Do you know the story of Goldilocks? Do you know she spent most of her waking hours trying to find something that felt just right? Do you know that by the end of her life, her fingertips were both so burnt and so frost bitten that—had this not been a fairytale—everyone would say that both existing simultaneously on the same spot of skin is impossible. Do you know that she searched for light when there was too much darkness? All consuming and bittersweet. And that she craved the darkness when there was too much light? All warm and bright and inviting. Do you know that she was never satisfied? And that this dissatisfaction shriveled up her heart until she finally died of what the doctors called Rotted Heart. Do you know that Goldilocks lived more in the past, and more in the future, than she ever did in the present moment?
The Present Moment was a stranger to her. A peculiar lanky fellow that lurked in the shadows with a gold tipped cane. The Present Moment had so much trouble keeping himself afoot. And when he limped to her door and knocked, it never felt quite right. Goldilocks would send him away, always running back to the familiar embrace of the past, or propelling herself into the waiting arms of the future. Because this present moment was never what she wanted it to be. It was just a thin slice of crusty old bread in between a thick slice of gooey nostalgia and an even thicker, gooier slice of possibility.
Do you know that Goldilocks ate ice cream that was either melted into a pink soup, or frozen into a block of ice? Do you know that her tea was always too hot or too cold, and that by the end of her life there were more shattered teacups on the kitchen floor than there were grey hairs on her head. And that’s only because Goldilocks could never get her hair to look just right. She never had a perfect hair day. It was either too frizzy or too flat. Too long or too short. Too limp or too curly. And so by the end of her life she had ripped out more hairs from her head than there are stars in the sky.
Do you know that Goldilocks was actually an escaped mental patient, or at least that’s what everyone at her funeral said. And that when she broke into the cottage of The Three Bears she was really just hoping to be eaten alive. Because it would give her peace of mind. Because she didn’t know where else to find it. Goldilocks would never have to make another decision again. Would never have to feel the pull of desire and the push of regret. Nor the dizzying extremes of a pendulum that never stopped swinging. She would never have to feel too young or too old. Too pretty or too ugly. Too eager or too apathetic. Too kind or too mean. She could just rest in the earth while the flowers bloomed above her. But she never smelled quite right to the bears, and so they never bothered sinking their teeth into her.
It’s not that Goldilocks actually liked being this way. In fact, Goldilocks had tried very hard to change. To be different, happier, calmer, cooler, more put together. In the beginning, she had tried very hard. But almost every time she had invited The Present Moment to supper, he would only stay a little while. He would lean his cane against the table, but never quite moved his hand away from it. He would cross his good leg over his bad—as if he was truly settling in—only to uncross and cross them three dozen times before dessert was served. That is, if he even stayed long enough for dessert. It was only now and then that Goldilocks actually had his full and undivided attention. But even then his eyes wandered. His ears perked up at sounds that weren’t there. His fingers tapped relentlessly, impatiently, on the table. And he never even took off his coat. And so Goldilocks stopped inviting him for supper, because if she couldn’t learn how to live in the present moment from The Present himself, then she couldn’t learn it from anyone.