Updated: Sep 6
Evil step-sisters, wicked queens, big-bad wolves, little boys who lie, a beast, 'thee' prince charming, talking animals, the trickster masquerading as a gentleman, I mean the list of relatable characters goes on.
Sarcasm aside, have you seriously ever considered the storyline of a fairytale? There is some seriously twisted stuff that happens! The kind of things that ironically have an identical parallel to real life. I mean just downright discouraging. Just like a fairytale, real life-is sprinkled with good and evil, the heroine and the villain, obstacles, and overcoming them.
Regardless, most little girls like me and you, grow into women who long to experience a serendipitous moment. You know the encounter we all dream about with the elusive 'one.' That guy we've heard about since we could talk. Somehow, cradled in our innocence, we have the image of happily-ever-after engrained in our psyche. Perhaps it's from the stories we grew up hearing, like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. One can't forget the tale of The Little Mermaid, where worlds collided. Translation for today's hottest trend, an interracial couple. Nor can you ignore the irony of the classic Beauty & The Beast - where love was real and not overshadowed by looks.
That said, after years of these stories repetition, we too long for Prince Charming to rescue us from our menacing life-where the antagonist and the protagonist seem set in constant opposition. We long to be saved from a plot where evil seems always to have the upper hand. Can our current chaotic life have a happy ending? Can love conquer all and indeed prevail? If not, then why do we continue to chase it?
Everyone Story is Different
When we recant the magical elements of any fairytale, it amazes me how most people leave the conflict element out—trying hard to discredit what goes into the narrative of each of these would-be fancies. So are we wrong for desiring the storybook ending? I suppose not, but have you ever really taken a look at what that ending looks like? If we can ignore the dragons, talking mermaids or other mystical creatures, real-life pretty much has all of the same elements. Like, envious siblings, the horrid step-mother, the orphan Annie complex, or the humble beginnings known as poverty.
The list of real-life parallels is endless. All the same, how many times have most women encountered "The Beast" but too passed him up because he didn't come with the desired aesthetics? I mean, even the bible has its own fairytale stories. Like Jacob and Rachel. No? Seriously, come on, what man do you know is about to work for a woman for fourteen years, never knowing her in the Biblical sense? Disagree with me all you want; life is a storybook come to life. How many brides were in the fairytales you read as a child? I'll wait while you count. But if memory serves me correctly, there are a whole lot of single chicks in those stories.
On the contrary, if we move past the imaginary utopia, every little girl has played house. Where some kid portrayed the daddy, and another played the mommy, and a tiny plastic infant served as the baby - that we often swaddle just as we'd seen grown-up's do. On alternate days, we played dress-up, which was either a split between pretending to be your mother or a bride on her magical wedding day. We were either trying to walk in shoes, ten-times to big or putting some long garment atop our head that served as a veil and an empty toilet paper roll posed as the bride's bouquet. Yet, in many fairytales, while there may have been a charming debonair, there is hardly any mention of the long-anticipated proposal.
As we morphed into adulthood and began to hit certain milestone ages (25, 30, 35, 40), if no man had claimed us by then, it's as if we start to break out in hives. It's like a bad case of withdrawals, and we feen to be the thing-we've been subliminally told to be-our whole lives. Due to this conditioning, many women can attest to the fact that we've encountered moments where we met a guy, and two weeks later, we had a WIP (work in progress). A fully detailed Pinterest board of all things sparkly, poofy and utterly perfect.
I mean, it's the one day we dream about, where our princess fantasy becomes a reality. Is it so bad though to want it? I'm sure it's not, but is it the picture of the stories we've been read as a child, or is our love lives playing out just as it did in the books? While the knight-in-shining armour rescued that damsel, read me the part that says, "Will you marry me?"
The Heartbreak Hotel
Eventually, though, you grow up and have your heart broken in some cases more times than you care to remember. The knight comes, but he goes, and sometimes on to the next princess. Sadly, the healing isn't as easy as having a fairy god-mother or rubbing a magic lamp with a personal genie. Some of us become master contractors because we specialize in building Chinese walls more guarded than Fort Knox. And like sleeping beauty, we snooze through the next ten-years, waiting for the perfect kiss.
The trauma of whatever occurred makes us relinquish the thought that there is any happy ending in the cards for us. But what is this happily-ever-after we crave? Many little girls trapped in mature bodies, walk away feeling there has to be something wrong with them because we've been told that a fairytale means you get what you want. But no fairytale says that.
Don’t expect a Cinderella ending when you’re life is designed to be a Little Mermaid. Life tends to customize your story just for you.
I was tickled when the internet broke over Will & Jada Smith's 'candid' conversation on Jada's Red Table Talk. Everyone heard how Will pursued Jada and was hash-tagging Will's words like it was the holy grail or the new John 3:16. Soon after, recording artist Ciara created her own buzz by spilling the beans on what she prayed for when it came to husband, Russell Wilson. Women sat watching that interview with a notepad and pen, writing that prayer verbatim to bombard the gates of heaven (insert roll eye emoji).
Give me a break! I promise you, lady, you already prayed that prayer-at least one hundred times. That, he, she, it, whatever you're praying for, just wasn't for you or not yet. Plain and simple. On top of that, how many of us have passed up on a 'Russell,' all because he wasn't a star quarterback who had just signed an 87.6 million dollar deal? Though I sincerely think it's not 'Russell' many women desire but the star life. The truth is, the part of the fairytale we love most is the 'rich' suitor.
......and they lived!
Let me just put this out there, I believe in happily-ever-after. Only not in the conventional sense. While fairytales carry some stigma of not being real, they bear so much resemblance to reality, if you dare to take a closer look. Cinderella sisters hated her; she was used, abused and considered to be a nobody. I'm sure that sounds like someone you know or maybe even yourself.
Yet, after all her disappointments, life smiled on her. She was pursued by someone who most people thought was too good for her. How does it happen in reality? I'm glad you asked. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt you've seen a couple and thought to yourself, 'How in the world did these two people get together?' No, you say. I'll prove it—T. I and Tiny! I rest my case.
Or I'm sure you know of the couple that went to your high school that ended up together and stayed together too. Thing is, what may be a fairytale for me won't look the same for you.
More than the 'happily-ever-after,' the word 'lived' jumps out at me. To live doesn't mean there was some unattainable perfection gained. It means that you take the good with the bad. I don't know what fairytales you been reading, but who wasn't thrown in a dungeon was often poor.
Who wasn't an orphan, was harassed on the way to grandma's house. Who wasn't envied for their beauty, was often hated by a step-mother for one reason or the other. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Our blind spot in modern times of 'and they live happily ever after' is not to say that she and Prince Charming didn't argue or that they never laid in bed at night trying not to touch each other's foot.
No, 'they lived happily ever after' is the part of the tale that you script yourself. The beautiful thing about real life, as opposed to a storybook, is that you have the power to write your own ending. Being chosen by a Prince doesn't automatically make you a princess, but because your daddy is a King, does. God's love and validation are all you need to live your best life. Repeat after me, "And she lived," period.