Fairy tales are beautiful masterpieces of fantasy intertwined with the concept of love. They always end with all conflicts resolved with the famous happily ever after. As a child I relished these beautiful tales, holding them close to my heart. I knew when I fell in love it would obviously be a happily ever after ending. Love can conquer all, love will find a way, love is the hope for the future; these beautiful concepts made my juvenile heart beat rapidly thinking of my own future. This form of idealizing the relationship between two adults tends to lend itself to a very real concept of my personally named Fairy Tale Syndrome. I will explain this phenomenon with my own tale of sorts.
The Meeting of the Prince
When I met my husband it was a whirl wind of frightening realities mixed with excited anticipation. We met on May 5th in an endeavor at a bar. A very good friend of mine owned the bar that we ended up meeting at. Later I learned at my wedding actually that this friend was in love with me. Going on with the story; I was there at the bar with my best friend and five other men that were acquaintances of mine. I was supposed to meet my husband down at another bar. For some reason I decided to go to my friend’s bar to meet him in a safe environment. Not to mention Corona fest was down the road from this bar. I left a note with a friend of mine at the bar I was supposed to meet him at, and of course he didn’t get it. Eventually I was finally able to reach him on the phone to explain to him where I was. Then presumptuously I asked him to come meet me where I was at. Not even thinking that he may not want to meet anymore after me bailing on the location to meet originally. I felt so bad, but in a miracle of sorts he did come.
The Start of Something Wonderful
The moment we saw each other I knew he was the one. It was the weirdest feeling, like a lighting bold that coursed through my veins. Some people don’t feel this type of instant connection thankfully I was a lucky one. I was starting to lose hope in finding my love; I was young yes, 20 years old, and had already been through my share of men waiting and wanting. Then suddenly there he was, like a magnet we attracted each other. We had a whirlwind romance from the start. He was the first to say I love you, I quickly reciprocated. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. On May 14th my twenty first birthday a mere couple of weeks after we meet the proposal came.
We were up at Landstuhl Castle (we were living in Germany at the time) my then boyfriend had received orders to move to California. He wanted me to go with him. My response was more automatic than anything; there was no pause before I replied to him. I told him my parents wouldn’t agree therefor I didn’t want to disappointment them. Going on I told him the only way we could go together was if we were married. I can truly say I wasn’t even thinking about marriage when this came out of my mouth, it was a mere fact. Next thing I know he responded in the affirmative that we should indeed get married. I was shocked then that faded when I told him he was right. It was the only think that made perfect sense in my life. I looked into his eyes asking him if this is what he truly wanted. The answer he gave made my heart sing, he told me I was the one, that he had known this and he wanted a life with me. Sweeter words have never been spoken to me before. Ah, the start to my fairy tale! Finally!
A Trip Down the Alter
We didn’t want to wait so we planned to get married in German court on June-14th-2006 with a church wedding to follow on July-1st-2006. There were practical reasons as to why we got hitched so quick. The biggest one is that I was losing my ID card because I turned 21. My father was an Officer in the Air Force at the time. We had been stationed in Germany; a dependent needed an ID card to stay. At the age of 21 the ID card is no longer valid unless you are had a job that gives you one. The planning for the wedding was so quick. I feel like I missed out on many experiences. One that sticks in my mind is wedding dress shopping with my mom; along with the little details of wedding planning. Those things didn’t cross my mind then. In fact I was to focused on just getting married and starting our lives together. I regret that to this day. Being more involved in my wedding planning was something I wanted but didn’t know at the time. I now have so many ideas for my wedding that fit us as a couple. However, I did have a beautiful small wedding curtesy of my parents. One day I want to renew our vowels at the wedding of our dreams. Regardless, the first years of our marriage was a train wreck. Where in the world was my fairy tale? Who stole it from me? Why is this happening? What did I do? These questions and many more swirled around in my head.
What Did I Do?
Now don’t get me wrong, I was head over heels in love with my new husband, he also felt the same. We just didn’t know each other very well. Not to mention living with someone of the opposite sex is a puzzle in itself. We were supposed to get married and overcome any of the things that get in our way. Thus achieving the elusive happily ever after. In reality we were arguing, struggling to find intimacy and grieving. We were both struggling with the recent loss of a pregnancy four months in our marriage. I was so depressed when I realized that fairy tales let me down. My life didn’t compare to Cinderella, Snow White or Aurora. I was deeply saddened. I knew that those were stories but isn’t all love supposed to be like it is in the moves, books, and plays? There is no Prince riding in with a white horse to save the day. No floating down the stairs with a ball gown on to wish my husband a good day at work. Absolutely no animals coming out of the woods to be my friends, no matter how many dogs I brought home to love.
Reality, Hits Hard
When you smash two people together to make their lives one there are differences to work out. No fairy tale talks about this. Arguing and pleading with a messy husband isn’t spoken about in fantasy land. The never ending battle to find, create, understand intimacy is a truth unspoken. How does one make sex about intimacy and not self-gratification when one isn’t a virgin upon marriage? Why does life get so hard and messy without having a summing up phase followed by living happily ever after? Was I chasing a dream? In fact, yes I was chasing a dream. Love isn’t perfect, nor is marriage. Sometimes love isn’t enough to withstand the tornado of life.
Finding the Hero
Thankfully my marriage is strong, but others don’t get that reality. Fairy tale syndrome got ahold of me early in my relationship. I was sad and depressed comparing my husband to the Princes in tales as old as time. Why did he not measure up? The answer is simple, he is human, not a hero in a tale. In fact, he is my personal hero tailored to our life together. That is a beautiful concept, one that took me years to find out of the fog of trying to live a fantasy. The depression that can grip a person that believes in fairy tale endings is hard to overcome. Trying not to compare fiction and reality gets messy when the lines get blurred. This aids in phenomenon of Fairy Tale Syndrome. We grow up surrounded by these stories that can inundate our brains thus clouding our minds. The result is the feelings of loss when we enter in the “perfect” relationship. We grieve the perfect picture of love, when our form of love leaves us wanting. The love I have for my husband does not leave me in a state of want now, but back then it did. I couldn’t figure out why the presence of me in the morning didn’t bring him to his knees in a state of awe and wanting.
Enter Insecurities, Bringing on the Conclusion
Am I not beautiful enough to fulfill his longing? Whoa enter self-doubt and crippling anxiety! Am I no Cinderella? Am I not so beautiful to deserve a prince running all over the kingdom to find me? The questions of self-antagonizing just kept coming. Fairy tales had let me down; they are not real life. However, real life was not letting me down. The fanciful concepts Fairy Tales peddle do not compare to the sweet love of actually growing close with your spouse. Real life is beautiful even though its painful at times. I eventually learned to break free of the chains of fantasy. It wasn’t an easy journey in fact it was incredibly hard. I even went to counseling to help myself pull out of the depression. That fact was simple I needed help after the realization that my marriage wasn’t like a fairy tale. Eventually being able to own up to the fact that my husband and I were leading a unique life creating our own version of a fairy tale was essential for healing. Being inundated with fairy tales can give hope to the hopeless when the stories are intertwined with realistic expectations of life. Never lose the blind trust of love that a child carries in their innocent hearts. Learn to dream big, love with all your heart, forge along, find your own fairy tale. Break free of the bonds of living with Fairy Tale Syndrome.