Last week I watched the movie Black Swan staring Natalie Portman. It’s the kind of movie that you either love or hate, just like the story it tells – the white swan versus the black swan.
The movie Black Swan portrays the tragic tale of a ballerina, Nina, losing her mind, and eventually her life, in pursuit of the perfect performance as the “Swan Queen” in Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.”
Nina is a quintessential “White Swan” – innocent, pure, beautiful and elegant. She is “perfect.” But in order to assume the role of the Swan Queen she must also play her dark rival – the guileful, uninhibited, wild and sexual “Black Swan” who seduces her prince and causes her death.
No matter how hard she tried, Nina couldn’t let go and embody the “Black Swan” in her. But she experimented and slowly had a taste of it while losing her mind. Eventually, in a delusional fight with her imaginary “Black Swan” – a rival ballerina, Lily – she killed the “Black Swan” and embodied her.
For the first time in her life, she was free. She played the “Black Swan” magnificently and the audience went wild – until she realized whom she had killed was not Lily, the imaginary “Black Swan” outside of her, but herself. The “Black Swan” was in her all along.
The movie is rather twisted and dramatic. Everyone I know who watched it either loved it or hated it for different reasons.
To me, though, this is more than a story of an obsessed ballerina going crazy and killing herself in the pursuit of perfection in her art.
It’s also a story of a woman’s eternal struggle to embrace the dark, wild and sensual side of herself against the perfect “White Swan” image demanded of her from both the outside world and from within.
Who wouldn’t want to be free, to run wild and to dance with the dynamic rhythms of light and dark, simplicity and complexity, innocence and sensuality, vulnerability and power? Who wouldn’t want to be fee, to be complete, and to be whole?
Yet how many women, myself included, have tried hard to suppress or even “kill” the “Black Swan” in us?
This primal and powerful “Black Swan” lies at the core of our feminine power, along with the “White Swan.” They are the yin and yang, the paradoxical duo.
If embraced and harnessed, the “Black Swan” in us can turn into passion, creativity, sensuality, and love for life. It can set us free.
If not harnessed and channeled constructively, however, it can manifest into PMS, mood swings, depression, addiction, or numbness and obesity – the other side of the spectrum.
If we could only allow ourselves to let go of the need for perfection, to have a taste of our “Black Swan” first, and then embrace it and embody it…
“I felt it. It was perfect.” Nina said at last, with a smile on her face…