Many from my generation and after have been brainwashed into what I called “The Happily Ever After Fairytale Syndrome”. We were brought up on Disney movies and fairytale books where the beautiful princess has great trials and tribulations in her early life, but with the help of a handsome prince, she finds the courage to overcome these barriers and lives with the Prince “happily ever after”. They ride off into the sunset in a carriage leaving to our imagination that splendid life the two have before them of children, palace, and gracefully beautifully aging together. We hear the trumpets blowing, birds singing, and a chorus singing enchanting themes enthralling one’s soul into a surreal bliss, with the words printed “and they lived happily ever after. The end”. This magical unrealistic view has been imprinted on generations of young girls of what they believe their future beholds.
What these fairytales failed to mention was that “happily ever after” is going to have those painful moments, and for at least half of the fairytales, there would be no happily ever after, but instead future challenges would be faced as the princess moved through her future developmental life phases. These stories failed to show the frailness of life itself and that overnight one’s life can change in a moment. Overall, these stories failed to show that even though our heroine in the story has overcome a major obstacle that her life, ahead would include many too come, which is the experience and art of living.
Life in itself is not a journey of “happily ever after” because the cycle of life is like a roller coaster with pivotal peaks as well as times we feel ourselves spiraling down towards the ground. The momentum and feelings that are associated with these peaks and valleys are alike in that they are both intense, but they differ in the experienced emotion. Our peaks are filled with emotions of excitement, joy, pleasure, and safety, while our times down low are filled with sorrow, regret, pain, and questioning our purpose in life. It appears to me it would have been far more helpful if the writers of these “happily ever after tales”, would have shown the princess experiencing more than just one obstacle in her life. If they would have shown how the princess picked up the shattered pieces of her fairy tale “happily ever after illusion”, moved forward, and continued living.