One of my favorite ways to relax is to put on some cozy leggings, snuggle up on my bed with some snacks, and watch a sappy, romantic movie. Boy meets girl. Boy falls for girl, but can’t have her because she’s already in a committed relationship. Then, girl wakes up and realizes that boy is her soulmate, only he’s now given his heart to another. Sigh! Will these two star-crossed lovers ever overcome all the odds to be together happily ever after?
Happily. Ever. After.
We’ve all been spoon fed the notion of eternal perfection from the time we’re barely out of diapers. Little girls idolize princesses who all find their handsome prince in the end and get to move to the 20,000 square foot palace with stainless appliances, a full staff, and in ground pool.
It’s all or nothing. You either get a magical kiss, ball gown delivered by enchanted forest creatures, and a flash mob-style sing along with the whole village crooning about how gorgeous and lucky you are to be chosen by Mr. Charming, or you’re basically a spinster doomed to a wardrobe of sweatpants and feline companions.
A mortgage, a couple of kids later, and a divorce, and we realize that even Mr. and Mrs. Charming aren’t guaranteed perfection, let alone forever.
So, what happens to your happy and the rest of ever after if things don’t go the way you planned?
I think it’s pretty obvious that “happily ever after” doesn’t really exist. Some days are crappy. Some days are brilliant. There’s a lot of “in-between.” And, you know what? I’m glad that “happily ever after” is a myth!
“Happily ever after” is bogus. It’s like a cardboard cut-out that appears to be a dream come true, but one little puff of wind can knock it flat.
The fairytales are smoke and mirrors. They make us imagine that there’s a fantasy world where there’s never dirty laundry, a credit card bill to pay, an argument over who’s picking up the kids, or dog barf on the living room rug. Hollywood, Disney, and children’s books have scammed us into thinking that living in a bubble with no adversity, no pimples, or mistakes is the way to go.
I’ll take “messily ever after”, thank you very much!
I recall being a little girl sitting at my grandma’s dining table and running my finger along a scratch along the edge. I must have wrinkled my nose or gestured disapproval in some way at the imperfection. My grandma gently smiled and said “scratches and dents add character, they tell the story of one’s life.”
Of course, I thought she only meant the blemishes on a piece of furniture, or maybe a crack in a saucer. Maybe the scuff on the floor was from sliding boxes of Christmas decorations into the room. Maybe the finish worn off on the arm of the chair was from squeezing one more relative up to the table for a family dinner. She was right! How boring would a home, an object, or even a person be without signs of having lived and the stories that can be told from those marks?
Mistakes are signs of having experienced and opportunities to grow.
Imperfection is just another way of expressing how you are unique, and what sets you apart from the cardboard cut-out “perfect princesses.”
I want a life that has been lived, not tip-toed around.
I want laugh lines from joyous moments and gray hairs from worrying about children.
I want to know anger and sadness so that I can fully appreciate bliss.
I want to take risks and have a story to tell at the end of my life. A captivating story won’t develop from playing it safe, never overcoming an obstacle, and never really feeling.
How much are those princesses really living or even enjoying life up in their ivory towers? I’m sure that the luxury, pampering, and handsome partner seemed ideal in the beginning; but, I have to wonder if Sleeping Beauty and Snow White didn’t fall back asleep from complete boredom before too long?
We shouldn’t be afraid to embrace the hot mess that is sometimes life.
I certainly never wanted a divorce, but I am ten times the woman any fictional female is because I’ve incurred some battle scars, got back up, and kept going!
Messy doesn’t exclude happiness. Think of your living room the way it gets after the whole family’s been hanging out- it’s lived in! Messy includes a rich tapestry of memories. Not all memories are good, but that’s real life! If we don’t ever experience any complications and detours, how do we grow?
Messy has to include heartbreak as well as joy. Messy may sound complicated, but that’s a guarantee that it’s not boring!
So, the next time you lament the loss of the happily ever after you so longed for, ask yourself what it is you hoped to find? Did you want to live like a porcelain doll never taken out of her box, or are you good with a few nicks and bumps if it means you have a tale to tell and wisdom to share?
I say come out of your box, let down your hair, get a little dirty, laugh a lot, shed a few tears, and never run from making a mistake or living a bad moment. The good moments and the bad are all part of the experience. None of us will get out of this life alive, so make sure you’ve actually lived before your end comes!