"Growing up is not an absence of dreaming
It's being able to understand the difference between the ones you can hold
And the ones that you've been sold
And Dreaming is a good thing cause it brings new things to life
But pretending is an ending that perpetuates a lie
Forgetting what you are
Seeing for what you've been told
Truth is stranger than fiction
This is my chance to get it right
And life is much better without all of those pretty lies"
- Jewel, "Goodbye Alice in Wonderland"
I love fairy-tales. I love animated movies. I love Disney. I LOVE Pixar. I love children's story books. I love the idea that Prince Charming exists to come sweep me off of my feet. I love how all fairy-tales begin with "once upon a time" and that the turning point of the story always begins with, "until one day..."
And it's a really big BUT. And maybe this is something you already know? But... fairy-tales aren't reality. I'm going to say that again because I am a slow learner and apparently I have trouble with this truth: fairy-tales are not reality. The problem is that I have always assumed that once I meet "The One", he will sweep me off my feet, we will get married and everything will be just perfect. I like to believe in magic. I like to believe in quick or instant fixes. I like when someone else takes control. Why? Because I don't trust myself. Somewhere inside I have a flawed conception that, if left to my own devices, something very awful and terrible and catastrophic will happen and I will not be able to turn back. I have a fear that if I let myself run my own life, then it will surely end in disaster. A disaster I will never be able to un-do or remedy. I'm not sure why this is or where it comes from. Maybe it's the fact that if shit does go wrong (or doesn't work out, as life has a way of doing) then I don't want to take the fall for it. I'd like to blame someone - anything, the world, the moon, mercury retrograde - on it not working out the way I wanted it to instead of having faith that maybe it's all working out exactly the way it's supposed to or meant to work out.
I think when you stop believing in fairy-tales you start believing in God. And by God I mean whatever it is that isn't tangible, whatever it is that helps us trust that what permeates through life and gets life going is ultimately, unquestionably and 100% GOOD. Just last night my therapist said to me,
"Wow. When you put all of your energy into believing in a fairy-tale, real life is pretty awful huh?"
What she is referring to is the fact that I - recently - built an elaborate fairy-tale in my own mind and when it didn't work out and all came crashing down, I hit the lowest of lows. I had the thought that "everything sucks. Nothing is working out right. Everything is wrong." And, when you believe in a fairy-tale and it doesn't come true, that is the way the world might look.
After talking to my therapist, I felt better. It's funny but in that one hour of talking to her, my perspective and thought pattern shifted and I felt better. I guess that is magic then, right? It only took an hour. But it wasn't magic, and it wasn't magic because what happened was that I, COURTNEY, showed up to that session. Even though I did not want to be there and even though through the first half of it, I was sitting there sulking and crying and giving a death glare at my therapist, I was still listening to her. I was taking in what she said. I let her comments penetrate my negative force-field enough to actually hear what she was saying and let it sink in. I responded to her questions (albeit with one word at first) but I still responded. And together, we fought our way through my heavy fog and got to the other side of the dark forest together. No Prince Charming. No White Horse. Just me, my therapist (my guide) and a long, dark journey. But I - Courtney - was there, getting myself through it. So reality is not as bright or easy as a fairy-tale, but let me tell you something it's a hell of a lot more rewarding to get through something on your own two feet. And do you know what is better than pretty pink dresses and "perfection"? Honesty. Courage. Self-reliance. Humility. Compassion. Bravery.
Oh and P.S. - if this subject interests you I urge you to watch the documentary "Seeking Happily Ever After" which explores the notion of prince charming, marriage, fairy-tales and how this sets up a lot of little girls for disaster. Visit the website here.