I grew up watching Disney movies, always enraptured when the prince overcame insurmountable obstacles to rescue the helpless princess lying asleep or waiting in a tower. (Shout out to all my other Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Rapunzel fans.)
I can still see my prince in my head. Not a specific face, body type, or even race, but certain things were non-negotiable.
He would be tall, handsome, courageous, and trustworthy, and he would fight for me.
The world I grew up in was far from a fairytale, and I received some fairly painful bumps and bruises along the way. But I still held onto my hope. No matter what I went through or how bad my choices were, at the end of it all, I knew that someday my prince would come.
Fast forward 30 years, a husband and two kids later, and I’ve come to realize that Disney had it all wrong.
There is nothing honorable about helplessly waiting to be saved, to be loved, to live the life, and to nurture the gifts that were your birthright from the beginning.
True women of royalty never waste away in a tower and hope for a redemptive story. Rather, they use wisdom to see the truth of their circumstances and discern what to do to change things or achieve specific goals.
My awakening came almost 20 years into marriage, and I’m working hard to regrow the parts of myself I pruned to try to be a more picturesque princess. The hardest pill I’ve had to swallow is the realization that Someday has passed. The prince I have now is the best prince I’m going to get, unless I do my own work, set my own boundaries, and rise up every time I get knocked down.
The biggest act of futility is to try to write the story of the life we wish we had, instead of the one that we have been given.
Here is what I now know: You can change the narrative and begin to write yourself into the role of who you were truly meant to be. If you married a prince that won’t fight for you, stand up and learn to fight for yourself. You do not have to be loved in order to be worthy of love. It’s impossible to live in a happily ever after, but you can choose to live with authenticity, integrity, and greater peace by letting go of your expectations from once upon a time.
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