A spate of recent Hollywood films have revisited those fairytales from our childhood with a slightly different take, like new releases "Red Riding Hood" and "Beastly," starring Vanessa Hudgens. This got me thinking about the stories little girls are brought up on -- the notion of a Prince Charming waiting to whisk his beautiful princess onto a horse and live happily ever after, and how this may have coerced women into seeking out the perfect man.
And then I thought, this cant be true anymore. Indeed, as Brienne Walsh wrote recently on The Huffington Post, "Daily, we were told that men were not Prince Charming, that they would not vanquish a dragon to save us, rescue us from a tower or even just fight their way through the subway to come kiss us goodnight."
And she has a point. I myself even added my dose of cynicism by writing and publishing a book in England, of my very own version of "Sleeping Beauty," called, "While You Were Dreaming." The beautiful girl I wrote about was in a coma and her "prince," a mildly depressed loner!
I would hope this new age of realism hasn't heralded a nation of female cynics when it comes to fairytales. And whilst being aware there's probably no such thing as the archetypal, unflawed, all-dancing Prince Charming, there should also be some awareness of something else.
Enter the Wicked Witch. No, not the pointy-nosed, mole-decorated character we had read to us at bedtime or in kindergarten, but a more deadly embodiment of fear, insecurity and lack of confidence that an individual with a past can at times allow to sabotage any potential happy endings. It's the Wicked Witch from Within.
And make no mistake: This Witch is a biatch.
It will stop at nothing to make sure your happiness is incomplete, whilst boasting this unique habit of popping up at the same time as any sweet, sweet morsel of joy. It is constantly reminding you, with pure clarity, that whomever you meet is just not good enough.
Think of those newsreel of excuses used in the past which may have prevented a huge leap into the unknown. Without getting into specifics, leaps can range from entering into a second marriage after a nasty divorce, allowing someone into your life after living "happy and single" for years, or even just plucking up enough courage to say "hi" to the cutie with the lovely smile you make eye contact with every morning at 8:25 a.m. on the subway.
Everyone has a past. A past which allows us to experience tragedies and happiness, but which also shape, as well as motivate, the way we think and act towards others and ourselves. Fear, whether it be of the unknown or of something already experienced, has a habit of appearing just at the right time to detonate any explosions of joy which may have the potential to be yours.
So, whilst humans don't have the ability to change the past, it doesn't mean we have to let the past define who we are as individuals. And it doesn't have to allow us to dismiss any potential mate, just because they are flawed -- or, indeed, not a Prince Charming. In short, everyone has the power to banish this Wicked Witch forever!
So, when you snuggle up at the movies to watch Hollywood's latest installment of a new-style fairy tale or chick flick, starring Jennifer Aniston and the latest deep-voiced hottie dangling the "perfect relationship" up on celluloid (or, horrifically, one day, 3D), you may like to attempt the following: Turn to the man beside you -- look past the low-paying job, slightly crooked nose, his fondness for "Star Trek" re runs, uneven top teeth, his unwillingness to give up football for one night "just to talk" -- and try and focus on his good points -- the first being that you picked him, and therefore he has to have something going for him.
Who said princes don't exist?
("But I want a king!" squeals a little voice in the back row.)
I give up.