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Does anyone ever wonder what Sleeping Beauty thought waking up to some dude kissing her and telling her that they would live happily ever after? Why didn’t Cinderella think it a little off that her true love was so attached to her shoes that he would only marry someone who fit his fetish? And wouldn’t Snow White have a little PTSD after finding out her stepmom wants her heart and her throne? A little less, good morning let’s ride off into the sunset – maybe a little more “wtf just happened,” and why do I do all the chores for seven tiny men?

And let’s not start on the Stockholm syndrome occurring in the relationship between Belle and her Beast. Don’t get me wrong; any man who gives me a library is by definition rather hot, but the price…. Reading fairytales in their purest form takes one far afield from the Disney technicolor with which we are all familiar.

Of course, as I walk through the nearby woods, small animals scampering around my feet, serenading me with songs about true loves just behind the poison ivy – I wonder why we do this to ourselves as a society. Like anyone else, I am giddy at the prospect of romance, hearts and flowers and mushy Hallmark-ian verses.

It’s lovely – it makes you me feel amazing, but is it? Can it be? Why would you risk your whole essence on an emotion so ephemeral we describe it as “falling….”? Is “happily ever after,” possible? Do we really expect to spend our lives with someone we saw “across a crowded room, on an enchanted evening?” There are those who do… I have friends who’ve been married more than fifty years, how do they do that? Can you actually have happily after? Or are we more likely to engage in a series of monogamous relationships over a lifetime? The divorce rate does argue the latter, while the long-term lovers and the fairytales dispute that reality.

Like air, I think love and touch are essential – and I would never argue that one could live without them. I want to be kissed senseless in the rain, to spin dizzy in a field of blooms – laugh deliciously at poetry comparing me to the stars, the sky, a lilting melody or even that perfect morning cup of coffee (hey, there are worse things)… it’s just I am done with thinking those glories mean more than they do. I don’t think placing expectations of forever on someone else is fair to either party. In a perfect world perhaps, people pair off like Noah’s creatures and spend eternity together safe from the deluge. Yet, expecting that sort of stasis from life is unrealistic. And do you want love to be a spangled, shiny safety net? People change, love and desire wax and wane – rolling with its vagaries is maybe how those “forever” people make it. For others change can be too hard – and love fails when it gets caught in the expectations.

If happily ever after is elusive, should the new fairytale ending be “happily in the moment,” or “take your joy in moment-fuls.” I had a rangy, grey tabby cat long ago, who would ride on my shoulder to the vet’s office. He always looked as if he was watching tennis – each revolution of the car was new excitement for him. He experienced the journey in distinct “windowfuls.” Perhaps, we should imitate my fat Gatsby – and take each joy in the moment it’s offered, reveling in the life we have as opposed to some distant “ever after.”

once upon a time:

  • Not Meant to Be  (Theory of a Deadman) — Canadian rock band discovered by Nickelback — nice rhythms, but very lyric driven
  • Happy Endings are Stories that haven’t ended yet (MayDay Parade) — FL alternative band, that had a hit without any major marketing and has now become a standard with Fearless records
  • The Sun Will Rise (Brendan James) — fantastic solo performer — nice begin again song!
  • Get Happy (Judy Garland) — it’s Judy — such an amazing combo of song & performer!
  • In my own little corner (from Cinderella) — charming little tune about finding the courage to move past  the status quo…
  • Happy (Leona Lewis) — I gotta find my place … just trying to be happy” fantastic song from one of Britain’s most talented exports..
  • Fairytale (Sara Bareiilles) — lovely, sarcastic re-invention of the trope…. “sanctity of patience” such a line!
  • Souled Out (Conor Oberst) — darkly entertaining song from the lead singer of Bright Eyes
  • Happy Ending (Mika) — strange little straightforward song from a singer I’m never sure how much or even if I like….
  • Everybody’s gonna be happy (the Kinks) — classic and everything is better with a little Kinks
  • Hey Cinderella (Suzy Bogguss) — love the post “ever after” vibe of the song
  • What makes you happy (Liz Phair) — Kind of a cynical version of the point I’m making
  • Rapunzel (Dave Matthews) — hipster take on a girl sitting around waiting for him
  • I’m so Happy I can’t stop crying (Sting) — his perfectly written divorce song..
  • It’s midnight Cinderella (Garth Brooks) — best smart ass princess version out there
  • Tortured, Tangled Hearts (Dixie Chicks) — the Unhappily ever after song set to a driving beat
  • Come on Get Happy (theme from the Partridge family) — who doesn’t think of this song —
  • Fairytales (Ella Fitzgerald & the Mills brothers) — awesome little song about the fairytales we get told.
  • I Whistle a Happy Tune (from the King & I) — somedays/especially new starts are terrifying, here’s a little advice

If you want your children to be bright, read them fairytales. If you want them to be brilliant, read them even more fairytales–> Albert Einstein

Take care,
Aly

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