It’s true, if you think about it. Fairy tales are all the same. Happy endings and bubblegum and rainbows and the good guy wins and everyone sings Kumbaya and enjoys a real stiff drink.
Ok, that’s not exactly how it goes…but it sounds good.
Really though, we’re so accustomed to happy endings that even the original not-so-great version of Little Red Riding Hood was re-written (everyone knows the story, right? – grandma gets eaten by the wolf, blah, blah, blah, indigestion). We just couldn’t leave it alone though. Nope, we had to fix that unfortunate ending. Later versions added a clever wood cutter who sliced open the wolf so that both grandma and little Ms Hood could live happily ever after.
Happily ever after. What is that, anyway?
Pretty sure it’s right up there with free money, sugar free cookies and no-ride-up underwear. You know, things that sound great but are really just a joke or an unattainable magical mirage.
Welcome to the world of pretend…
Dwarves serenade you, you can grow your hair 57 feet long without ever touching up your roots, birds help you make a beautiful dress that fits like a dream without showing your back fat, a knight in shining armor saves the day, a maiden falls into a peaceful slumber and awakens with a kiss from prince charming after years of sleeping WITH HER MAKEUP ON…and she looks fantastic?
These are the things dreams are made of…and we tell these stories to our kids. C’mon, are we going to continue pretending to be confused about why vegetables, taxes and crowsfeet all amount to a crap version of adulting that is so much less glamorous than we expected?
It’s frustrating. And I guess in part it’s our own fault. When did we decide that it was best to raise our kids surrounded by fairy tales?
Hey, you know what? I bet the best way to teach someone that the world is a beautiful place that’s also full of really cruel, unfair life’s lessons along the way is to… Yep, fill their head full of make-believe stories about how everyone wins and life is perfect. Always a happy ending. That should do it.
Ummmm…how about no?
I say we go down the rabbit hole. I say we tell the truth.
Sometimes life is ugly and unfair and messy.
Sometimes our friends aren’t really our friends, we don’t always win, the ending isn’t always happy, we don’t always get rescued, it doesn’t always make sense, we don’t have to smile about it, the people we need aren’t always there, sometimes we don’t do the right thing, or people do wrong by us, the truth doesn’t always surface as quickly as we’d like, and sometimes…well, sometimes everything isn’t going to be okay.
And that’s perfectly okay.
When things get tough, sometimes we need to live in that for a while. And sometimes we have to fight. And I don’t mean fists. We have to fight with our hearts and our minds and every fiber of our being just to pull through to the other side. We have to dig down deep within, shake ourselves up a bit, pray, yell, pray some more, process our troubles, knock off the dust and keep going.
So what about this cloaked girl in the woods? I’d love nothing more than to rewrite her story.
Why can’t she embrace her own vulnerability and then be brave, and strong? Why can’t she be fierce? Maybe she was tricked and mistreated, but who said she has to lay down and take it? Wolf or not…Red can decide how to handle that beast.
Let’s imagine a girl who doesn’t need rescued. One who might not always have a plan, but knows what she wants and figures out how to get it. A girl who doesn’t startle at the sight of big teeth and big eyes, who won’t be played and who speaks out against those voices of darkness…
Let’s paint a picture of an ending to this story that reminds our own little girls just how badass and strong they are.
We all have wolves to overcome. And we can’t fight in glass slippers.