Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Myth of Once Upon A Time

When my Wasband* and I split up, one of the reasons (as in, one of the real reasons and not one of the stupid ones like "You don't know how to ski" because ... WHO SAYS THAT?) was that he wanted the fairy tale, and we weren't living that anymore.

So let me put this out there right now: Life? Not a fairy tale.

I mean, sometimes it sort of is. There is that dreamy, montage period at the beginning of every relationship that is like every happy love song on the radio. Like, Neil Diamond singing "Forever in Blue Jeans" while you dance in a field of dandelions, with butterflies flitting about and a perfect, just right shade of sunshine reflecting in your hair (maybe this is just MY picture? But you know what I mean, right?) as the day wanes and life is so amazing that you're practically a Disney Princess (or, you know, Prince if that's how you roll).

But those moments? They come and go. Honestly, mostly they go, and what comes is daily stuff like laundry and grocery shopping and isn't it someone's turn to make the bed or take out the trash? Which isn't to say that you should STOP dancing in grassy meadows, but which IS to say that the daily stuff is, well, daily. And the Disney moments are less frequent.

And that's okay.

The problem, I think, is that my Wasband -- and so many of us -- think that every day should be magical without realizing the following:

The ability to make it through the laundry, grocery shopping, and bed making on a daily basis IS kind of magical.

Look, I'm a firm believer in grabbing (or you know, creating) amazing, romantic, fabulous moments whenever you can. Do it up, my friend.

But don't expect to live there. Because -- and trust me on this -- the Disney stories? After the Princess marries her Prince? They have EVERYDAY LIFE. What you see of those stories -- the magical, mythical part -- ends at the beginning. Which, as I've already mentioned? Is the special part, but not the magical part.

The magic? Is looking at someone every day across the dinner table and thinking, You know? I'm pretty sure I want to see that face there again tomorrow. And the day after that, and the day after that, even when the brain behind that face has done something annoying or goofy or, let's face it, pretty freaking stupid.

That's the magic.

The rest? Are moments. And I'm not going to lie -- some of those moments? ARE FANTASTIC. Never stop creating those moments.

But don't give up on the everyday because you forget to see the magic of that.

While I'm on this topic -- which I am, by the way, because I'm surrounded by people in every stages of relationships and choosing to be a relationship tourist (I know, I should participate, please don't start) -- here are some other observations regarding the Myth of Once Upon a Time:

1) Love does not mean taking someone's burdens from them. You are not anyone's fairy godperson. You are not responsible for taking their problems from them, no matter how much you love them. You can put a shoulder under one end of it and take some of the weight off. You can help solve for X. You can HELP. You can't CURE. If rescuing is your thing? Go to an animal shelter. If a partnership is your thing? THEN you can date. (This also means that it is not your partner's responsibility to take your problems from you, though I do ... FIRMLY ... believe that they can help you to carry and work through them.)

2) If you only want those magical beginning of a relationship moments? Write romance novels. Or read them.

3) If you want special moments -- and you should, we all deserve them -- don't expect that someone will create them for you if you can't be bothered to create them for your partner. And if you can't be bothered to create them for your partner (and they can be very small and silly, they don't have to be elaborate)? You need to reconsider what you're doing there.

But be honest. Don't tell them you're leaving because they don't know how to ski. I mean, really.

"Once Upon a Time?" That's ... a moment.

Happily Ever After, though ... that's a long haul.

*I didn't come up with this. BUT I WISH I DID IT'S BRILLIANT.

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