Once upon a time, there existed a soul that had yet to be born into the world, the soul’s name was Sasha. Sasha had chosen its mother and father but had no idea what this experience would be. Sasha always found each experience to be so unique and impactful and felt that this time would be no different. The moment, that sudden Spark of Life, finally came and Sasha was ready to experience all the wonders of this lifetime. With a full heart and willing spirit, Sasha burst forth into this new and foreign world.
When Sasha finally broke free of her shell, she was overjoyed and started to flutter her little winglets. “Finally I am here!”, she thought. Sasha was so anxious to free herself from her enclosure that she toppled herself over and turned her egg upside down on top of herself. Through the brief moment of darkness she could hear laughter and Sasha laughed herself. “Yeah that was funny.” Sasha thought. Her mother removed the shell from atop her and looked into her eyes and smiled. Sasha felt all warm inside and she then turned to greet her brothers and sisters around her, who were still laughing. Sasha gave a little bow and the laughter continued even more.
“Why does she look like that mama?”
“She is so silly, none of us had such problems getting out of our shells”
“She doesn’t look like any of us, she’s ugly isn’t she?”
As the heckles continued, Sasha’s laughter at herself subsided. “Don’t I look like you?” she asked.
The laughter intensified, “No silly, you don’t look like any of us, you’re different from us.”
Suddenly Sasha began to feel like an outsider, she looked into her mom’s eyes, hoping to find in them some sense of peace. Her mother simply smiled and started to gather her baby swans, cygnets as they are called, together to move to higher ground.
“Where are we going mama?” they all asked in unison.
“We have to move on, its not safe here.” Mother returned.
Sasha began walking beside her mother but as she walked along her brother and sisters started to push her further back into the line.
“You have to walk in the back. You can’t walk up here with us.”, snorted one.
“Silly!”, yelled another.
For what seems like an eternity, the heckling from her brothers and sisters continued. Anytime Sasha would do something that wasn’t the same as everyone else, she was sure to be called out and teased about it. Even ones outside of her family, joined in on the fun. The teasing happened so often that Sasha began to talk about and laugh at how different she was just to fit in.
“You sure are strange.” teased her sister.
“Well I guess I am strange, Im so big and clumsy, see…”, as a demonstration of her clumsiness she intentionally fell on the ground and rolled around in the sand. Sasha managed to muddy herself and was completely covered in brown mud.
“NOW you look better and more like us.”, teased her sister.
“Now you’re pretty Sasha” laughed her brother.
“I am?” Sasha asked with such innocence and curiosity.
They only laughed harder and Sasha began to prance around with mud completely covering herself, trying hard to be loved by her brother and sisters. If only to fit in for just a moment, was her goal.
Sasha continued up the hill behind her brothers and sisters, today was the day for flying lessons and Sasha was so anxious to finally learn to fly.
Mother had found the perfect spot, on a hilltop is where they would learn to fly today. One by one, Sasha’s brothers and sisters jumped off the little hill and glided along a great distance before gently landing on the ground. They were all so beautiful and graceful and Sasha so wanted to be just like them. Finally it was her turn to fly and Sasha jumped from the hill with so much intention in her heart. She flapped her wings but she simply fell straight to the ground below and rolled down the bottom of the hill and made a complete stop against the trunk of a tree.
Her brothers and sisters rushed over and doubled over with laughter.
“You are so stupid, how can you fly with all that mud over you.”
“Will you ever learn?”
Sasha felt tears well up inside for the first time. She looked up and not only were her siblings laughing but some of the forest creatures were laughing at her a well. Sasha’s little heart sank. She cried and they laughed. Mother flew down to where Sasha was crying and put her wing around her.
“Its OK Sasha, you will be like your brothers and sisters one day”, she assured.
Sasha cried herself to sleep.
That night Sasha had a dream…
“Sasha, dear heart, wake up.”
“Saaaaaaaasha wake up”
“I am up, I am here. Who are you?” Sasha anxiously asked.
“I am you, you are me, we are One together.” the beautiful swan said.
“How are you me? I’m right here and you are there.” said Sasha nervously.
“I am the part of you that has not let the world affect us. I too have experienced what you have experienced, cried the tears you have cried and I realized that the only opinion or thought that mattered is the one I have of myself. Sasha you are beautiful and simply because you are different some will not treat you fairly. They are on their own journey and you are on yours. It is time that you realize how beautiful you are. I know its hard standing alone against opposition but you must remain true and Love yourself as you are Sasha.”
As the beautiful black swan said Sasha’s name, it held its wings out full length and lifted its head high into the air and it appeared that a light appeared all around the beautiful swan.
“I am you and we are beautiful Sasha. Be who you are.”
And just like that the swan was gone and Sasha woke up.
“I am beautiful?” Sasha thought. “I am beautiful!” Sasha exclaimed. And in doing so she woke up her brothers and sisters.
“Oh be quiet and go back to sleep!” one of her sisters snipped.
“I am beautiful.” Sasha whispered to herself, “I am beautiful”. Sasha rested and all night long she said these words to herself and she started to feel so much better.
Sasha was the first to rise that morning and the first thing she did was to wash all of the mud from her feathers down by the creek. Sasha flapped around and enjoyed her cleansing and with each feather that was washed clean she felt renewed. “Be who you are.” Sasha thought to herself. Sasha raised her neck as high as it would go and stretched her wings out just as wide.
“What are you doing silly?”, asked one of her brothers.
“Being beautiful”, Sasha said with confidence.
“Your neck is too long, and you are darker than all of us, thats not beautiful. You don’t look like us Sasha.” her brother returned.
“It doesn’t matter if I look like you or not. I am beautiful and nothing is going to change the way I feel” Sasha snapped back.
“Then you are crazy” laughed her brother. The rest of the clan had awoke and they all begin to laugh at Sasha. And once again, that same feeling of not fitting in came into her heart again.
Sasha heard the words from deep inside her and suddenly she felt renewed. She turned from their disapproving gaze and continued to bathe all the mud from her feathers.
You are beautiful Sasha. Be who you are.
For many of days, Sasha experienced hurtful taunting from her siblings but she stood fast to what she now believed, thats she was beautiful, but she didn’t really understand why she was the only one in her family who thought so. Sasha had so much to deal with and to add to things, they were moving again.
“Mama why are we moving all the time?” Sasha asked.
“Because we don’t belong here”, Mother answered.
“But mama if we are here already, how can we not belong?”, Sasha innocently asked.
“Hush now, stop asking so many questions.” Just gather your things we don’t have much time.
And once again they moved to a new location and lived there for quite awhile, then one day a strange group came along into their nesting area.
“We want this nesting area. You all have to move.” the larger ones said in unison. Her brother and sisters seemed so scared, even mother, and they immediately began to pick up their things to move out of the way. Sasha didn’t move.
“This is our home, you can not come and take our home. No we will not move.” Sasha said and stood in front of her family.
“And who are you to them? You don’t even look like them”, the intruders squeaked.
“It doesn’t matter. I am beautiful just the same and they are my family. We deserve to live in peace!”, and as Sasha said this she spread her wings out and held her head out as high as it would go. She started to flap her wings and it lifted her from the ground. “We deserve to live in peace!” Sasha exclaimed.
The big birds saw this and immediately were afraid and stumbled, flapped and scurried away from their nesting area. Her brothers and sisters also started to run and Sasha lowered herself back down to the grown.
“Come back! Why are you running away?” Sasha asked.
“We are afraid of you Sasha.” her sister said shyly.
“There is no need to fear anyone, especially not me, I am just a little different, yet I am just as beautiful as you are. We are sisters. You all are my family.”, Sasha said with such grace and care.
Slowly her brother and sisters all gathered around in awe. They were mesmerized at how beautiful Sasha had become to them.
“Sasha we are so sorry for having picked on you for so long.” said her brother.
“Thank you Sasha, I am ashamed of the way I have treated you.” said another of her siblings.
Sasha simply smiled and suddenly, mother, who had been watching in disbelief, came up to Sasha and said “Sasha you are beautiful indeed, please forgive us for not having treated you as such for so long. Thank you for protecting us, we have been moving for so long and finally we can rest and have peace.”
“All is forgiven. We are a family, we are One…” before Sasha could finish, her family gathered around her and gave her the biggest hug and for the first time how she felt inside about herself had finally manifested and she could feel Love all around her. Never again did Sasha ever let anything sway the Love she had for herself and soon she began to teach the other little swans near the pond all about Love and self-acceptance. Sasha had become a leader simply by being herself and in all her days, she lived as she was…beautifully.