I've been struggling with what to write for my next article. I started a few here and there, but none seemed to just roll off my fingers and onto the sheet with the usual ease. But then today, I read an article that I initially deleted. And then the floodgates opened...
Cinderella is a MuthaF***in' Fairytale
Sent along to me by my soon-to-be-hubby, who knows how much I love romantic comedies (and who also hates watching them with me), was the article "The Grimm Truth About Romantic Comedies
." I actually deleted it as soon as I saw it and wrote back to him "I'm not going to dignify this by reading...DELETE!" I didn't want it to ruin the magic of romantic comedies for me! (Even at 30-years old, I'm scared of having my fantasies shattered? What's THAT about? Oh, wait... you'll see in a minute...) But then a girlfriend read it and said it was actually pretty good and worth a read. AND, the article was written by a woman. So I decided to give it a shot. Damn this woman if she wasn't right on point.
Basically, the article says that "as kids, we were fed the bullshit of fairytales, and as adults, romantic comedies pick up where the fairytales left off but in a much more destructive manner." Look at what the author says:
Many of the stories we tell ourselves, as a culture, perpetuate this idea that if a man treats you badly, the correct course of action is to stick around, love him, and wait for the power of your love to change him...The promise of these movies is that the love of the right woman is transformational. It will turn the beastliest of men into a modern-day Prince Charming. Even if he treats everyone around him like rubbish'you included'hang in there, because that's not who he really is. If you endure the rudeness, the cruelty, even the violence, for long enough, you'll be rewarded with the love of a handsome prince...
This is truly what I believed growing up. I actually thought'really believed'that the man I would marry would be some arrogant, rich, playboy bastard that would change his ways when he met me, because I am just that
good. This was one of the reasons that my fianc? and I (sorry honey, but I need to put myself on blast in the name of journalistic integrity) had such a difficult time in our relationship. It was my expectation that the One would look much different than who was in front of me. Instead of recognizing the caring, loyal, and, sometimes, tough-ass who put me in my place when I needed to be, who was in front of me showing me how much he loved me, I pushed him away, because he was nothing like the type I was used to dating. He didn't look or act like what I expected the One to be.
I still look back on that and think what an idiot I was'I was pretty close to letting go of the best thing that's ever happened to me. And don't think that revelation came easy or overnight.
All of my previous relationships were with men who weren't so nice or weren't emotionally available. I thought it was something I
wasn't doing right. So I beat myself up, thinking that I was the one who wasn't good enough to change each man. Funny thing was, instead, I was changing myself. I grew up believing this is what real
love is supposed to look like: if you tough it out for long enough, he will see the error of his ways, and see you for the woman you are.
The one thing I wish I had learned at an early age was that it's okay to set boundaries with men. In fact, they like it! I've heard time and time again that a man will test you to see how far he can push you. He will only take what you let him. I've had men do this subtly and not so subtly. My mistake was to chase after them whenever I thought I wasn't pleasing them enough. I became desperate. "Why doesn't anyone want me? Why can't these men see how perfect I am?" I later realized that the One will be the one who won't stop coming after me. I learned that the hard way and not without a lot of self-doubt. Now I see it was this silly expectation I had coming from years of reading fairytales and watching movies that told me time and time again that it would really happen. I refused to see reality for what it was until I almost lost it.
Moral of the story? Always put yourself first, and tell the dudes who won't give you the time of day to go to hell. They aren't good for you anyway and they won't see you for who you really are, because they're either too scared or not ready for that in their lives at that moment.
As a side note regarding the title of this article: I was told when my best friend came into my life 10 years ago that I have a "Cinderella complex"'that that is my real issue in relationships. She didn't hold back then (and she doesn't hold back now). It turns out 10 years later, she just so happened to write a novel (yes, I know, a shameless plug), entitled Men and Sex: Power, Pleasure, Pain where the tag line happens to be "Cinderella is a MuthaF***in' Fairytale."