A Happily Ever After

Once upon a time. Four words that I love so much because they promise a tale of adventure, struggle, and of course... a happily ever after. 

These past days I have given in to resting. I have been advised: though your mind may be ready to continue routines... your body may not be.  I'm finding that to be unbelievably true. So what have I done to rest? I've watched countless episodes of Once Upon a Time, and rewatched three of my favorite Disney movies.

As a little girl my all-time favorite princess was Cinderella (Yes, that was one of the movies I rewatched). The five-year old version of me wanted to be exactly like Cinderella-- though, I wasn't sure how I would get my hair to be blond. As I look back on my obsession with Cinderella, I realize how invested I was in the generic idea of what a fairytale is. I don't know about your stance on this, but I grew up with the notion that a fairytale is laid out like this: 

1. There is a princess who is suffering in some type of way
2. There is conflict between light and dark
3. Magic intervenes to assist the light
4. There is a prince who meets the princess at some point 
5. Light wins, darkness is conquered
6. Peace is restored, happiness is returned or attained, and the princess lives happily ever after with her prince

Pretty simple, right? Well as I have spent these past days consumed in fairytales, I can tell you there is so much more to understand, learn, and apply. It has been through this discovery of what makes a fairytale, a fairytale that I have come to fully comprehend and appreciate why I love these tales so much. 

Cinderella. The tale of a princess who was led to believe she was a nobody. The younger version of me fell in love with Cinderella because of her beauty and well... her prince. Watching Cinderella as a girl instilled the idea within me that if she could have a happy ending like that, I could too-- especially since my life was not as challenging as hers. I have come a long way since then. As I watched the movie (the 2015 version), the analytical side of me began to see the tale in a way I had never seen before. Have courage and be kind. A lesson taught to us all by this tale, but means more than what we may think. Cinderella teaches us that courage does not need to come in the form of being heroic or daring, but that it can be as simple as finding your voice and speaking up. It can be as simple as standing firmly, and refusing to abandon your values. True courage in speaking is not boastful or shaming, but rather humble and loving. Having courage and being courageous, coincides with being kind. Kindness goes beyond being nice. True kindness is achieved when it is within your heart, not just portrayed by your actions. You cannot expect to be kind if you cleave on to bitterness in your heart. I love this so much because having courage and being kind signifies being able to refrain from carnal traits, like envy and judgement. 

Beauty and the Beast. A tale of a superficial beast and an out-of-place intelligent girl. I just recently grew to love this fairytale with the release of the recreated Disney movie. I love the music compositions within this movie, but I think the tale itself is what I love the most. Beauty is found within. This principle of looking beyond the outer appearance of a person remains lost in this world. If you sit down and think about it, I sure did, were it not for Belle... the Beast would have remained in his physical, hairy form. I say this because if another villager had been in Belle's place, they would have been too consumed by his hair, sharp teeth, claws, etc. to even consider glancing at the human within him. When I think of Belle and the tale (haha see what I did there), I think of how being different is good. When we choose to step away from the majority, we are able to apply and practice finding beauty within a person. When we choose to see the good and make the best out of every situation, we overcome being villagers ourselves. We all have moments when we are beasts ourselves, so is it really too much to ask for to look beyond race, status, stereotypes, etc?

I love fairytales so much. They spread hope and positivity. What more is needed? It is through watching countless Disney movies and shows like Once Upon a Time where I have learned and been reminded that "Happily ever after" is something we create. Living and obtaining a "Happily ever after" requires persistent effort and sacrifice. We control our destiny and fate through the choices we make. Choosing goodness, light, charity, and love brings us one step closer to a happy ending. Choosing to continually practice those traits amidst trailing periods, where it appears as if we have to battle dragons, makes us stronger and more willing to stay true to ourselves. Choosing to love others and putting them first-- even when it is not easy-- makes us humble and helps us understand we are only human... and we will fall short of perfection often. 

A happily ever after is not the same for everyone, it is what you make it. Make it a good one. 

xo, A