Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Cinderella, Snow White, & all that jazz
Seems like all the stories I read as a kid started with "once upon a time" & ended with "and they lived happily ever after." I chased that stupid fairy tale for way too many years.
I was raised in a time when a girl was expected to marry & have children. Oh, you could be a teacher or work in an office but that was just to supplement, help out, not as a career. I once overheard my Mom tell one of her friends that they sent me to college to find a husband. I found one alright.
It took me 20 yrs & two failed marriages to learn that I could rewrite the fairy tale. That happily ever after could happen without a man in my life. I could build my own life. I could be happy on my own. I could be my own person. I could set the parameters that defined "me".
I think the biggest disservice that was, and in some instances still is, done to girls is not empowering them to be independent, self-sufficient, giving them a right to their own voices. My granddaughters, thank goodness, are being raised to be strong girls. I sometimes wonder how much more I could have been had my parents thought I was worth more. I wanted to go to law school, but I got married. I loved being on stage but I gave up theater because I was a "wife". I allowed another person to define me. Actually I allowed many people to define me. My first brave act was to get a divorce & become a single parent. My folks were livid. But, for the first time in my life, I stood my ground. Still, I felt like I was a failure unless I was "married". So, I made mistake #2. That one was out of the frying pan & into the fire. By then I was so spinning out of control. I was so damaged that I self-medicated to stop the pain.
Then, one day many years later, I woke up. Actually, I had been slowly awakening for years. A couple of strong women helped me along the way. One day I realized how sick & tired I was of being sick & tired. I knew that unless I left my marriage & got myself straight I was going to die. Either he would kill me or I would kill myself - overdose, car wreck, suicide. I was slowly dying in body, mind, spirit. But one day I kenw I wanted to live. I wanted a life. So, I walked out. Oh, even though I left physically it was harder to leave emotionally but step by step I was able to do that also.
Has the road been easy? No, it has not. Has the Journey been worthwhile? Absolutely!! Every day I learned more about myself - the good, the bad, the mediocre. I chose who I wanted be. I found my spirituality. I turned my back on organized religion because it does not work for me - too much hypocracy. But I have a very deep, personal relationship with Great Spirit. I read The Bible, The Koran, The Book of Morman, the Dalai Lama, the writings of Buddha, Gandhi, Black Elk, Chief Seattle, Wayne Dyer, TD Jakes, Max Lucado, books on Native Spirituality. I read alot. Through all that reading I found my beliefs, my ethics, my moral compass.
So, happily ever after does exist. It lives in my house. It lives in my soul. I am happily ever after because I choose happiness, contentment, peace, joy, & love each day. So, ask "How are you?" to me & you will get my answer "Fabulous, as always!"