Maybe it’s because I just got engaged, or maybe it was my trip to Disney a few weeks ago, but perhaps there is some merit to this whole dream wishing Prince Charming thing. I know. I know. You don’t have to tell me about problems that can accompany this idea if taken too seriously, themes like: the weak & helpless female, materialism, the mental disorder many of us have overcome called the boy crazies, obsession with youth, obsession with appearance etc. I’m fully aware; I agree these are all dangerous potential side-effects to taking traditional fairy tales too seriously. These themes have helped perpetuate sexist ideals and values in cultures as well as delusions that dreams fall onto your lap or expectations that you can wait to be rescued by a hottie. They do breed falsity, disheartening outcomes, co-dependency, fragility, body image disorders and delusions of grandeur, among more.
Before I fell in love, really fell in love, these traits of Disney stood out the most to me. I felt betrayed by all the beautiful movies. As a little girl, I viewed romance in an enchanting light, but as a young woman, I did not. In fact, many times it felt like there was no light, like relationships were wholly and completely the strict opposite of Disney’s pictures. So, of course I closed my door to the world of love and magic. Needless to say, I went through a decade of frogs. None of which ever turned into a prince. I know now that most were losers, and I had a self-worth that was so low, it used to actually cost me money.
But, I have realized that Disney is on target with one aspect to love– when it is true love, it is a dream come true.
The man I am engaged to is Prince Charming. He is my rescuer, but not in the traditional sense. He didn’t yank me out of a lion’s den or wake me up from a coma, but he did show me a whole new world, a whole new way to live. This world offered the gems of mutual respect, caring, thoughtfulness, trust, gratitude, challenges, hard work, pride, openness, critique, discomfort, comfort, love. He showed me that tough stuff like focus, loyalty and duty guarantee the most epic unimaginable treasures, ones that were out of reach before I partnered with him. Together, me and my sturdy, beyond-handsome prince, have discovered that the gold is endless if you keep working for it, reaching for it. It just keeps coming, getting more refined, sparkly and large as you both grow.
I did a lot to make my dream come true, a lot of tough and painful work. It didn’t come easy. I’ll just give you tiny hints: therapy, journaling, volunteering, turning down dates, exercising, self-nurturing and more. There are tips to come, but today I’d like to think about how Disney got some of it right– the fantastical realm of joy, safety and peace that accompanies finding true love, whether in yourself, your sister (I love my sister truly, and Disney’s Frozen illustrates it), your friends or your prince (aka life partner).
Tips on how to Earn your own “Prince” or Princess or Best Friend etc.
1. Write down a list of qualities you want in a partner. The list can be long and added to as time goes by. Don’t think about what’s realistic or silly. Be honest and write all you dream of. It sounds ideal, but as you build confidence and your standards raise, it becomes real.
2. Do what you want to. When you put yourself first, suddenly everyone else does to. Many of us like to please, but to your and my surprise, others are more pleased with you when they have earned your respect.
3. Before you say yes to any plans, say maybe. Think, assess how you’re feeling not only physically, but also emotionally. There are days when I feel like a lioness; there are days when I feel like a lamb. If you’re in lamb mode, stay put! Self-nurture. People just become more excited when they get to see you next time anyway. Also, the next time you go out draped in lioness, you’ll be ready to impress.
4. Speak up. Say what you think. Say how you feel. I learned that when I insert a feminist point of view into the convo, instead of holding it in and oppressing my thought, most people are interested, intrigued and grateful to learn. If I am offended or hurt, I now say, “You can’t talk to me that way.” It used to be scary. Sometimes it pissed people off, but you know what? Now they don’t talk to me that way.
5. Put your own career above EVERYTHING.
6. Be open about your taste and interests. And if you don’t know what your taste is, or what your interests are, find out quickly. The worst is just “going along with the guy or gal.” Not only are you bored like cardboard, but also, the companion gets bored. The best thing you can do is be true to yourself and challenge others to keep up. If they don’t like what you like, better off knowing early.
7. Don’t allow yourself to be pushed into anything. Sometimes we are being bullied and pushed, but we don’t realize until after. Then we feel sh*tty, lowering our self-esteem. Think and listen to your feelings. Feelings are smarter than reason.
8. Listen. Listen to what this other person is saying. Really listen. How do you feel about what he/she is saying. Are you appalled? Do you agree? Are you pleased? Learn about the person.
9. Wear what you want to. Eat what you want, how you want.
10. Keep yourself safe first always. If the person is annoyed at you for leaving early or not taking another tequila shot, you KNOW it’s Ciaocity. A genuine, worthwhile person that really is interested in you, will be patient, tolerant and show respect. He/she should be stoked you even said yes to going out at all. If the person likes you, he/she will be thrilled you gave them even a second of your time. After all, you could have used that time to take a bath or move ahead in life.
I’m so pleased to announce that three of my poems, “Slots,” “Scraping” and “Make a Decision” have been published in Barking Sycamores Literary Magazine Issue 13. Barking Sycamores is dedicated to neurodivergent literature and its craft. I’m so honored to be a part of this project. Barking Sycamores Issue 13
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