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Her Fairy Jam Jar & Masking Among Mermaids (A short story challenge) :-)

Chapter one: She lives alone within her Fairy Jam Jar, her very own island, where she is most at peace - yet, the outside realm of Mermaid folk, won’t seem to let her live there, forever. Those who misunderstand her magic, are so intent to crack her homes glass Jar, and smash it, until she is forced to survive - or drown - within their mermaid oceans, wings torn. Even so, the magic captured with her glass, prismed Jar, is enough to change the Mermaid world, & the perceptions of the beings she loves, with one single wish, inscribed onto a magical scroll.

Until her magical wish escapes from the confines of its Jar, she lives in, what city mermaid folk, call ‘Isolation’, on an island she likes to call ‘Her Fairy Jam Jar’, where she feels most at peace. As a Fairy living in a Mermaid world, she is misunderstood & judged as naughty by many Mermaids, & often humorously aware of her differences to the other Fairies too. She often experiences the realm beyond her Island Jar, as if behind a thick mirrored prism, misunderstandings & misperceptions etched like riddles, into the glass prism of her home Fairy Jam Jar, sending cracks & shock waves into the delicate & fragile jars of her mental health. Sometimes, she feels like she never fits in, no matter where she is. Too Fairy, for the Mermaids, too Mermaid for the Fairies. Too much, wings for the Autism, & too little obvious Fairy magic, to be a Fairy. Never quite allowed to be herself, so much so, she often feels lost. She often feel like she is witnessing the realm from a different angle, powerless to escape & misinterpreting to the songs & bubbles of the Mermaid language. She lives in her beautiful Jar of sparkling fairy dust, surrounded by potions filled with honesty, passion & justice seeking spells. She lives here, & she often loves it here – she can hate it too, cracks beginning to show, & she may appear to be isolated - but she is not. She may process everything slowly while she deciphers every detail through the thick, mirrored jar glass, but her fairy quirks enable her to be creative with many unique positive attributes spells, too. Despite the taunts of a warring society, she is learning to believe in herself & have faith in her magic & good intentions. She sometimes quite likes her Autistic Wings & her fairy jam jar because it makes her caring, loyal, justice seeking, honest, creative & passionate. Magic is within all of us, she believes this. Yet so often she has noticed that all creatures within the realm outside her Jar, are so convinced by a warring society that magic is around us; They try to tell us magic lays just out of reach if only we would change ourselves to fit the screaming societal mould. Sharpen your teeth! Perfect your tails! Sing with power & manipulation & white lies! Swim constantly to stay afloat, or drown & die worthless! She believed for so long that magic is never theirs to keep, so they all must change themselves in this way to be more suitable for the public & society to destroy anyway... But it’s not true.

She is far from isolated, hopeless or lacking in humanity, like they believe – therefore, she questions within the rosy depths of her heart, why should she change to be more like Mermaids, if she has good intentions & hidden magic within her? Friendly Mermaids rarely visit, unless she consents in advance & she enjoys the sparkle of friendship & the love they bring with the swish of their tales, & waves of social niceties. That said, she rather likes to be alone, too. Even in Her Fairy Jam Jar, she doesn’t feel safe, to NOT mask her fairy dust, in front of her accepting Mermaid visitors. She loves her visitors, & cares to be better for them, yet she often feels their values don’t match up, with her own – so often, making her feel like, to be worthy of their love or help or acceptance, she must pretend to be like them – strapping her wings down & hiding her inner magic from view. “One day I’ll feel safe to not pretend I am a Mermaid... but not yet” she thinks, cradling her cherished glass jar, gazing at her secret message, her wish for change hidden inside the glistening rounded glass. The cool gusts, whip her wings, reminding her of her difference, to the mermaids, who swim, so brazen & capable - so normal - splashing in the stormy seas, she fears to cross. “With time; I’ll be free to be me”. She lives alone, a fairy, trapped in a mermaids world. For now, the outside world calls out to her, like a siren, tempting her to drown in deeper waters. “Come swim with the mermaids – we are perfection! Be a mermaid & YOU can be perfect!” They sing. She doesn’t realise she’s already perfect, as an Autistic fairy. Yet there are some Mermaids, hidden by inaccessibility, who like her, share a wish – not hidden within a glass jar like hers is, but instead, their wish is hidden within a clam shell – a pearl of wisdom yet to glow with power. These wishes are yet to meet, waiting to share the magic so beautiful between them.

Her fairy jam jar where she resides, is frowned upon yet it is its own world of possibilities. Yet she admires her fairy gift, too; she loves her islands tropical beaches, far away from the outside worlds towering cities & hidden from the worlds raging idea of perfection & normalcy. She loves the sand, & the shells & inspiration to learn about the sea, trees & rocky cliff face, & she adores the serenity, the calm creativity at her fingertips. Wonderful in its own unique way; allowing her to use her worlds diverse abilities & different view point’s to give insight into a world so different to what is sometimes considered the ‘norm’. You see, her jam jar has beautiful beaches with soothing waves; sometimes the sand is too sensitive on her skin, but the stimming waves allow her to calm herself & forge focus. her jam jar has a tall, magnificent forest, with every tree branching out, within its branches all her passions shoots through the bark; each vein a sparkling mass of colour & information. Tree branches lit up, bright, colourful, unique, & spanning out, growing taller each day; an insight to behold with each new fact she have been enabled to learn.

In her jam jar, she also have over whelming water crashing down from picturesque waterfalls, surrounded by a thick misty fog, which gives her brain fog & severe confusion of how to problem solve, concentrate or get herself from A to B, with such startling white noise & fog, distracting me; hiding her brains natural path so that she have to roll off road, & hope that the new path somehow connects to the path she originally wanted to take. Her jam jar also has Meadows of luscious crops spread out like a patchwork of colours; each colour represents a different ability or skill. With support from her environment, her crops of abilities can grow; However shutdowns wreak havoc with her ability, colours fading to grey, her crops of abilities can no longer be grown or used. All she need then, is support from her environment to allow her to recover; she need the warm glow from her worlds family suns, & showers of understanding rain, to empower her crops of abilities to grow, & permit her to thrive again.

The outside mermaid world wants to remove her island Fairy Jam Jar - & her wings – the majority don’t understand how this unique island can be a positive, as it’s so different to their way of life. They also don’t understand how wings, or lack of gills, could be a disability in a Mermaid world, & why disability says nothing bad about the humanity still found within her – or her potential & worth. The Mermaids don’t seem to like her. The truth? Many of them don’t like, what they don’t understand, & the helpful mermaids with the clams & pearls are drowned out by doubt of so called professional writings in the sands of misunderstood observations made from afar, of fairy folk who they oppress. Chapter 2

The outside worlds message is harsh & She doesn’t feel safe, to be herself. “One day she will be me, & be free...”, she thinks, her heart warm with hope, fairy dust buzzing within her, a reminder of her gifts, as she looks out to sea. For now, instead of being a fairy, a mermaid she must be. Sometimes, so desperate to share her glass jar of wishes, with the kind Mermaids & their clam shells, she ventures to the outside mermaid worlds hustling city, crossing the feared ocean & storms of inaccessibility to find herself on Mermaid shores, among the inaccessible towering oceanariums of their city walls. The idea of perfected normalcy bombards her, with every media piece & gaslighting being reflected onto the glass. She was never good enough, in that world; always wrong - about everything - especially when she wasn’t. A true justice seeker up goes the mask, her true self concealed by a persona the city taught her was ‘right’. You see, In the Mermaid city, she’s shunned, undermined, gaslighted, forced to hide herself, her fairy wings, from view. With the gaslighting, her only life raft became her mask - she can’t help but bind her wings down, dampen her fairy dust; hiding her secret from view, whenever she sets sail. ‘Maybe I do need to change myself, & be normal? A mermaid, like them?” she thinks. She believes it in her soul, because her perception is twisted with the impossible air brush, of a misunderstanding society. Besides - the outside world would not treat her badly, if there wasn’t something so wrong with her? Sadly - it would. There’s nothing wrong with her, or her Autistic, prism like fairy jam jar. Her message, her truth, that she keeps within a glass Jar; hidden underneath her smiles, sociable outings, work ethic & nice clothes & fake tail. Her secret hides, careful not to smash; a reminder, that despite it all, she is not wrong, for being her. Yet still; it’s not safe to spread her wings, yet. So, she must swim to stay afloat - or drown. The mermaid mask goes up. You won’t see her stim or be herself. You’ll see her make eye contact & shake hands & cuddle, because she’s been taught her consent doesn’t matter. You’ll see her repress her feelings, ideas & intelligence as no one allows her to shine, for fear of being rude. You’ll see her howl to the moon & dive beneath the waves, despite it drowning her -teaching her that she doesn’t need oxygen-or wings - to survive.

A mermaid, she must be in the hope of acceptance & help, so a mermaid, she becomes. A mask of normalcy, a mask of supposed perfection, at the ever expense of her soul. The realm around her home Islands Fairy Jam Jar is built on bones & grief, towering the flames of dark Mermaid magic & Manipulation on the outskirts of her land - songs a siren to drown or float; designed by ignoring the lessons learnt from warring ghosts, a world created by avoiding the truths of stories uttered, & perspectives shared. She lives in a realm, anchored to a complicated magic of alliances, of empire, of sexism, of trade, of ableism, of toxicism, of racism, of horror. It doesn’t have to stay like that – that’s where the Mermaids & Fairies combined magic comes in, to change lives. Do we want this realm of misunderstanding & harm, to be our home? No! We choose to create our home, within our very own empires of truths - we choose to grow wise of the realms trickery & societal dark magic. Upwards, the Fairy glass jars bloom, towering out of mother earth as if a natural component of life itself, inside their glass jars, a twinkling empire glitters. Such Jar should be allowed on the Mermaid shores too, though – why should a Fairy change their very DNA, brain wiring & winged identity, just to avoid being emotionally abused in the Mermaids oceans? She knows they must continue to create their own loving empires & strengthening their glass jar Island walls – creating cities that value everyone, everywhere, accessible no matter where in the realm you reside, or choose to be – whether on Fairy jars, or on the Mermaids, ocean… Everyone should be at peace, in a realm that values nothing - we are all garbage in the worlds bloody jawed teeth, until we fight for change Not any more. Her wishes, her magic, is free flowing, with her essence, often detailed on scrolls, infused with magic. She longs to share her true self, share her experiences with the realm, with the mermaids who strive to help, just like her. Unlike the outside Mermaid world, she is learning to loves her Autistic wings & her Fairy Jam Jar, with its forests of passion & beaches of hyper focus. However, with her gifts & majestic Jewell’s her Fairy Jam Jar gifts her with, her Islands peaceful countryside is also trip wired by volcanoes & chaotic whirlwinds. Yes, she can see their perspective – no matter how ableist & wrong – she understands the misconceptions & roots of their stubborn refusal to accommodate into their water world. Never the less she will spread her magic & fairy dust, singing into the void to advocate for change, for understanding, between her Fairy Jam Jar Island, & their oceanarium shores – yet that magic is always captured, trapped within a Jar, bouncing off those prism walls, until such a time where a Mermaid tries to hear her cries, & recognise the magic, & forge an accessible path between them. Yes, she understands the wait, while the nice Mermaids challenge stereotypes among their own kind with their clam shells & pears of wisdom. Those like her, are so easily overwhelmed by their Fairy Jam Jars, making panic sizzle throughout her – what they think help her, do not – & they won’t know until they listen to Fairies like her. Indeed, she finds herself constantly battling storms of chaos that descend on her island, fight, flight adrenaline responses at the simplest of things, exhaustion taking over, until finally- shutdown. A bit like a Volcano; stimuli bubbles on the surface of her mind like lava, until her brain is ready to explode at the slightest overload, problem solving, or life skill. Lava pouring over, with new information, thoughts, creativity & a never ending surge of memories & analysed anxiety. Then the shaking earthquakes control her when she have to problem solve, trembling her to the ground, forcing her to cover her ears & protect herself from all the angst, screaming out in terror as meltdowns take control, trapping her in a frightfully overwhelming burning hot, skin prickling, core. Then her Fairy Jar… shakes to a halt, & all the colours & details fade to grey with a shutdown of all her capabilities, where she can’t see, for looking; can’t process what she see or hear or do anything she once was good at. It takes time for her little island to become safe & enabling again, & a lot of support to help her through such difficulties. Yes. She lives alone on her island - yet, she isn’t allowed to live there, forever, even though the Mermaids don’t understand that she lives there because it helps her, not that the real, non winged version of her is trapped, desperate to escape. Chapter 3 She is her, she always will be – Mermaids, despite their efforts cannot change the wiring of her brain or saw off the wings on her back… & so, beneath the surface of normalcy, there lays a hidden meaning, a burden- her secret message – her wish for change - concealed within a fragile glass Jar, is not one that Mermaids like to hear – & therefore, makes it harder for them to accept when they have not helped Fairies. It’s a wish for change that advocates a message of gaslighting & abuse that no one wishes to accept. It’s a message the world of fairy’s & mermaids alike, are hoping to bring acceptance about; both wondering, what magic spell to cast. How? They wonder. “Teamwork makes the dream work” they chant together, as they sit at beaches on their separate islands, looking out to the same sea, sparkling with life between them; wishing to be inclusive, like they should be. She sits on her Her Fairy Jam Jar, bouncing, cool sand between her toes, breeze whistling by her wings, clasping her Jar close to her heart, feeling her secret message & its weight of importance.

She has grown so weary of this façade; the crumbling mask that was drowning her. She wishes for her magic to return, needing the sparkle in her eyes, the fire to her souls passions, she had missed so much, lost, in the mermaid masks, exhausting peel. She needed to be free; to roam the city walls, wings out spread. She tried so hard to maintain the porcelain mask of “perfectly normal”, but cracks in the façade began to show, striking across the surface, tearing her down. She looks in the mirrored reflection of the sea & sees the flaws in her being, that the world had taught her existed. The damage her mask had done. The flaws are not really there. They’re fake. Tidal waves of emotion, ripping the mask off. Her secret message is a challenge to society. A tsunami of impact; A challenge to herself. She hyper focuses; needing, desperately to make it better for other fairy’s. She writes her messages, her pleas for societal understanding, her magical wishes, on tiny slithers of fairy dust infused paper & delicately tucks them neatly into Jars. Hyper fixated, her passion, burns within her, brazen; Jar, after Jar now dances across the currents, to crash onto mermaid city. Her story will be told - & she will empower acceptance. It’s time for change, after all. The icy waves take away her Jars, her wishes, her secret messages & watches as her Jar bops in the waves, travelling to the Mermaid island, dancing & free in the chaotic sea, that separates her world, from the world of supposed perfected normalcy. She longs for the glass to break, for her wishes to be discovered. Even, knowing the chaos it could bring, if they don’t support or accept her message - it wouldn’t be her fault they got cut on shattered glass, when realising they too, had participated in societal harm that oppressed & gaslighted fairy folk like her

She was not wrong. She knew it, deep within the rosy shades of her heart – that, horrified by her accounts of harm & societal oppressions that some Mermaids would instead drown out her voice, her wish, & blame her for her struggles instead of taking accountability…

Breathless she waits, watching her Jars dance in the murky green, when suddenly - CRACK! - Her Jar breaks against the rocky cove of mermaid city & it breaks. … then another, & another; her wistful message flies out, for all to see. ‘I am not wrong for being different. I’m going to try not to hide anymore – I try my best to be good, there is magic within my efforts – I shouldn’t have to change who I am, to be seen as worthy & humane!’ It reads. “It’s time”, she thinks. “Time to heal”. Many of the Mermaids are horrified, sending loud rants, & cascading bubbles endless & frenzied as they escape their frustrated mouths, in the suddenly vicious waves. Yet the more accepting Mermaids with their Clam shells & pearls of wisdom, they smile – its about time, they work together. Opening their clamshells, they reveal the light within the pearls of wisdom they have collected. Their pearls had not shone quite so brightly before, but now they have the fairy dust infused magical wishes, learnt from Fairies themselves, their pearl now have a wisdom, unmatched – now they can truly change lives. Slowly, changes are made & perceptions are changed. Her wish for change is seen realm wide, glittering into the skies, & bubbling into the oceans. Mermaids & Fairies are taking note, & realising the power they have within themselves, to help make change. Fairy’s all across the bays, in all the realm, are silently clapping & some are even sending out their own messages! Their Jars wash onto the Mermaids rocky shores, much to the horror of the city folk & some of the Mermaids trying to hide the Jars from view; but too late, out flutters their messages to the realm “IM AUTISTIC & THERES NOTHING WRONG WITH ME. I just need accessibility & reasonable adjustments to be my best! I shouldn’t have to be a mermaid, to be valued as humane”. Some city folk, ignore the Fairy realms & pleas, some bully, some don’t care-but most people smile & try to help her. But she was her. Now she accepted herself she could learn to thrive, with her fairy differences, & not in spite of them - thriving as a fairy - as herself - & not a mermaid.

She stands on her Fairy Jam Jar shores, sand between her toes, & marvels at the beautiful sights, of Fairies just like her, their wishes & magic & experiences & advocacy shining like fireworks in the skies above her. “I am not alone” she thinks, as she feels a warmth spread within her, her wings, flittering & fluttering, eager to escape the binds that held her back. All of these years. She was becoming free. Finally. All her internal strength kept her from revealing her true form. Now, it took all of her strength to remove the mask, & let society see her true magic, that she had hidden away. Time for her wings, fairy dust & inner magic, to be free. shaking now, her wings, itch & tremble, bit by bit, she unravels the bandages trapping her wings in place. Her true self emerges, smashing free, & with her wings, out comes her final magic & to the horror or the city folk out collecting jars on the mermaid shores, they watch as her magic flutters her secrets to the air, like the Aurora & constellations glittering, above them “society actively disables & oppresses us, with misunderstanding. we do not need to change - we can better thrive because of who we are - not because of our mermaid masks the realms forces us to wear!”. With time, her message was accepted among the mermaid folk. It was difficult, at first to be validated; for her reality to be accepted & used to create change. It took time, for her traumas & self doubt to begin to heal. The helpful mermaids - now having challenged their perceptions of what help means - swam & dived & together, they created life rafts, so she no longer had to mask her wings, & swim like mermaid folk, just to be included in their society. With time, the fairy’s & mermaids worked together to create accessible spaces; where fairy dust shines bright, on the surface of great beaches & aquariums; instead of carving gills into her skin, & wondering why gills & bleeding didn’t help her breathe underwater, they gave her the oxygen she needed, to swim, & thrive however she liked or needed. Together they created accessible opportunities where diversity empowerment reigned queen. Sure, among all the positive change, lay the mermaids who lingered in darkness; refusing to believe they were part of an abusive, gaslighting world, that they had oppressed her so traumatically. Yet together, they fought it. With time, hope & empowerment was winning, the bitter fight, of what helps, & and what constitutes as ‘perfection’ or ‘normalcy’. Chapter 4 She can feel the ache, fall slowly from her shoulders, even though she knows just how far these creatures - mermaids & fairy’s alike, must go, in their travels to create real world peace & fairy autism acceptance. But the city mermaid folk were trying, although her truths had been uncomfortable- she’s grateful they rose above their pain, their ego and misunderstanding 7 guilt, to realise there was no shame, because they too, were trying to help Fairies, & just didn’t yet understand how. Relieved that they realised that ignoring her story - & the stories of Fairies all over the realm - just because it makes them uncomfortable, sides with the oppressive & abusive nature of society.

Time was healing, just like she dreamt it would.

She takes a big breath, as she steps upon her raft, sailing the choppy waters to the Mermaids island once more - “do I need to mask?” She thinks, wondering, cautious, scared even still. A warmth settles within her - unfamiliar, yet strong -a strength she didn’t know she had. “I’m flawed & humane & make mistakes, I am disabled & Autistic… I have wings - yet I am perfect, because I try to be good & that is all that matters - if they don’t see that, then that says more about them - than me”. The mask falls to the sand with a soft thud, as she paddles her raft among clear, calming waters, breathlessly nervous of what was to come, but as her wings stretch out, fluttering in the salty breeze, she knows within her heart, that with time - she’ll be okay.

With time, perceptions, experiences & feelings slowly change. As she sails over, head held high, to the mermaids islands with its alien sky scraping aquarium city’s; she feels the time bend & break beside her, a life time of tension dropping into the water depths of ill mental health. “With time, I will heal” & finally, as she looks to the world that once frightened her, she suddenly felt less alien, her wings flexing out, fairy dust sparkling & buzzing on open palms.

“I belong in both worlds. With help, I can thrive with my fairy dust” she thinks, as she glimpses new structures on the beaches - sensory friendly spaces, & she could weep with relief. “They’ve listened” she smiles. “It’s about time!” She giggles. You see, together they’ve created a beach on its Mermaid Oceanarium shores, for fairy folk just like her & she met other fairies & mermaid friends of all diversity upon her travels, while walking & flying along the soft golden shores. She was finally enabled to be at one with the accessibility of the oceanariums – now able to breathe and flap her wings to help her swim. She had been enabled finally to find her passions amongst the sea life & marvelled in long repressed monologues. She danced her fingers throughout the air & the waters & stimmed to her hearts content. She was loud & unapologetic, creating sound waves, and songs of a diverse nature, bubbles shattering out loud & free. She was her, in the world where she didn’t think she could truly be. It was hard at first, but the city folk became more accepting & considerate. With time, whenever she left her Fairy Jam Jar island, she could chill on the beaches of the city too - with creatures who understood & accepted her. If she wishes, she was included in their world too - a world of opportunity accessible, all without her changing - finally!

She is reminded as she travels everyday to the Mermaid Cities, that although she may feel that she is rising from a jagged pile of glass that the mermaids songs from the past have cracked with their manipulation and Gaslighting, she now knows to have faith in the power of good intentions and creatures all over the realm to work together and forge change. Never again forgetting that it’s the cracks in life, that let the light shine through… The beauty of humanity & its diversity, & the power of creatures to work together & learn, challenging societal stigma & activate social change. No matter the societal roar for Autistic Fairies to change themselves, she rather likes her fairy jam jar now she knows she is not wrong for being herself; Her Autistic Wings makes her caring, loyal, justice seeking, honest, creative & passionate – & not only that, but her Autistic traits can empower her too. As a community of love, together, with their well wishes, their inner magic & clam shells of wisdom, they are creating empires of magic; there’s still magic seeping within their empire glass jar walls, because their cities are being built to sing: they challenge the wrongs. They advocate for good. They activate & evolve & fly - even without wings. They let the lost ones sing, & the creatures listen. Creatures & society make Autistic or Fairy life difficult, but they also have the power to make incredible change within their lives too - & not all change is bad! Together, they show how we can find the fairy dust glue, to mend the broken shards of glass together, that has fallen from our Glass jars of self-worth & well wishes – rediscovering our magic - because there is always hope, because we still have our humanity, no matter how bad we feel. In this new world of acceptance & understanding & humanity, is right where she wants to be - in the middle of the two perfectly imperfect worlds, 100% her perfectly, imperfect self. Smiling, she sighs, squeaking with hope, relishing in the warm glow, as the sun bathed her face in new, sensory delights, as her eyes take in the sights, of a world of new hope. “Finally…” she thinks, smiling with a flutter of her finger tips, wings dancing loud and free within the breeze “…I can learn to be free. I can try to be me”. X <3 X I hope you enjoyed my short story challenge, I gave myself 3 hours to write & edit, so I hope it makes sense & advocates, as I had hoped... Peace, Friends! x <3 x


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