The following is a fiction tale based on Greek mythology…
What’s it like to feel small? When people say “I feel small,” or “you made me feel small,” it tends to be a negative connotation. It typically means feeling worthless, insignificant, unimportant.
Yet “feeling small” can also come with positive emotions. It can also mean feeling vulnerable, precious, and worthy of protection. It can be a good thing.
When you see a small animal, like a kitten or a puppy, your initial gut-reaction is to say “awww,” with admiration. You want to pick it up and cuddle with it. You want to protect it.
In contrary, when you see a large animal — like an elephant, a giraffe, a bear — you feel humbled with amazement and wonder. You may even want to run and hide from it, or keep a healthy distance.
If you want to feel small, then you should surround yourself with big people — or embrace yourself towards one big person, in particular.
Feeling small is an inevitable reaction to being in the presence of Zeus. Everything about him is big — he is the ultimate God, he sees all and knows all, he created this world. He invented the animals and all of mankind. He is leader of the gods, king of all kings. There is no one and nothing bigger than Zeus.
Zeus was born to live a large, extravagant life. He was never meant to do anything on a small-scale — and that includes his romances. He was not designed to have one lover — but an entire abundance of lovers. Zeus has been married seven times. Even as he remains with his seventh wife, Hera, he continues to have countless affairs with many others goddesses and mortals. And I ended up being one of them.
I got tangled up in a love affair with Zeus. I cannot reveal my identity, for I have been sworn to secrecy, but I can tell you that I am a goddess.
Zeus was my skyscraper. And he always will be — tall, towering, and overpowering. But to him, I was only a grain of sand — one of many grains of sand, along with his many other lovers, that made up an entire beach. While I think of him every day, I am certain that he has forgotten about me by now, and I probably never cross his mind — for I am only a grain of sand.
And yet, as I said, feeling small is not always such a bad thing. Knowing that I was insignificant to Zeus brings a sense of peace. I know that he continues to live his life without thoughts of me weighing heavy on his head. I can go on with a clear conscious, knowing that I never hurt him the way that he hurt me. Feeling small can bring a sense of relief.
Okay, now let’s get to the juicy details. I first met Zeus while I was visiting a peculiar garden. I was investigating research on poisonous plants, which interested me in visiting one of Persephone’s famous gardens. I suppose it is quite fitting that I was surrounded by toxicity the first day I met Zeus.
I was so amazed by the vividly red amanita mushrooms, the snow-white datura flowers, and many other toxic plants. I was admiring a glorious patch of deadly nightshades when Zeus himself appeared in front of me, in all his glory. I knew for sure that it was him — when you see Zeus, you just know it. He makes his presence very known.
“You are the most beautiful goddess to ever stumble upon this garden,” Zeus announced.
His compliments are always grand — he is not one to say “you look pretty,” or “you have nice eyes” — rather, he makes his statements bold. Yet still, as flattering as it felt, I was not blown away by his flirtation. I wasn’t living under a rock — I was well aware of Zeus’s reputation, his disloyalty towards Hera, and his greedy ways.
“Oh, why, thank you,” I politely smiled.
Zeus was very upfront about his situation — “deadly nightshade is one of my wife’s favorite flowers,” he mentioned, bringing up Hera right away.
“Aha,” I nodded, “I can see why. It’s a lovely flower, isn’t it?”
“But not nearly as lovely as you,” he continued, “or deadly — you seem like a dangerous woman.”
I was certainly not interested in entertaining any games with Zeus… at least not at first. I had a good head on my shoulders and I knew that something as simple as flirting with the god of all gods would lead me down a very painful road.
“I better be going now,” I calmly excused myself, “it was nice to meet you.”
“Hmm,” Zeus furrowed his eyebrows with puzzlement.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Don’t you know who I am? I am Zeus!”
“Yes, I know!” I assured.
“Then why haven’t you fallen to your knees? I am the god of all gods, king of all kings! You should be bowing down to me in worship! How dare you treat me like a mere mortal!”
My face turned red and suddenly I became hyperaware of Zeus’s power. Immediately, I fell down to my knees and clasped my hands in prayer, “Almighty Father!” I exclaimed in fear.
“Oh, please,” he shook his head, “I know you’re faking it. Zeus knows all and sees all.”
I gulped. I squeezed my eyes shut and braced myself for Zeus’s infamous wrath. I prepared myself to be struck dead by lightning. In that moment, I swore he was about to kill me for not giving in to his advances. I couldn’t believe I had been so arrogant to treat Zeus like he was any other guy.
“I’m actually quite impressed by you,” he admitted.
“Huh?” I opened my eyes again.
“That’s right,” he nodded, “how brave you are, for not sucking up to me.”
I was speechless. Zeus had spared me.
“You’re not…” I cautiously began, “mad at me?”
“Normally, I’d be furious at a woman who does not bow down to me. But, no… there’s something about you that softens my anger.”
And that’s what blew me away. It wasn’t the cliché compliment about my beauty — because I know he calls every lady the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. But to hear him say that I soften his anger — surely, no other woman has had that affect on him — not even his own wife, Hera. And in that moment, I felt special… I felt big… Big and powerful, like Zeus.
“I’ll let you go now,” he half-smiled.
“Okay,” I nodded and blushed, “it-it really was nice to meet you,” I stuttered.
“The pleasure was all mine,” he fully smiled before disappearing into thin air.
My heart fluttered. From that moment forward, I couldn’t believe it — I softened Zeus’s anger. And Zeus is possibly the most angriest god to ever exist, right next to his son Ares, the god of war.
However, I had to keep myself distracted. I could not let myself fall into a puddle of infatuation and become yet another victim of Zeus’s womanizing ways.
I started involving myself with a boy named Dorus, a lesser-known Demi god, with red hair and green eyes. I was at the library, continuing my studies on poisonous plants, when I met him. I came back to the library and ran into him several times. Finally, he asked me out on a picnic date. We sat in a grassy field drinking tea and eating sandwiches. Before parting ways at the end of our date, he kissed me goodbye. I found Dorus to be cute, like a boy… but not sexy, like a man… like Zeus.
Moments after leaving Dorus, on my walk home, Zeus appeared. I widened my eyes, astounded.
“Zeus?” My heart skipped a beat. I instantly fell to my knees and clasped my hand in prayer, “I mean, uh, Almighty Father!”
“Stop that nonsense!” He commanded, “I already told you, I do not appreciate your false flattery.”
I quickly nodded and stood back up on my two feet, and then asked, “what are you doing here?”
“I just wanted to check in on you and make sure you’re okay.”
“Why wouldn’t I be okay?” I questioned, “Is there danger?”
“I mean, since I rejected you, I wanted to make sure you won’t be too upset and do something stupid, like run towards some random guy and then regret it.”
“Rejected me?” I couldn’t help but burst out with laughter, “you didn’t reject me, I rejected you,” and just like that, my fear and humility towards him was gone, as my arrogance returned.
“I don’t like that boy, Dorus. I know you’re only using him to distract yourself from me.”
“What, are you jealous?” I smirked.
“I have been watching you,” Zeus confessed.
“You are Zeus — you watch over everyone.”
“Yes, that is true. But I have been especially paying attention to you. I’ve seen the friends you hang out with, I’ve heard what you say to your family, and I’ve been reading your thoughts, too.”
“Reading my thoughts?” I took a step backwards, all at once feeling extremely exposed.
“You are unlike anyone else I have ever known. And I know everyone.”
“I am so curious and intrigued by you and I want to know better.”
“I am not interested in getting romantically involved with a married man!” I stomped my foot, “so, just leave me alone!” I threw my hands in the air.
“Who said anything about romance?” He asked, “I just want to be your friend.”
I sighed. I asked myself — would it be so wrong to be his friend? After all, I was becoming closer with Dorus now… And so it was — the birth of an unlikely friendship.
Zeus appeared at random almost every day. We would sit and chat, sometimes for minutes, sometimes for hours, and then he would go his own way. I found out that Zeus is actually very funny! He has a wild sense of humor! He seems to make a joke out of everything, and I find myself laughing nonstop in his presence.
As it turns out, Zeus is not simply “an angry god” as everyone stereotypes him to be. In fact, Zeus is really a jokester god. He tells all kinds of jokes — everything from cheesy “dad jokes” to clever riddles and tongue-twisters. And then, soon enough, his jokes started turning quite raunchy and risqué.
By this point, I couldn’t help it — I had completely fallen for Zeus. But I continued to tell myself “he’s just a friend,” as a way of protecting myself from getting hurt. Unfortunately, it was already too late to avoid the pain.
I enjoyed talking to Zeus, but it frustrated me that I could only see him on his terms. I always had to wait for him to come to me, and not vice versa. So, I consulted with a witch in order to figure out how to harness the magic to see him myself.
One day, after a kind witch properly taught me how to use the correct magic, I teleported myself to Zeus. He was standing in a large and empty building, talking to a few other men, all with serious faces on. It looked like they were talking business.
Zeus turned around and spotted me right away. I waved both of my hands “hello” and attempted to give him a cute smile, while the other gods chuckled.
“Excuse me,” Zeus told them, as he stepped away from the group and pulled me aside in a corner.
“What do you think you’re doing?” He glared at me.
“I just wanted to visit you,” I casually shrugged, “I missed you.”
“You can’t do that,” he ordered.
“But you visit me all the time!” I defended. “So, you can sneak up on me whenever you want, but I can’t do the same to you?”
“Precisely,” he vigorously nodded.
“But that’s not fair at all!” I nearly screamed.
“If I want to see you, then I’ll see you. If I don’t want to see you, then I won’t. You do not have a say in this. I am in control of this connection, of when we see each other, not you. Understood?” He scolded at me like a strict father.
“Yes,” I nodded in fear. It wasn’t fair at all, but this is Zeus. He has to be in control.
“Now go on,” he demanded, so I left.
Afterwards, I cried and cried and cried. I was so upset. I felt so used and powerless… I felt so small.
A little bit later, Zeus came back to me again. He was holding flowers.
“Here,” he offered, “take these flowers… as a token of our friendship.”
“Oh, wow,” my eyes widened.
“I feel terrible,” he confessed, “I meant what I said, but I did not mean to come down on you so hard. I never wanted to make you cry.”
I couldn’t believe how sweet he had turned. He was certainly not the stereotype of “angry god,” and he was not only a funny god, he was a thoughtful, caring, sensitive god. He was a multifaceted god, and I enjoyed getting to know every single side of him.
Handing me the flowers, I asked, “are these… deadly nightshade?”
“I would not dare give you poisonous plants, as much as you are fond of them. Instead, I used magic to make replicas, non-toxic. But I can assure you, they are just as beautiful.”
I blushed as I took in the sweet smell of the replica nightshades. Letting them brush against my face, I giggled at Zeus.
From then on, Zeus continued visiting me, but it felt slightly less frequent, which made me quite anxious. I despised going long periods without him, wondering what other women he was associating himself with. It was aggravating to know that he could spy on me whenever he wanted without me even knowing, or pop up for a chat at whatever moment, and yet I could not do the same!
And so, I knew it was wrong, but I continued to sneak up on him. In response, I knew that he saw me, but he’d pretend to ignore me. And that really stung. Even worse, many of the times I teleported to him, I saw him flirting with other girls. He didn’t apologize, he didn’t even feel shame. He just kept on pretending to ignore me. Sometimes I got so angry seeing him flirt with someone else that I purposely caused a commotion, glaring at him with a dirty look, or even stomping my foot or banging my fist against the wall — and he still acted like he didn’t care.
It got even worse. The flirting morphed into touching, and now I was witnessing him rub backs and caress legs, getting way too cozy with other women. I was absolutely livid.
“Stop creeping up on me!” He eventually screamed, finally acknowledging me. He was sitting there with his arm around another woman. “Why don’t I catch up with you later,” he casually told her, before turning to me in fury.
“Do not make me repeat myself!” He shouted. “I told you — when I want to see you, I will see you; when I don’t want to see you, I won’t. You do not have the right to come and check up on me whenever you want, and then hide behind a corner as if you think you can outsmart me, as if you imagine I wouldn’t get angry with you!”
“What are you doing with all of these women!?” I screamed, “You’re a womanizer! You make me sick!”
“None of your business! Stop making it your business!”
“Don’t you feel guilty at all!?”
“Guilty for what? We’re just friends!”
“What about your wife, Hera!? Don’t you feel bad for her!?”
“Like I said, none of your damn business!”
“Do you even love her? Do you lay with her in bed every night? Do you kiss her goodnight and good morning? Well, gossip around the town is that you two aren’t even speaking to each other! That your marriage is a total lie!”
“You better shut your mouth now because this is not your business,” he ferociously shook his head.
I stopped myself. I couldn’t believe the words that had just come out of my mouth. I squeezed my eyes shut and once again prepared myself for death. Zeus was about to strike me dead with lightning, I just knew it.
And then I opened my eyes. There was no lightning or thunder… just… tears running down his face. I was in shock. Zeus was crying.
“GO!” He shouted and zapped me back home.
Afterwards, Zeus totally iced me out. I thought I might never see him again. But deep in my heart, I had a feeling that this wouldn’t be the end.
Those next few months felt like eternity. I missed him so badly. And then… as I was taking a stroll through the same poisonous garden in which I had first met Zeus… he came back to me.
“Almighty Father!” I impulsively screamed, falling to the floor on my knees, clasping my hands in prayer.
“Don’t,” he quietly shook his head in disapproval.
“I mean it!” I begged, “I am so, so, so, sorry!” I cried.
He remained silent.
“I love you, Zeus!” I desperately screamed.
He still paused.
I searched deep into his eyes for emotion, for any response at all.
After another long paused, he opened his mouth, “I have fallen in love with you.”
“Then prove it,” I rushed towards him, “make love to me.”
And he rushed in towards me and embraced me so passionately. His big arms wrapped around me and I felt so small — in the best way possible. So vulnerable I was, so precious, so protected.
I do not want to get too graphic, but Zeus is an outstanding lover. It’s not that I have many other lovers to compare him to, but I cannot imagine anyone loving so grandly as he does. He displays his love so loud, so proud, so big.
His visits continued, and our talks continued, but now we were also embracing one another so deeply. We kept warm and cozy under the covers in a king-sized bed. He laid on his side with his head resting against his hand, staring in awe at my beauty. I laid on my stomach, my face turned towards him, admiring his rugged handsomeness.
I didn’t want to ask him, but I had to, “would you ever decide to take me on… as your eighth wife?”
He thought about it for a second, and then responded, “I’m not sure if I ever could.”
“Why ever so not? Is it Hera? Are you still in love with her?”
He pet my head like a puppy-dog, “it’s only a title — husband and wife. She only serves as a title.”
“Are you not romantic with her?”
“I haven’t slept with her since god-knows-when,” he corrected himself with a chuckle, “since Zeus-knows-when… five thousand years, to be exact.”
“I don’t understand,” I looked at him with naiveness, “she is clearly not the one for you, so why can’t you leave her? You’re not happy.”
He sighed heavily, “we have been through a lot, her and I. Do you want me to tell you that we love each other, is that what you want to hear?”
I felt sick to my stomach as I rolled over in bed, “let’s change the subject.”
“Good,” he agreed.
Once feeling drunk with power, I now felt the crashing hangover. What goes up must come down. There were times when I felt so big standing next to Zeus, like I was his equal. But I was small the whole time. In some ways, it felt so good to be small, to be his cute, little puppy-dog that he felt the urgency to cuddle and protect. In other ways, it felt awful, like I would never be as strong as him, that I would never have the upper hand like he does.
Our love affair hardly lasted much longer. It was only a matter of time before he got bored of me and searched for his next conquest. Reality slowly hit me that everything we had gone through, he had put through with hundreds of others girls in the past, and hundreds more to come in the future. I was nothing but a repeat of his greedy ways, his lustful desires, his restlessness and refusal to settle down.
I love Zeus, still. He is a big man, a god of abundance. He is not meant to have one lover — he is meant to have many, many, many lovers. I could accept his promiscuous past. I could come to peace with his charming manners that puts a spell on every woman he meets. I could agree to being not his first, not his second, but his eighth wife. What I’m not sure I could ever come to terms with, is being a wife who puts up with an endless cycle of nonstop affairs.
It makes me wonder — does Hera feel big or small, ruling next to Zeus? Does she feel big, married to him as his equal, sharing his power and wealth, legally bound to one another? Or does she feel small, trapped to a man who demands one-hundred percent of her love, yet will never offer the same amount of love to her in return?
I am small. I am nothing but a grain of sand. In the grand scheme of things, I am totally insignificant. There is no weight to the outcomes of my actions and the results of my little mistakes. If I were to disappear, the world would carry on. There is no pressure to be perfect. And oddly enough, that brings a sense of relief.