again, my eyes squinted as they adjusted from the dark.  The foul stench of green slime lifted and fresh air surrounded me.  The quicksand had disappeared and my feet were once again free.  The others had been freed too, and we all took our first tentative steps, not sure if it was really over or if it was just wishful thinking.

Where the scary troll had once stood there was now only empty space, except for one very small thing.  It was so tiny we couldn’t make it out from where we stood.  I approached it, cautious, but confident that I could defeat any monster that might take its place, because now I had a firm grasp of my special secret weapon – the people who really matter.  My heart wrapped even more tightly around them as I inched closer to whatever the vile, wicked creature had left in its wake.

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