“When an elephant is in trouble, even a frog will kick her.” – Hindu Proverb
Among the first things noticed about an elephant girl is her incredible strength. She can shoulder the burdens and carry the weight of many human experiences, and do so with dignity, even when her threshold for pain is made to rise ever-higher.
The strength of an elephant girl is not just an accident of birth. What was innate was her desire to survive. To do that, she had to push beyond the limitations of her own considerable endurance many, many times. She had to develop new muscles and ways to rebirth her spirit after forging through man-made obstacles.
One by one, she had to face her fears and conquer them. When new tragedies brought new fears, she had to teach herself ways to calm her pounding heart and carry on, putting one foot in front of the other, until she had walked through the worst of circumstances and found herself on the other side.
“Strong,” they often called her. And when she was young, the elephant girl took pride in this accolade, perhaps even making it a mantra that assured her passage through a particularly trying time. I am strong, she would remind herself, I will get through this.
In those tender years, the elephant girl might have mistaken strength for invincibility. It is possible that, in the midst of her own turbulence, while filled with the all-encompassing sense of an indomitable spirit, she felt called upon, even obligated, to lift whatever weight she could from the backs of others who did not have her strength, or her strength of spirit, or her survival skills.
“So strong,” she would continue to hear in later years, but by now the elephant girl would recognize these words not as an inspiring accolade, but as a weary expectation. It was almost inevitable that those who would notice her strength were looking to use it in some measure. There was a cause, a want, or a need of some sort, which lacked only the strong back, keen intelligence, and steadfast determination of an elephant girl to carry it through.
2. Loyalty & Temperament
The elephant girls are fiercely loyal. They make friends for life, but they do not make them easily.
Given their intelligence, well-worn hearts, and long and precise memories, the elephant girls are not easily forgiving, particularly to those whose emotional and physical marks were imprinted upon them during their journeys. The scars of the ankus on the skin or the psyche are not resented as much as those who purposely inflicted them, without conscience, and without regard for consequences.
Particularly resented are those who brush away or justify the damage they caused by pointing out the elephant girl’s strength, as in “she’s strong, she can handle it,” or “look, whatever wrong I did only helped make her as strong as she is today.” To them, she will offer no loyalty and give no protection.
Those who have never had to rebirth a spirit many times over have no regard for the pain of that particular labor, or the dangers. A spirit may be broken beyond repair, or crushed beyond the possibility of rebirth. Not even the strongest and most determined of elephant girls are free from these dangers that, although rare, loom as possibilities — especially in later years when the ability to rebound is not as assured.
The elephant girl will use her considerable strength and intelligence to pull a friend up and out of whatever pit she has fallen into, and will expect nothing in return except the continuation of friendship. She finds thankful expressions among her friends unnecessary. What she has, she is often willing to lend or give away, and the only expressions of gratitude she ever requires are the ones she practices herself — loyalty, care, and consideration.
3. A Love of Peace
It is true that elephant girls often participate in or even lead a stampede, but they never do so for weak causes such as revenge or hatred. They do so for the love of peace.
They brook no respect for the fraudulent kind of peace some claim to receive by turning a blind eye to injustices. Ignorance of facts, intentions, and circumstances is not peace, and has no goodness at its core.
The peace of the elephant girls is born from the strength of their convictions, which holds truth, fairness, benevolence, and integrity as most-high. Refusing to fight for a just cause, or at least to stand strong in the face of adversity, are not the actions of peace-lovers — but the baneful responses of those who are weak, and apathetic to all but themselves.
The elephant girl has learned that the barricades to truth and healing are not removed solely upon a peaceful request. The swollen rivers of human malevolence and misdeeds are not parted by mere wishful thinking.
There are times when only the sheer force of strength and a survivalist’s determination will remove the barricades and dam the river, allowing passage to those who wish to reach the freeing fields that lie on the other side.
There are times when the precise and visceral memories of an elephant girl lead her to know more about a particular moment than the moment itself presents. It is not intuition but experience that informs the path of an elephant girl. She recognizes old obstacles even when they appear as new.
There are times when an elephant girl must retreat in order to heal or rebirth her spirit, but no matter how long she might wish to enjoy sanctuary — and even when she declares a desire to make it a permanent state — eventually she will hear a call that speaks to her heart and takes her back to the wilds. The nature of the elephant girl is as much about her love for humanity and justice as it is about the tranquility found when she has an opportunity to repose and reflect.
4. And Finally. . .
The elephant girl is capable of the deepest kind of love and nurturing, particularly when it comes to children, because even when she is very old the elephant girl cannot, and would not wish to, forget her own once-young spirit — which long past childhood and through many rebirths, retains all the radiant hopes, bright wishes, and idealistic dreams of youth.
As a mother, the elephant girl is fiercely protective, but also pushes her young to try new experiences. She lends them her strength while helping them grow strong on their own. She guides and counsels, and rarely dictates, except when necessary to save her children from imminent and avoidable danger.
As a life partner, the elephant girl will constantly surprise you, not only because her loyalty is unwavering and her heart is continuously growing, but because in-between and even in the midst of triumphs and tragedies, the elephant girl has a childlike love of play. Strength alone did not get her through the roughest of times. Intellect and reasoning did not, of their own accord, bring her a sense of happiness. It was the ability to laugh — out loud and with the full strength of her being — that kept her survival instinct strong and helped her soul eclipse even the most painful of journeys.
The freeing fields on the other side of human discord reverberate with her laughter. Her all-encompassing spirit is at its best when roaming freely and without limitation, as it does when she is surrounded by the consonant spirits of those she loves.
There, on the other side, scars are not forgotten, but reinvented as works of art. The pain and tribulation of days past are not buried, but pulled up and transformed into wisdom.
The frogs who would kick her stand not a chance when the elephant girl soars.