…and they lived happily ever after.

I have a Cinderella theme in my life right now, for some reason.  It just keeps popping up.  Last week, my sister and I were talking about how much I love stories based on the fairy tale of Cinderella.  Then, I found the movie “A Cinderella Story” cheap, and I’ve watched it about five times since I bought it!  And, at Women of Faith this past weekend, one of the speakers brought up Cinderella. 

The point she made was that little girls are told stories like Cinderella, and it ultimately hurts us because we expect life to be like that.  We believe that all our problems will be solved if only we meet our handsome prince to rescue us, and whisk us away to his castle.  We learn to hold out for perfect, and we miss the “short, balding man,” as she said, that would be great.  We also interpret “happily ever after” as having no more problems, no more evil stepmothers.

I see her point.  And I am certainly guilty of searching for perfection in every aspect of my life, especially in the last couple of years.

However, I am going to defend my love for Cinderella stories!  In the Cinderella stories I know, there are some pretty dark days after our heroine meets her prince.  Basically, when the prince realizes her true identity, he rejects her.  Everything else in her life is still as crappy as it was before, plus she loses her hope for true love.  Things fall into place for her when she rescues herself.  The prince comes around, of course, and realizes that she is his true love, but that fact is basically icing on the cake.

To be fair, the two that I know best are the movies “Ever After” and now, “A Cinderella Story.”  There are probably versions that don’t fit my description at all. 

I once heard someone say that theories are almost never right, but they’re almost always useful.  Well, I’m going to spin that comment for stories.  They’re almost never true, but you can almost always find a point.  The point that I take from these Cinderella stories is that you can’t be loved when you’re pretending to be something you’re not.  You have to figure out who you truly are first, and accept yourself and act lovingly towards yourself.  Then, others can accept you and love you. 

Another point I take is that we aren’t as enslaved by the “evil stepmothers” in our lives as we think.  I just love the part of the story where our heroine finally gets some fire in her eyes and faces the troubles of her life.  She breaks free of the evil stepmother, without one bit of help from the prince.  She never needed the prince to rescue her, she had the power all along.  And now she knows it, and we know she’ll be able to handle whatever evils she might encounter in her life.  That’s the happily ever after part.

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