22 November 2007

What's the harm in being enchanted?


Since last night was the night before Thanksgiving, my family and I indulged in the nation-wide tradition of going to the movies prior to cooking frenzy and food coma. Since I'm a lover of escapist, girly films, I suggested that we see Enchanted, the ode to Disney movies and fairy tales. Of course I loved it, but my writings here are meant to express more than likes and dislikes. This movie actually really made me think about fairy tales and the concept of "true love" and "happy endings."
Much as I do love my Disney films, I sometimes wonder if those concepts of relationships hurt me more than they helped. Granted, I grew up a bit sheltered in a suburban existence being the only daughter, so I may have put a little bit too much stock in romantic movies and novels. I guess on some level I actually believed they were true! It's not like I expected cartoon birds to braid my hair every morning before I ran singing down the hillside to meet my handsome prince-- but I did believe that love conquers all and that somehow, one day, I would be rescued from confusion by my version of a handsome prince.
Flash forward to the real world: relationships are complicated. I've dated complete jerks and I've dated fantastic guys, but none of those guys wore those jackets with those little brushy things on the shoulders. And while I have fallen in love and do believe that it is very real, it was never without its complications. Sometimes it's hard not to become jaded, to think that lasting love is a myth and that it will never happen. But it's also tempting to rely on happily ever after, to think that you don't have to work to make yourself whole because someone will rescue you and do it for you.
Seeing Enchanted, which is a modern take on the Disney motif, reminded me of the importance of believing. If I weren't idealistic, if I didn't have a side of myself that believes in leaping headfirst into something that feels right, then I wouldn't be me. And frankly, I don't want to be the type of person who moves cautiously in romance-- I guess you could say that the way I've followed my heart recently (in relationships as well as in my career!) is the real-world equivalent of Ariel taking a chance at being human (except for the whole "losing your voice" thing...that messes with the metaphor, because this new chapter in my life is supposed to be about finding my voice!). Fairy tales inspire that hope in us and prevent us from being those jaded, closed-off types. But what I really liked about Enchanted was that it presented the opposite view as well-- the danger of being the damsel in distress. You have to rescue yourself. You can't see yourself as a victim.
Obviously this is something I'm still struggling with as I enter this confusing new stage in my life. I'm not even talking about relationships, although I guess it's applicable to those too. I mean more about taking charge and taking action, but still taking time to appreciate the beauty in life. And trying not to lose hope. Although leaping has sometimes meant that I hit the ground hard, I will never stop remembering the happiness and freedom I felt while I was still in the air. I hope to recapture that feeling as I go about finding more about who I am...

Photo courtesy of imdb.com

1 comment:

Jerramy said...

Dear Ms. Golightly/Eyre: There’s absolutely NO harm in being enchanted! (But you're right. Happily ever after is something you have to create every day, every moment, for yourself.) Just remember that even without a swirling and romantic "kiss the girl and break the magic spell" type boat scene - once day, (just like Ariel) you will find your voice.