When I was a little girl, my parents read fairy tales to me before going to sleep. They were so exciting which is why I fought so hard to stay awake, only to drift off when I heard those magical words “…and they lived happily ever after”.
I remember many years later, waking up alone and wondering “When will I have my ‘happily ever after’ ending?” which started me on my own quest. Looking for answers, I reread the most popular fairy tales and, surprisingly, identified with each princess to some degree. What had me more concerned was that, in some cases, my life’s story may have been more challenging than theirs.
Cinderella was responsible for keeping her home clean. I am responsible for keeping my home clean, maintained, landscaped, plus pay the mortgage and taxes without an income or a fairy godmother to help me.
Sleeping Beauty slept through most of her story after a needle pricked her little finger only to wake up to a handsome prince’s gentle kiss. I remember many nights wishing I could sleep more than four hours only to wake up with a 2-hour public transit commute to begin my day. Where was my kiss?
Beauty & the Beast’s Belle had been locked up in a castle with a ‘beast’ of a man that turned into a prince, who at his worst, had given her shelter, food, clothes, and even saved her from a bad engagement in exchange for some light housework. In my 2-bedroom home, I get to do all the housework without the luxury of a prince paying my living expenses.
The good news is I never compared my life to a fairy tale story believing my story was so much better. True, I may not have been given a crown and a castle as my birthright. Instead, the gifts I had been blessed with were by far much greater. These were the gifts of emotions known as love, hope, and joy. Gifts that nobody could take from me as they belonged only to me which I could share with countless others.
Here in the real world, our lives are so much better. We do not need fairy godmothers or magical spells. We all possess the magic of our imaginations. Between our imagination, thoughts and emotions, we can create happy lives that get better and better.
Over the years, I realized the authors of those stories had misunderstood what they thought they knew; they got it backwards. Our stories did not end with the words ‘happily ever after’, we had been greeted with those words as at the time of our birth to live in our very own never-ending story.