For What It’s Worth
“What’s it worth?”
The question was posed in a way which seemed to infer that the person speaking didn’t see how it could have much, if any, value at all.
The answer was made in that sort of way that said “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it,” but which was spoken as, “You tell me.”
Being that it seemed as if the one asking the question wasn’t going to get anywhere, he soon moved on, assuming that it had no value and never would.
It was a shame, really: she could see there was the barest glimmer of possibility in the customer, but now she would never really know if she was right or not. She just simply moved on, as well.
The question of worth was one with which those in the Realm had quite a lot of experience. Long ago, their kind never was seen to be worth much at all. How could those with horns and tails be worth anything to anyone? They were not “worthy” in the eyes of most, never allowed to be more than what they were seen to be. Thus, the question of worth was one that never quite left one specific mind in the Realm.
She had seen what the idea of worth had done to her kind before; how it had turned brother against sister, parents against one another, and worse still. She knew, better than many, how wanting to be of worth, to be worthy, could tear one apart. Sometimes, healing was possible … sometimes, not. It depended, of course, on what each being felt she or he was worth in the end.
She decided, when the time came, that the question of worth was not the question that mattered. It did not matter if they were seen as having worth or not. This question wasn’t the point of their existence. So, she changed the question, the one that mattered, from what they were worth to something else.
The question which, in the end, rose to her thoughts was, “Who are we?”
Think about that a moment: take away the idea of worth, of measuring up to an impossible checklist that others judge you against and instead ask yourself who you are. What is it that you represent? What gives you purpose in your life?
For her, the answer was both simple and complex. It was an answer she gave in the moments when the impossible was needed, the simple to be done. When everything was falling apart or was finding itself again. Two simple words that sometimes made all of the sense in the world, and at other times just made one’s mind hurt from trying to understand them.
The words? “Just … because.”
Why try to make others understand?
Why take a chance on someone when no one else will?
Why be there in the dark when needed?
Why be there in the light when needed, too?
Why listen to others, to feel their hurt, their ache, their desires?
Why give them the wish they have, the moment shared?
Why take the risk to be told that what you offer is, and there was that word again, not “worth” anything?
She would smile in that way of hers, a lock of raven hair falling over one of her so green eyes and she would say, with conviction: “Just … because.”
And that was the moment when the world would pause. Some would not understand, not see what was behind the red horns and heart-tipped tail. They would not see the angelic wings or the halo that fluttered and shimmered there as well. They would see something that, to them, was worth nothing to them.
Some would think that such a devaluation would devastate her, that it would chip away at her will, her soul. Those that believed this didn’t understand why she was the Queen of the Realm: she had accepted herself for who she was, something that those who didn’t accept, could not in themselves.
She would smile—she always had that bemused little smile—and just allow them to believe they knew all about her. They never would, of course—the larger the shame for that—but they were entitled to one important thing: choice. They chose not to believe, not to accept, and, in doing so, they made that choice of their own free will.
But sometimes, just sometimes, there was the other sort: the kind who could see beyond what was expected, what was thought to be the worth of that moment. They could ask questions of her, to see what she was like, what she thought, what she believed.
So let’s go back to her once more. She has met another soul somewhere in the universe and spent time with them. She’s shown who she is, told about her Realm, what is there, what her kind believe in. Perhaps that soul asks to see what she is talking about: to see her tail, her horns, her Realm, to have time there to see if what she says is true, that she is being truthful, that what she is, in truth, is more than what she is worth.
She makes the offer, the one that the one before posed the question: “What’s it worth?”
This time the question asked is … different: “Why me?”
Her answer, with that bemused smile they would come to know, is, of course …
“Just … because.”
Because it isn’t about what others think you are worth. It is you being able to see it in yourself, to know you are happy with who you are, to know that you can, truly, give that understanding to others.
Because … isn’t that worth everything?