Rosalie stiffened. “What do you see?” I asked softly. Her voice was barely a whisper. “A little girl. She’s in a closet…hiding.”
When I asked what she was hiding from, Rosalie shook her head slightly. After a few moments I asked how old she was. “She’s seven,” she responded and went on quickly, “It’s her dad. He’s going to find her and hurt her.” I reassured her that the little girl was safe right now, and suggested that by relaxing and just noticing what happened next, she would discover some way this girl might be helped. When I saw her breathing more easily, I asked what the little girl was doing now. “She’s praying. She’s saying it hurts too much, that she can’t take it anymore.”
I waited for a few moments then asked her gently, “Rosalie, what might help that little girl handle all that pain?”
She frowned, “She’s all by herself…there’s no one there.” Then her words came slowly: “She needs someone to take care of her.”
“Who could best do that?” I asked. Again she paused, intent and focused. Suddenly her face filled with a look of surprise and amusement: “A good fairy! I can see her there with the little girl…She’s with her in the closet.” Rosalie waited for a moment and then reported, “The fairy’s surrounded by a shimmering blue light and she’s waving a golden wand.”
“Rosalie, does the fairy have a message for the little girl, something she wants to say?”
She nodded: “She’s telling her she can do something to help. She can do something that will let her forget for a while about the horrible things going on, so she can grow up and handle it when she’s stronger.
I paused for a bit and then speaking softly asked how the fairy was going to do that. Rosalie’s tone was calm and deliberate: “She says she is going to touch different parts of her body with her magic wand and they will change and be able to hold all the terrible feelings for her.” She paused, listening inwardly, and then continued, “The good fairy is saying that even though it’s hard to be so bound up, it will be her way to survive, to be quiet and control what’s happening inside her.”
After a long silence, I asked Rosalie what had happened. “Well, the fairy put the little girl’s rage and fear into her belly, and then she bound it up so it could stay there. And then she put a magic lock on her pelvis and vagina so her sexual feelings couldn’t get her in any more trouble.” Rosalie took a few shaky breaths, and I gently asked, “What else?”
Tears began rolling down her cheeks as she said, “She told her she’d have to let her rib cage tighten so she wouldn’t feel the pain of her heart breaking.” Rosalie was quiet and then she went on, her voice a little stronger. “She said her neck would be a fortress with very thick round walls so that she wouldn’t cry out for help or scream out in anger.” Rosalie fell quiet and I just sat with her in silence.
“You’re doing beautifully,” I told her, and then added gently, “Is there anything else the fairy wants you to know?” Rosalie nodded. “She says some day the little girl will no longer be able to hold all this in, and her body will start unwinding its secrets. She will let go of everything she has been holding for so long…and she will do this because most deeply, she wants to be whole and real.” Rosalie was softly weeping, her shoulders shaking. “She just told the little girl not to worry. She would find people who cared and would hold her as she finds herself again.”
Rosalie sank back in her chair, and I asked what was happening now. “The good fairy is putting her arms around the little girl and taking her to bed.” After a few moments she continued, whispering, “She’s telling her that when she wakes up, she will forget what happened, but she will remember when she’s ready.” Rosalie was quiet and when she continued her voice was tender: “The good fairy just told her, ‘Until then, and for always, I love you.’”
As if she had just finished the last page of a cherished book, Rosalie reached for the shawl I leave on my couch, wrapped it around her and lay down, curling herself into the cushions. “Is this okay?” she whispered. “I just want to rest for a few minutes.” Her face looked serene, as if these were the first real moments of ease she had touched in a long, long time.
In the weeks that followed her inner journey, Rosalie slowly emerged as if from a cocoon. I noticed that even her physical movements were lighter, more fluid. She felt better about herself: Rosalie was beginning to accept that, all those years, she had been doing the best she could. It wasn’t her fault that she had never chosen to face the intensity of her feelings. It wasn’t her fault that she had tried to control her body with anorexia and armor her heart against intimacy with others this was her way of defending herself from more pain. There had been something intelligent and loving guiding her.