Fighting Like Hell for My Happy Fairy Tale Ending

It’s so easy to get discouraged from big events in my country and around the world right now. My life is just not the fairy tale I always thought I’d be living. Where is the partner that I should be sharing a coffee with in the morning, laughing over some comment from one of our friends at a gathering the night before, planning our day, and rolling in cash?

Instead, it’s been one harsh mandate after another as I sit alone at this computer, the world cold and events foreboding.

More Like a Chapter From one of Tolkien’s Stories

When I look in the mirror in the morning I do look more like Golum than a Disney princess, that’s for sure. And like him, I catch myself muttering, “What has she got in her pocketses?” when our Public Health head makes another new declaration, as she did yesterday, announcing that all chiropractors, dentists, etc. would also be forced to undergo vaccination. This when the Brits have backed off doctors and nurses! She is fast becoming the evil villain in my fairy tale.

About that – where the fuck is my fairy tale ending?

I Love a Good Fairy Tale

It seems these stories, often passed down as oral traditions, are older than anyone had imagined.  Academics have now traced Beauty and the Beast and Rumplestiltskin back as far as 2,500 – 6,000 years ago.

Aesop’s tales are considered “fables” because they always come with a lesson at the end. The Tortoise and the Hare and the Boy Who Cried Wolf? That’s Aesop. They were never my favourites as the ending always felt like a scolding – a righteous, “I told you so!” Let’s just say, they don’t end well.

Perrault put his own spin on tales and stories that had been told for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, he often felt the need to change the endings to make what had been a “fairy tale”, which always has a happy ending, into a cautionary tale. This is the case with Little Red Riding Hood, who, in Perrault’s version, gets into bed with the wolf and is summarily eaten. Considering Perrault worked in King Louis XIV’s debauched court, his cautions might be considered a kindness.

If you want to read tales almost as they were told for generations, Grimm’s are your best bet. Here you’ll find Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Hansel and Gretel, and Rapunzel.

Most folk tales were not actually told just for children before the 1800s. They were cautionary tales for adults but Disney changed all that. He raided and pillaged Perrault’s tales like Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty and brought back the happy endings, aiming them at children – an untapped market.

Wake Up!

My Dad took my brother and I to see Sleeping Beauty when I was four or five. It was the first movie I’d ever seen and terrifying – this was before people cleaned things up for children. Still, the princess was my ideal, although even then I thought the prince was a bloody long time in coming. For anyone who doesn’t know the story, at the baby princess’ christening the good fairies bless her with beauty and song, before the evil fairy curses her to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die. The one good fairy left modifies the curse so that she will only fall asleep until awoken by “true love’s kiss.” A series of unfortunate events lead to the finale when the prince makes his appearance and frees the princess. This happens only after the princess has been asleep for 100 years.

Honey, I ain’t got another 50 years in me.

I wonder, has my subconscious been playing this out my whole life? The similarities are a bit too close for comfort. Considered a beauty? OK, bit of a stretch. Always into music and singing? Check. Falling “asleep” at 16? Check. Waiting for prince charming to save me? Check. (Finally realized it wasn’t going to happen last year: No One is Coming to Save Me)

Hold on a Moment

What makes a fairy tale enduring is not just the happy ending so much as the terrible struggle that happened before the happy ending. If there had not been struggle, the story would be very dull! No one would remember a story like that. The struggle makes the ending sweet. In fact, the more awful the events in the story, the more rewarding the ending seems. They offer us a chance to see ourselves in those horrid events. The struggle gives us contrast and the gravitas meaning for our lives.

Modern Tales of Near Death

I’ve had a fascination with near death experience videos on YouTube since my marriage ended. So much so, that after watching hundreds of them I worried about my mental health. Why the fixation with death? Then I realized: it was NOT a fixation with death at all but an affirmation that there is something more going on “behind the scenes.” The stories of these people dying, coming back, and sharing what happened to them gave a possible meaning to my suffering. (Anyone that questions the veracity of Near Death Experiences or NDE’s only needs to watch a few to see how ordinary – how real – the people experiencing them are. This video, of the suicide of a First Nations elder in Calgary, AB, is the most compelling reason not to commit suicide that I’ve ever seen:

As a person who dislikes waste in nearly every form, finding hope that there might be a purpose to my suffering was a relief.

I Can Take a lot of Pain – If I Know it is Not for Nothing

Who would care about the small life of Bilbo Baggins if he did not set out on that epic adventure (albeit unwillingly)? What about Sarah Connor? If she had married the cook in the kitchen where she waitressed and went on to have three children and live in suburbia, would we care even half so much about her life? And if princess Aurora had done everything she was told, married the boring prince and lived out her life in that castle? WORST story EVER.

What Exactly is a Happy Ending?

Is it an ending where you get everything you ever wanted; the house, the fancy car, the two point five kids, and the yearly vacation to somewhere warm? Not unless you somehow overcame adversity to get there. That is what gives life meaning and the ending fulfillment.  Otherwise, you might just be putting in time as the clock runs down, although I can see the tranquility in that!

Rage Against the Machine

Part of my anger over the events of my life stem from the fact that I have nearly always done what I was told and tried to be “good” and still I was cast out. (OK, spoiler alert! I haven’t always done what I was told: Conform or Be Cast Out: Have Courage Unvaccinated Friends and What Should I Do Now?)

If there is any lesson in my life it has to be that doing everything that others wanted me to do – trying to be who others said I ought to be – is foolish. If I did as I was told, I wouldn’t really be living my own life but one society mandated for me. No wonder so many people get disillusioned as they get older, even if things appear to be “fine.”

So here I am, on my own “epic” adventure with adversity enough to overcome. I’ve woken up alone, in an abandoned castle covered in thorns. No fairy Godmother in sight but I’ve picked up a machete and am hacking my way through to the outside. I’m hoping there’s no Smaug out there but at this point, I’m getting ready for battle.

Ha! That’s me! Fighting like hell for my happy fairy tale ending!


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