I was once beautiful.
Not only on the outside but on the inside as well. I was as kind as I was empowering. I was what every woman strived to be and what every man wanted to have. Sure, there were times I took advantage of that, coming to young men in the middle of the night, sharing their bodies; but never married men, and never were they unwilling. Simply taking comfort in each other's arms and they thinking it naught but a pleasant dream.
That all changed when I met Zeus.
I will admit, Zeus was, and still is to this day, a highly attractive man. The problem was he could have any woman he wanted, and he knew it. And when his eyes turned in my direction, I knew I was trouble.
Now, you must understand, I am a very prideful woman. So, after all my struggles to keep away from him, all I times I said 'no' to him, the minute he put his hands all over my body in such a violent manner, I knew there was little other choice than to marry him. For he was not some mortal peasant, he was the king of the gods, and he knew what he was doing. A few days after the incident I went to him, and demanded he take my hand. He was.... reluctant, of course. Marriage would take away from his free roaming life style, however I intrigued him. I was one of the few to ever deny him and demand anything from him. On top of that, he'd desired me more than he'd desired any woman before me. In the end he agreed, and by the end of the day, we were married.
I'm not sure when it happened, but I did fall in love with him. Our honeymoon lasted for nearly 300 years, Over 100,000 days of passion, our marriage began with a bright and beautiful future. And though I was nowhere near as innocent as in my days of endless freedom, I was happy, and I was in love.
As you most certainly know, that bliss ended as suddenly as it had begun.
I tried to turn a blind eye at first, to the women anyhow. After all, I'd fallen for his tricks; I could not fault them for that, despite the ugly head of jealousy that roared in the depths of my soul. I screamed and yelled and battled with him. But what was I to do. He was the almighty king of the gods, the man who freed us from Chronos, our cursed father. Slowly I began to fall into the depths of cynicism and despair. I slowly began to hate the women I was bound to protect and care for, as the mother goddess; even my own priestesses betrayed me, birthing his bastard children.
And still I loved.... love. I cannot stop. Despite this ugliness that has grown within me for so long, I can hardly even remember those happy days. There are times he looks at me and I feel like a young goddess again. Then, once he's used me again, I am alone and I feel this wretchedness return.
So I continue to hurt those I should protect. I continue to allow myself to hurt. Because I am a prideful woman. Because I am bound as the goddess of marriage to set an example. Because I love he who betrays me in way mortals cannot even fathom. I cannot change.
I look in the mirror now and I can hardly recognise myself.
I am Hera, daughter of Rhea and Chronos, sister and wife to the almighty Zeus, queen of the gods. I am ugly.