I try not to put things out that sound like a PSA announcement, but this might. Sorry. Today, things feel a little sad for me. But that is part of life, right? Some days just aren’t great, and as someone who lives part of my life on paper I suppose that eventually it was bound to happen that I would want to write something on one of those sad days….
Prince Charming isn’t real. There will never be a man that whisks you away, that drags your life up from the mundane, pulls you off your floor scrubbing knees, thrusting your life into this idea of happily ever after. I’m sure this isn’t a shock, or even a revelation to any of you. We all know that perfect man we read about as little girls isn’t real, but for many he was the dream.
So when you come back down to earth, open your eyes, and realize this is the real world and not your fairytale, where does that leave the Marks, Johns, and Bobs in your life? If Prince Phillip, Eric, Adam, and Charming(yes that was really his name) were the pinnacle, albeit unrealistic, what does the bottom bar, minimally acceptable look like, and all the shades in between?
We read, and for some of us write, stories where the guy is the hero, he saves her, but for a lot of girls that is not what the men in their lives will be. Even if you never bought into the fairytale, I can tell you that this is a hard blow to take when it really hits home. Maybe that is because as much as we don’t believe it, some part of our heart secretly holds onto wishing it could be true.
So how do we reconcile the dream with what we really have, Charming with Bob? I have spent most of my life dealing with other people’s addictions; first a very close family member, then men I let in my life. So what happens when Charming drinks too much, or does drugs? What happens when Charming has a temper? Disney never answered that for you, did they? That’s what life is though, at least for many women.
I asked above what the bottom bar looks like. I asked because I think it’s important. As women we need to figure out what is acceptable from the people we love and what isn’t. From the outside looking in you might think these are easy standards to set, but I know that they aren’t. I can easily paint you a verbal picture of the perfect man. I can also articulate one that is completely unacceptable, but there is an in-between that is blurry and hard to explain.
I don’t know if anyone ever really learns from other people’s experiences, or if we have to live it ourselves, but I’m going to put this out there anyway. Living with, or loving people with addiction issues, hurts. Unfortunately sometimes it hurts physically, and more often than not it hurts emotionally. It’s lonely. Even when they are there, in some ways they live in a different world, one you can’t live in with them even if you try. You will always be second, maybe even third, or forth. If you stick it out you’ll have to be in love with the person you know they can be, not the person they are, and both will break your heart.
So this is where this is going to get very PSA-ish. We know Charming isn’t real, but too many of us are still waiting around for him, or worse, hoping we can love the man in our lives enough to somehow transform him into Charming. You can’t. He will never be Charming, and that’s okay, but make sure he is still someone that is good for your life.
Think about, talk about what you want and what your bottom bar is. Aim far above it. Don’t wait for someone else to save you. When life is too hard, when you’re sad, tell someone. And not the person that is making you sad. Tell someone else. He isn’t going to put you first, so put yourself first. Live healthy, live happy, and let people into your life that want those things for you too. Prince Charming is dead. Reality killed him. Now we need to paint a different picture of what the people we give our hearts to should be.
Promise to those who read the silly things I write: the next one will be happier. Episode one of Holding Out for Home should be posted very, very soon!!! You can read it here on my site and it is free. I can’t wait for you all to meet Gwen and Jackson.
May B.B. (The, not always happy, Writer)