Recently in my travels, I overheard a conversation where the term "Princess Pan" was uttered. It was in reference to the unmarried, childless niece of one of the women participating in this exchange. The term is a callback to the J.M. Barrie character of Peter Pan. Yes, the boy who lives in Neverland and refuses to grow up, therefore never gets old. When one refers to Peter Pan Syndrome, they refer to a man who still does boyish things and shirks adult responsibility. Author Tracy McMillian coined the female counterpart Princess Pan. In an article describing this young girl trapped in a woman's body, this embittered female Captain Hook scolds women who do not conform to gender roles, morph into willing wives and mothers and move to suburbia.
Before the crocodile swallows a clock and the rest of the pirates on the ship point fingers, I will confess that I do fit the definition. So Yes, my name is April. I am a Princess Pan. No, I am not ashamed. I am quite proud, thank you very much.
For starters, I am uncommitted. It isn't because I have character defects that drive men away. Rather, I have goals I want to fulfill, and need to be unattached to make these dreams a reality. My apartment is a mess most of the time, and there is always at least one appliance in need of repair. I am not lazy, I actually work constantly to chase dreams I have had since childhood. Sure, I did not consult the second star to the right, but it has always been a desire of mine to move to New York and pursue the creative life.
As a result, I have an apartment that has costumes on the floor as well as scripts and music I have to memorize for various jobs. Additionally, boxes of my book, I Came, I Saw, I Sang occasionally obstruct my walkway, because I am loading them in and out of my apartment for various signing events. Then there are my journals full of thoughts, jokes and notes depending on the acting or writing class I am taking. On the only proper bed in my home are my puppets. While they are not real children, I am their Wendy Darling. I am responsible for their upkeep, and making sure all 15 of them get to and from their perspective gigs. Depending on what is going on, my bathroom is covered with glitter, a.k.a. what I refer to as fairy dust. I do clean weekly; my schedule just always gets the best of me.
Being unattached means I date. There is a part of me that could date forever. Just like the fictional character I derive what many might feel is a slight, I could go on adventures until the end of time. My Tiger Lily girlfriends, women who enjoy the chase rather than the capture, compare notes with me. Sometimes, in his profile, a man might look like Prince Charming, but he is really more like Shrek in person. And then there is the MBA who insisted that he got abducted by aliens followed by the accidental coffee date with the ex con who believes you should find Jesus. This is endless cannon fodder for any material I might need in the future. If I find a husband, great. If not, at the end of the day I have myself, and that is enough. Actually, it is probably a more mature conclusion than most marrieds ever get to.
Heck, most marrieds believe they need someone else to satisfy their needs and make them happy. Not one person can give you everything. Additionally, the institution, until recently punished LGBTQ and gender nonconforming people alike. Many times, people will blindly follow this social cue like Mr. Smee did his pirate boss. That is, only to find they were square pegs forced into an awkward round hole that they didn't belong in. As a result, the arrangement between the two people who were conditioned to believe this is what they should want and they are lesser beings for not having it ends in disaster. So perhaps before I set up a homestead with someone, maybe I want to see if I can operate within this structure and still be a happy, secure human being. That way, I won't punish a future partner or children.
What is truly magical is that I have a Neverland of my own. Composed of Lost Boys and Lost Girls, some of us are more Tinker Belle and others more Rufio. Sure, some are professionals: doctors, lawyers, and bankers, who act the part of adults but let loose with the rest of us. Others are creative folk like myself, with boundless imaginations. Then there are the true characters which include a Toltec Sorcerer, a High Priest in the Church of Satan, and an ex Hollywood street hustler. They have been there when times were good, and when times were bad. The unconditional love around me has been tremendous. A lot of so called "grown ups" never have this support in their lifetime.
While many of us in Neverland love our married relatives and younger nieces and nephews, the marrieds often come down on us with a judgmental gavel. We are told we are selfish for not conforming to the structure. Meanwhile having a husband and kids just to conform and then hating your life, there is nothing more selfish than that. On top of that, we are told over and over again how great marriage and children are. If it was so great, why does it come across as a desperate sell? Then we are told as women we have failed if we don't have these things. I am successful my life on my own terms.
So if you are a Princess Pan, don't let the patriarchy get the best of you. Think happy thoughts and fly with me.