Hiding behind the thick, plastic walls of my Little Tikes playhouse, I heard her distinct raspy breath whispering over suspenseful music. Her tail rattled. I couldn’t look, even though I’d seen this scene before. Her scaley face was burned into my mind. I could picture her silhouette in the firelight without peeking around the corner. Nothing frightened me more than Medusa (Clash of the Titans, 1981). Many years later, I remember the pit in my chest well, but my image of her is forever altered.

As time passed, I sketched her occasionally and never quite in the same light. A creature, a cute cartoon pin-up, an icon, but no longer someone I feared. Halloween of 2014, I constructed a golden headpiece featuring many writhing snakes and painted my face with glittering scales as a costume. Medusa has come to represent so much more than a vicious Gorgon, a villain, or even a victim. Her story describes some of the struggles contemporary women still face. This year, 2024, I have reimagined her yet again, and I am sure this will not be the final time. Medusa’s stare will never lose power; her magic lives beyond death.

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