A few years back I wrote a song about a Mermaid for my album. The words of 'Mermaid' are:
Mermaid was swimming in the dark sea
Seven thousand miles away from me
She was surrounded by many sailors
Perplexed by her beauty
The sailors looked upon her form
And desire within their hearts was born
They wanted only what they could see
A piece of her beauty
The waves began crashing wildly around
There was no hope for her left to be found
They were so blinded
And tried to grasp
Her heart was broken in two
Could it be broken, is love just a token
That can be bought and sold
What is a pure flame, unspoiled by the soul's shame
This fire that remains unquenched
A young man was staring so intently
Into the blue eyes of serendipity
He wanted only to make her happy
But she could not be owned
She could not be owned
She could not be owned
A mermaid is a creature of two worlds: the ocean and the earth. She doesn't fit into either world perfectly. She is neither fully human, nor is she fully fish. She is both. Her hybrid state makes her ephemeral, ethereal, other-worldly - a creature of fantasy and myth. Some would even use the cruel word, 'freak'. As much as there is awe and fascination with her, the mermaid also evokes a sense of aversion or a feeling of discomfort because she is a hybrid of two very different creatures. As Ariel from Disney's 'The Little Mermaid' can attest, she longs to be a 'part of your world' because she doesn't really belong anywhere.
I want to talk about that sense of 'not fitting in'. Of feeling like you're not a part of the accepted crowd. It's that feeling that you felt when you just started school, or were perhaps bullied, rejected or simply ignored. That hollow feeling of disconnection.
That feeling has always been with me from my early years and has caused me much pain. Voices have rung in my head like:
"Why can't you be more like her?"
"Why do you have to be so different?"
While the natural human instinct is to run from pain, I believe pain has a transformative power and can carry important life-changing lessons if channelled in the correct way. Pain often has a purpose. Before giving birth, a pregnant woman experiences a great deal of pain. While it is awful, she knows that the pain carries a purpose. It leads to something wonderful. It leads to a newborn child.
The pain of 'not belonging' has also been transformative for me. The pain has been awful but it has also blessed me with empathy, humility and it has taught me that being different is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a gift from our Creator. While the mermaid belongs in neither the ocean or the sea perfectly, she is a magnificent creature of beauty, mystery, uniqueness and well loved by many. She may long to be a 'part of your world' but it is her uniqueness, rarity and hybrid form that makes her incredibly valuable and beautiful. Perhaps that is the price that we pay for being unique and valuable - the price is not fitting in and being misunderstood.
Creativity requires unusual and rare foresight. Oscar Wilde said, "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." In order to create, you must see things that are not there. You must be able to see things through different eyes. I guess that is why so many artists felt like they didn't belong. Vincent Van Gogh, Robin Williams, Michael Jackson and the list goes on.
As much as social media champions individuality and being unique, ultimately human beings were built to connect and unfortunately being different does not encourage connection. This is the price that artists pay. Art is often born from pain. There is always some sacrifice.
While art can be beautiful and have great meaning, the artist pays a price in order to create that art. Mermaids are beautiful, but their beauty comes at a cost. The mermaid embodies every person who has ever felt like they didn't fit in. She lives in my heart. This is why I believe in mermaids.
Written by: Cheryl Lim - Jade Diary
[Picture from: this link]