I have always loved fairytales. Magical worlds in which to escape full of intrigue, hero’s, villain’s, and of course, the fight between good and evil. I use to have my own fairytale, my own story of how I dreamed my life would be. My fairytale was simply to live a good and full life, to have someone that I loved, and loved me back, a big family and adventures to match. To grow old gracefully knowing that I have done the best I can to help others and care for those I love.
However our fairytales can be broken. Life doesn’t always turn out how we hoped.
Sometimes love doesn’t stay. People hurt and betray each other and instead of protecting each other, they lose the love they once had, and along with it the respect and appreciation of each other. Those once unbreakable bonds that they fought to build, fray and break into tatters. The love that once bound them, is nowhere to be found. Pain tears at hearts and causes eyes to spill forth torrents of anguish and sorrow.
Instead of the life we dreamed of, we come to realise that life is hard, sometimes monotonous and we can feel trapped. Endless days spent in the daily grind. Work that promised much but leaves us feeling frustrated. Even caring for our families can be hard. Parenthood, the responsibility of caring for tiny ones that need so much, leave many struggling. Sometimes the battle to just get through each day can be overwhelming, leaving us feeling exhausted and devoid of energy. Sometimes life gives us a chalice we didn’t wish to drink from, poor health, death of loved ones or life changing events, that change our direction forever. Our story changes and sometimes we do too. It can leave us feeling lost, cast upon an ocean of doubt and uncertainity.
What can we do when our fairytale, for whatever reason becomes broken? When life takes a turn we did not expect?
When our life feels broken, we have to become the hero of our story. We have to muster all our strength and battle on. We need to slay our dragons, whatever they maybe. This will be a hard fight, needing perseverance and sometimes the help of others. We also need to find ways to build resilience, like a helmet that guards our emotional wellbeing, and practice self care, to protect us like a magical shield.
We also need to accept change and learn how to adapt. Life is unpredictable and while we can plan and worry about the future, sometimes it is just beyond our control, changing in the blink of an eye. So too with the past, it is gone, lost to us and cannot be changed, like faded pages of an old book. It can however teach us, guide us and help our journey in life. It can also be like a charm that lights the way, helping us know our direction. What does matter is the present and what it offers us. Being able to ground ourselves in the now can help to anchor us and stop us feeling overwhelmed. It can help us to not lose sight of where we are going and what we need to get there. The present we can control. We can change and chose what we do, who we have around us and the next choices we make.
In our story will we meet many different individuals too. Some that are like a toxic poison to us. Those who are not what they seem. Those who will seek to hurt us or bring us down. That are full of envy and betrayal. These are our villains, that we battle, often in the shadows, who will seek to bring us, the hero, down. Sometimes sadly these can even lie within our own family, with people that we love. Yet we also will meet others who become our trusted allies, that support us and fight our battles by our side. These give us strength and build us up, even guiding us to new adventures and open doors. There are some that grace our path for only a short time who can teach us so much. All matter in our story, for each one that crosses our path brings gifts. They are the characters that make us who we are and build in us qualities that we can chose to use for good.
When our story doesn’t play out how we expected it to, then we can choose to write a new one.
When I was young I loved books where at the end of the page you could pick from two choices and depending on the step taken, the story would change. We too can change our story. Sometimes choices are put before us that will led us down very different roads. What we choose is up to us. Each path will be different, leading us to different places and people. Especially if we have had a turbulent start can we have before us the life we can choose. Choosing wisely can lead to calmer paths, but others can lead us to dangerous places often with no return.
My favourite fairytale has always been Rapunzel, the girl in the tower that sought to escape and find freedom, love, and life. I have reflected that in many ways I have felt trapped, even as a child, by people, their expectations, views and beliefs. I allowed myself to be led and controlled. For a long time this left me indecisive, unable to strive for what I wanted because I wasn’t allowed to know who I was or what I needed. However with time and the encouragement of others I have found my voice and my strength to seize life, to break free of my towers constructed from bricks that control, cause fear and prevented me from being me. My tower was not physical but mental and emotional. Each brick was hard to knock down, but as I did it revealed the light and wonder of the life that lay beyond.
I’ve also had to learn acceptance of life, of the changes it brings, letting go of the things that I am unable to control and that the events I have battled, do not define me. That love comes and goes, that some people have hurt me, but others have given me true love and hope. That for every bad moment there is a good, for every villain, a hero. That I can chose my story and that life is what you make it. That everything that you go through can bring you a gift, if you just look for it. That there are also some things that I have to accept will never be part of my story. My pages are filling up, faster than I would like. I don’t know how many are left, but with each one written, there is so much more that I can continue to learn about myself and life.
Sometimes our fairytale becomes broken. Rewriting our fairytale takes courage and time. My fairytale isn’t like I had planned it, but life rarely is. Yet it’s made me who I am.
There has been adventures, losses, fights and passion. There have been moments of bliss and shadows of sadness. There have been times full of magic and wonder, times of pain and anguish. Sometimes I think longingly at the story I wanted, feel envious of others. But in the end my story is my own, wonderful in it’s own special way, and that is the greatest fairytale of all because its my fairytale, written by my hopes, dreams, experiences and life………..