Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fairy Tales

We've all heard them since we were kids. They all follow the same basic plot: "Once upon a time....They lived happily ever after. The end." The stuff in the middle changes, but it's all really basically the same. Especially if you limit it to just the fairy tales about princesses. Then they really are almost exactly the same story. Snow White may have had her seven dwarfs and Sleeping Beauty her 3 fairies, but they boil down to the same idea. As we grow up, we realize how fantastic the elements of the stories are, but instead of discarding them we cling to these stories. These fairy tales we've been told since our childhood through various media stick with us. They can, in fact, become a source of reassurance and comfort to us. The stories are simple and one-dimensional. There are good guys, and there are bad guys. There aren't any gray areas. In the end, the good guys win, and the bad guys lose--as it seems should always be the case in life. These stories offer hope of a better world, a better life. Real life is so much more complex than in the stories, and the lives the characters in the stories live just seem so much more ideal than our own. We look to these stories for hope--someday we too may slay the dragon and have peace and harmony throughout the kingdom.

And yet, sometimes I find these stories bring me despair. For who is it that is always marrying the princess and living happily ever after? It's Prince Charming, of course. Good for him. Unfortunately, I've never felt too much like a Prince Charming. The prince aspect I can sometimes manage to fit to myself, but never the Charming. First off, my last name is Sorensen, not Charming. But mostly, the actual adjective doesn't really fit me. While I do have a way with words, it never has been a charming way. More a dry and sarcastic way. My looks certainly aren't charming. I've never considered myself attractive enough or suave enough to be a Prince Charming. And if I'm not Prince Charming, what hope have I of ever marrying one of these princesses that are all around me? I might as well give up the quest.

In those times, however, it is important to remember those differences I brushed aside in the introductory paragraph. You see, it isn't always Prince Charming who rides in and saves the day. In some of the stories, it's just a knight in shining armor. He still gets to marry the princess and live happily ever after. Being a knight in shining armor instead of Prince Charming doesn't really make all that much of a difference. It is perfectly alright to be a knight in shining armor, which is a part I can see myself playing, and have been able to for awhile now (if I had access to it, I would post here a picture of me as a young 5-year-old in my knight in shining armor costume). Being a knight in shining armor is still not an automatic task, but it is much more achievable than being a Prince Charming.

So, for the boys that read this: remember that you don't have to be a Prince Charming to win the heart of the princess. You still can live happily ever after by being a knight in shining armor. Don't wallow away in misery because you weren't born heir to the Charming throne. Live the best life that you can live; live it honorably, and in kindness and service to those around you. Someday, you'll find a princess and marry her.

In your turn, girls: don't be so caught up in looking for Prince Charming that you miss the knight in shining armor. You are all princesses, and you do deserve to live happily ever after, but maybe it won't be with Prince Charming.

As a last note, realize that everything I've said about guys should also be followed by girls, and vice versa. I realize that it isn't just girls always looking for the Charming ones and missing out on other opportunities. Guys do it as much, if not more. And it isn't just guys who get downtrodden feeling they have to be Charming; girls have that problem too. I am, however, a guy, and so this has been written from the perspective of a guy.