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As a girl growing up I was surrounded by fairy tales of falling in love and prince charming. Disney’s glorified princesses since forever, with beautiful thin cartoon figures that little girls envision themselves being when they grow up. Everything is rosy and beautiful, we will meet our frog prince, prince charming, beastly prince etc, fall in love and live happily ever after. Until of course the real world comes a knocking and shatters that dream from within us. Honestly though that’s all it really ever was, a dream within a dream.
Fairy tales never prepare for the fine details that life has in store for you. They leave out the mess that really is true life because well, sometimes, its just not that pretty. I would also say that even though fairy tales may be based in some truth, that that truth is a million lifetimes away from where we are now. When I say we I mean women, young ladies, girls. We live in a society were we can choose what type of life we want to live. We can decide which metaphorical hat or hats we want to wear and when we want to wear them. Even with all the advances that there have been with civil rights, gender equality, etc., embracing change is still something that seems so elusive for the human existence of this world.
I was recently in a conversation with someone who rhetorically asked me why parents were failing at their duties to educate girls on how to cook before they leave the nest. Now being that I love this man dearly and know him better than anyone, I know he is not asking this to be sexist or ignorant, but more out of wonderment. And don’t worry ladies I did have to catch myself for a minute cause I almost knocked his block off. See any man that’s in a relationship with me knows that I don’t govern my life and live by societal norms. He knows if we get married I might not take his last name. He knows that I am not Suzy housewife, and I don’t really cook or do laundry. I am my own person and will do what I think is right for me as a person and a woman, and he loves me. He loves me still, even knowing that I’m not great with house chores, or housewife like and that I may never be. Regardless of those things, I knew the answer to his question, on several levels, as it is one that is not grounded in a simple answer. And yet the answer quite simply is…Divorce.
See its a curious thing to him, because he comes from a family that is very different from my own. His parents are married and have been for almost 40 years. Now I’m sure they have had their ups and downs, but as of now they have stood the test of time. He and I are both in our 30’s. His mom taught him how to cook. It’s not that my mom didn’t teach me how to cook. I’ve learned from her over the years, though honestly I’ve never had much interest. See my parents divorced before I was 10, and my mom was always the bread winner of our family. It seemed that my dad didn’t work. He owned an antique shop at one point. As a kid you don’t really think about things like what your parents do and how food magically appears on the table for dinner. Anyway, once divorced spending the extra time to break down cooking wasn’t there. Dinner was just a task on the long list of things that had to get done in her evening to get us kids to bed. And I imagine that many single moms may have the same issue. So then the question becomes are parents really failing us? Because in this day and age there umpteen cooking shows on TV kids could watch. And I have no doubt that the inter webs and Youtube are chalk full in videos and tutorials on how to cook.
At the end of the day when everything is said and done all the choices that we make about who we are and the person we choose to be with will come to be our fairy tale. Ultimately it will be our reality-tale, doesn’t have quite the ring to it that a fairy tale does, but that I’m okay with; because its REAL!