I remember when I was a little girl I wanted to be like Cinderella. Thinking back on it, I could think how terribly brain-washed I was about fairytales. But, I’m not that cynical. I believe we should believe in fairytales when we are children. One of my favorite quotes about this is from “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith.
It is one of my favorite books of all time, and my copy is fairly worn because I always find myself going back to it. The main character’s grandmother tells Katie Nolan that she must read fairytales and legends to her daughter like she did for her– despite knowing they aren’t real. She says:
The child must have a valuable thing which is called imagination. The child must have a secret world in which live things that never were. It is necessary that she believe. She must start out by believing in things not of this world. Then when the world becomes too ugly for living in, the child can reach back and live in her imagination… Only by having these things in my mind can I live beyond what I have to live for.
The mother then calls out the grandmother and says, “The child will grow up and find out things for herself. She will know that I lied. She will be disappointed.”
The grandmother responds,
That is what is called learning the truth. It is a good thing to learn the truth one’s self. To first believe with all your heart, and then not to believe, is good too. It fattens emotions and makes them to stretch. When as a woman life and people disappoint her, she will have had practice in disappointment and it will not come so hard.
I could go on and on with these beautiful pages. Mary (the grandmother) goes on in her advice to Katie, and it gives so much insight into poverty and how people are able to pull out of it. But, I digress.
The point is- fairytales are important. At least, they were to me. Having a father that would watch A Little Princess with me and a mother that let me wear her pretty dresses and high heels was important too. Being a princess gave me the confidence to believe in who I was. It’s not so much what the fairytale says but what it makes you feel.
So, this made me think of what planning my wedding has been like. There are times when the event feels ritualized, a part of a stage in my life that I’m required to go through in this drawn out process. I’d never been one of those girls that dreamed of her wedding day. When I watched Cinderella I didn’t see the relationship with Prince Charming or the pretty dress (ok maybe I did, I did dress up as her for Halloween when I was five…). What I saw was a kind individual finding a way out of a less than ideal situation. We can debate the legitamicy of what the story really emulates all day, but do you really think a little girl thinks about that sort of thing? I feel like the same thing holds true about weddings. How do I protect such a special moment for me from the scrutiny of what society tells me a weddings is? They are overpriced, over-done, and dated. Maybe that’s true, but why am I still excited about wearing a pretty white dress and marrying my favorite person in the whole world?
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the wedding industry. I’m dealing with it every day now since I’m trying to create a nice day for myself, my fiance, and my loved ones. But, darn it, let me be giddy about it! Surely that doesn’t make me superficial? I can believe in fairytales and still know a thing or two about reality.
But, at the end of the day I guess that’s what is important. That balance between euphoric happiness over a physical thing, and the realities that lay behind it as well. When it’s all said and done, we marry because we need the government to recognize the importance of the other person in our life and to make us “family”. Because I’ll be honest- our relationship doesn’t NEED that status for our love to be real. Although its necessary to include the spiritual aspect of it too. But, there will always be a fairytale to it–I’m going to always want to believe that a white dress can symbolize a very happy occasion. I could be happy alone, but I’ve found someone to be happy with and I’m gonna celebrate it!
The argument can go any way, but right here, right now, it’s important to me. It’s a part of making me feel something, and I think that’s ok. So, if I post about weddings in the future and it isn’t your cup of tea– bear with me. It will soon pass 😉
Have a great weekend!