Last week I went to the movies for the first time in three years. It's not just that I don't get out much these days, which is totally true, but I've never been big into movies.
Yet every now and again one will catch my eye and I will deem it worth the price of admission and two hours of fantasyland in a darkened theatre.
This time it was the new, 95 million dollar remake of Cinderella. The cinematography was breathtaking and the film was lovely. Yet as I went home that evening I found myself irked by the movie. Annoyed by everything about it. It took me awhile to figure out why, but then I realized.
I don't believe in fairytales.
Of course in this particular movie Cinderella has it rough at times. She lost both her parents and somehow ended up being a servant to her wretched step-mom and whackadoo stepsisters. She was treated horribly; time after time life just didn't go her way.
But that's not the end of the story.
Eventually a fairy godmother swoops in and saves the day, using her magic to make Cinderella the bell of the ball. Of course she catches the eye of the prince, because, of course she does. She momentarily loses hope of ever reuniting with the prince, who then decides to move heaven and earth to find her once again. He tracks her down, rescues her, declares his love and they all lived (here it comes) happily.ever.after.
Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling through
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true.
Life is perfect. Life is rainbows. Life is fairy godmothers and prince charming's. Right?
Of course not.
Movies like this are fantasy plain and simple.
What happens if Cinderella and her perfect prince try to conceive a child and are unable? Or if he turns out to be a cad and (gasp) cheats on her? Even worse, what if the prince dies leaving Cinderella all alone? What if something horrible happens to Cinderella that renders her unable to be the woman she always was? What then?
That possible reality is never shown, because who wants to see that? That doesn't add up to the "perfect package" a fairytale portrays.
Who wants to show life as it really is? As unpredictable and potentially painfully heartbreaking.
At times it can feel like every one else is living a fairytale while we are combing through reality. It doesn't seem fair.
Here's the thing.
I don't believe life is always perfection.
I don't believe every dream always comes true.
I don't believe our ever after’s are always happily.
Life can be cruel. Life can punch you in the gut. Life can leave you heartbroken.
For seemingly no reason at all.
No ones life is a fairytale. As much as they may try to make you believe it is.
Hang with me; I'm getting to the good part.
As messy and un-fairytale-like as life can be, it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.
There's beauty in the journey.
The ups the downs.
There's beauty in the moments that don't turn out as you planned.
There's beauty in the things that cause you to question everything.
There's beauty in the weariness.
There's beauty in the longing.
There's beauty in the things that break your heart.
Why? Because every bit of it marks you. It changes you. It molds you. It creates you.
Who you are.
And who you are is beautiful.
Who you are is magical.
The beauty in the journey is not always that it turns out according to plan, but that we choose to rise despite it all.
Rising. Conquering. Living.
I do believe that bitter can be turned to sweet.
I do believe in hope rising from despair.
I do believe tragedy can turn to triumph.
Do all of those things always come in a fairytale-like package? No. But that's ok.
I don't believe in fairytales any way.