A Lakota Legend
There once was a woman called Black Corn. She lived in a village surrounded by incredible beauty. There was beauty in the forest, in the plains, in the sky above and the earth below. Black Corn was very tall, taller than all of the other women of her village, indeed, taller than most of the men as well. Strong of limb she was and fair to see. Yet deep within were hidden deeper waters, roiling with discontent and..... Well, no one really knew what else, not even she.
Black Corn was very unhappy, she had so much love to give, yet could not seem to find the one to give it to. All she wanted to do is love someone and have someone love her. She loved her People dearly and did all she could for them, even to the point of sacrificing her own wants to help her People.
Many Gifts she had been given by Wakan Tanka, but could not seem to find them when she needed them the most. She was taunted by many for things she could not understand, she began believing, at first resistantly, then willingly that the lies and the actions were deserved. When she would gaze upon her image in the still waters of the pond, she would think "you are too direct, too tall, too strong, too much... well, too much everything! You have too much passion, too much love, too much... well, too much everything, and no one wants what you have to give!"
Yet the love she held inside for all the People was full to bursting within her breast and all she wanted was someone who would accept her love. All she wanted was for the People to accept her love and what she could give them. Down and down she went with no one to love, no People who wanted her love, or so she thought.
Then, one day, after a particularly difficult incident, she awakened as if from a dream and thought to herself "Why is it this way? What did I do that was so awful that I should be treated in this manner?" Deep inside herself she looked for an answer to these questions. Deeply, beyond all of the hurt, all of the pain that had been put upon her, behind the men who had used her without her consent, and eventually, as her self-respect dwindled, with her consent. So many judgments had been passed on her but none so harsh as what she had passed upon herself.
The deeper she looked, the uglier it became, and the faster the anger rose until it was full-blown rage. White hot the rage burned and coursed through her body. Blindingly it raged, but this too was another illusion. Yes, the rage was a deception, a shield to protect her from what laid beneath.
Finally she could hide no longer behind the rage and the sorrow that she had desperately tried to hide over the years. It came at her like a tidal wave and she stood defenseless in its path. She no longer had the strength to fight; nothing left to stem the flood, so she stood helpless in its path, no shield to protect her any longer.
Out she ran into the forest, hearing the tiny voice inside screaming in agony, dying, dying, dying, screaming NNNNNOOOOOOOOoooooooo... and she just knew that all she had ever thought that she was slowly dying a painful death. Finally, she could help herself no more and cried out in anguish, clutching at the pain in her breast, feeling herself slipping away. She cried out, in full voice, which held all of the pain and agony, begging, at her most pitiful for Wakan Tanka to take her away from this pain.
"Please, please Wakan Tanka, Tunkasila, I can bear this life, this pain, no more, it is too much, Please, please, take me home, please let me have peace!" And when she had finished crying out these words and prayers, and all of the ugliness that was inside her had been given voice, the sound so awful to hear that not even the animals or birds made a sound out of respect for her pain, she lay herself down on the damp sweet smelling forest floor. Her soul ripped open and flayed a bloody mess before her and before the Creator, she finally saw the truth.
It began when she was 7 summers old; she would go into the forest to play. One day a strange man came upon her and began to speak with her. His words were intriguing and he spoke of grown-up things that she liked to hear about. Eventually this stranger seduced her as a child, and as a child, not knowing any better, had allowed it. Many years would pass before Black Corn realized what had been done to her, and when she did realize, she issued a judgment so severe upon herself that she began to believe that she was unworthy of love. She lost all respect for herself and, indeed, this is what she projected unknowingly to everyone she came into contact with. The voices of the others that would taunt her were really reflections of her own voice within that she could not, until now, listen to.
In that moment of her defeat, laying on the forest floor, she began to see with clarity what was that made the People treat her as they were, and with that knowing, she began to cry, great heart wrenching cries that tore at the very fabric of her soul and thus began the cleansing process from within. She found that while she had forgiven that strange man his trespass against her, she had never forgiven herself for her part in it, she had never taken responsibility for it either, preferring to live in a fantasy in her mind that she had been the victim, all the while feeling the guilt of the participant. There had been one other who had used her in this fashion, a relative, who did not know of the first stranger. But by then, the damage to her soul had been done and, while not realizing why it was so, she allowed herself to be degraded even more by this second man.
After that, there was no room for self-respect or self love, feeling as she did that she was unworthy for the things she had done.
After the sobbing had subsided, Black Corn began to feel differently, having accepted everything that was ugly inside of her, she began to heal. Finally, after all of these years. It took a long time, but finally she was able to forgive herself as well as forgive those who took her unfairly and in bad faith, took her innocence and made something ugly out of it, all the while accepting her own responsibility in it as well. Finally she was able to forgive herself. With that forgiving, there was now room for love; all of the love she wanted to give the People was the love that she had been denying herself. Once she could learn to love herself and accept herself, she could also love the People much more than she ever thought possible, and the People rejoiced!
You see, they had always loved Black Corn, but because she did not love herself, she could not see this, she would not ever have seen it if she had not asked herself "why am I being treated this way". The answer was within her all the time.... This was Wakan Tanka's answer to her prayers; this was his gift to her.
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