September 3, 2009

Foiled by the Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful princess,or previously wealthy, lovely girl orphaned by her father or her mother-sometimes both...She lived in a castle, great house, high tower. She roomed with fairies,her wicked stepmother,evil step sisters,or all on her own. She was sad and lonely, cursed, over worked, under payed, never appreciated. Add a glass slipper,pumpkin coach,poison apple,spinning wheel.Enter fairy godmother,wicked witch,little singing men,friendly talking animals, fire-breathing dragon,fearsome sea hag...The previously mentioned are interchangeable,but always without fail...enters Handsome Prince. Who just when the poor little princess, with nothing but her kindness and physical splendor to aid her is about to meet her untimely and tragic demise...sweeps in-often singing,frequently atop his mighty steed and slays said dragon,tricks wicked witch and often wakes her with his kiss. Then there is a big white wedding and they all live happily ever after...
The End...?????

To make myself clear, my imagination has more colors than any rainbow, more hues than a Croyola box of 64 crayons-truly. And I firmly believe in positivity and promise, in hope, in beauty and in love...and SO...I hate rain on this highly logical, flattering and deeply philosophical imaginary parade- I do...but I just gotta'....

Because this illusion, this fluffy, pretend, never going to happen-sparkly wand induced,blush pink fantasy is what we feed our little girls. It is what we were fed as little girls. And as sweet and as fantastical as it all may is a pretty lie that we encourage them to believe. Little girls grow into big girls, big girls grow into women. Women that eventually will fall in love and will possibly get married. And even though most of them will never admit it-the expectation,the blue print for their life is at it's core based on a Prince Charming...and Happily Ever After. As I have mentioned previously,I am an avid viewer and passionate enthusiast of Grey's Anatomy.If you don't understand,I really can't explain it-it just speaks to me. Anyway, the shows'writer Shonda Rhimes says EVERYTHING better than I could ever dream of saying it. In this case, she used Meredith Grey to reveal the following wisdom on this subject...

“You know how when you were a little kid and you believed in fairy tales, that fantasy of what your life would be, white dress, prince charming who would carry you away to a castle on a hill. You would lie in bed at night and close your eyes and you had complete and utter faith. Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Prince Charming, they were so close you could taste them, but eventually you grow up, one day you open your eyes and the fairy tale disappears. Most people turn to the things and people they can trust. But the thing is its hard to let go of that fairy tale entirely cause almost everyone has that smallest bit of hope, of faith, that one day they will open their eyes and it will come true.

As a mother of a little girl, of course I want her to have hope and faith-to truly believe in the few things worthy of her unfailing devotion. I pray that she will appreciate inner beauty and find the goodness in the people that she encounters. Yet, when I hear her sing about beauty and princes and talk about weddings in her long, shiny princess dress-I am poignantly aware of the message these stories send. I am not the most modern of women. I am not bitter and jaded, this is not male bashing in the least. However, the issues with the fairy tale version of life are as follows; the princesses in fairy tales are limited to only their physical beauty, their lives are all miserable-lonely and sad until Prince Charming comes and rescues them from their desolate existence(even the name,Prince Charming,really?!?) Finally, the fairy tale-ends with the about, two thirds of Princesses' life? Just....unaccounted for? Once she has achieved the lofty "goal" of marriage, she accomplishes nothing else worthy of mention? This is supposed to be a fairy tale not a tragedy.

How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself.
Anais Nin

At its core, this is what I hope to instill in my Baby Girl. She is beautiful and so is everyone else in their own unique way.It doesn't matter if the world agrees, or if she fits its mold. In fact, I prefer that she doesn't.Rarely does a true treasure fall from the have to dig for it.If she can find in herself and in others-a beautiful heart, a lovely soul, a thoughtful mind...her life will be rich. Inner beauty is the only beauty that truly counts. An ugly spirit,kills a pretty face-every time. No exceptions.I want her to use her head and her heart and not spend too much time worrying about her face, or her body. That said, I want her to take care of herself on every level, because it makes her feel fulfilled to be her best-to grow, experience, challenge, accomplish, and change.

She may not befriend dinner mint colored fairies or sing with musical animals, but I want her to discover for herself, that the world IS a magical, amazing place. I hope she greets it as such-her eyes wide, her arms open. And though she will inevitably encounter witches and dragons-I want her to muster the courage to battle and conquer them...and not wait for, nor rely upon someone else to do it for her. It is my wish that she waste not a moment waiting to be rescued by, or from anyone or anything. She is stronger than she thinks, she just won't know the power, strength, gifts and bravery she possesses until she dances through the fire. While trusting herself is crucial, trusting others is necessary to living a full life. Of course I want her to find love. First a love of herself-which requires that she first find out who that is, then a love of someone else. After which she should nurture a love of both-not losing one to the other. I hope she learns the difference between adapting and assimilating.May she take an active roll in her life and refuse to let it just "happen" to her. Life is made up of the little moments...let her find gladness in those and not wait at home for the "big" experiences to arrive.How much time is wasted in that way!I want her to know the bliss of a true surprise and I hope that she knows many-because it means that she has not become cynical. I hope she stumbles and falls sometimes-because if she doesn't, she is not spending enough time living on the edge.Above all else, I hope she is kind, forgiving, gracious,joyful and generous...with herself and with the world. Should she one day marry, I hope she realizes that is not where her story ends-but merely the start of another chapter in her book of life...there will be many more before her curtain closes. Speaking of stages-may she both take it and shine and give it up to someone else when she is not the best one for the part. I hope she asks for help when she truly needs it and offers assistance when others are in need. May she provide a crying shoulder to the saddened, much needed reassurance to the faint of heart,warmth to those left out in the cold, empathy to the misunderstood, strength to the weak, guidance to the lost, and a hand to hold onto to those reaching out. Let her surround herself with people who provide the same to her. Happiness is a choice-may it be what she chooses for herself. Finally, I hope Baby Girl has faith and never loses it-although it may seem to fail her at times...

That isn't too much to ask for her, is it? Never mind, I don't care. I want it for her just the same.

Back to Shonda Rhimes and Meredith Grey for a wrap up...

At the end of the day faith is a funny thing. It turns up when you don't really expect it. It's like one day you realize that the fairy tale may be slightly different than you dreamed. The castle, well, it may not be a castle. And it's not so important happy ever after, just that its happy right now. See once in a while, once in a blue moon, people will surprise you , and once in a while people may even take your breath away. -----

That said, I hope she takes her own breath away, writes her own story...and that it is rich with laughter, experiences, growth, love and, well...LIVING-in color and out loud. And that at the end of it all, she can look on it with a full heart and realize that she wrote it so much better than the shallow, short sighted fairy tales in which she once believed.

The End