Once upon a time, there was a little girl called Charlene who lived with her beautiful mother and playful little sister in the land of Saints and Scholars. Her loving father lived in a different kingdom, but adored his two little princesses and visited them as often as he could. Ever since she could remember, Charlene had loved reading. Her wise parents knew the importance of imagination and the joy it could bring. They favoured books over toys, and the turn of each page instilled hope, faith, and the thrill of adventure in their daughter. Every night before bed, Charlene would leave the real world and travel to a magical land of her choosing. Some nights it was Narnia, other nights it was Neverland. She followed Alice down the rabbit hole to Wonderland. She witnessed the trials and triumphs of Hansel & Gretel, Snow White, and Goldilocks in the Enchanted Forest. She sat with the Knights of the Round Table in Camelot and held her breath in anticipation during Robin Hood’s adventures in Sherwood Forest. She danced down the yellow brick toad to Oz ,and wondered exactly how many princesses lived in a Land Far Far Away! For it was in these magical lands where she met the characters who would end up shaping her into the person she would one day become. With each adventure she went on, she experienced something new. She knew that one day she too would have to face, challenge and overcome hardship, and that was ok, because once she did, she too would live happily ever after.
Last night I watched the new live-action Cinderella. And it was magical. The feeling I had throughout the movie was that of seven year old Char. I was once again living in the fairtytale that I first read in one of my many beautifully illustrated books. The Disney animated movie had long been my favourite (until I saw The Little Mermaid – an under the sea game changer!), but I had always imagined Cinderella differently. I imagined her more life-like, less cartoon-like, but still with all the graceful, kind and gentle mannerisms that Disney had given her life with. The illustrations in my books were more authentic to me, and I spent hours caressing the pages in hope that the characters would suddenly spring to life. Lily James is the Cinderella that seven year old Char had been wishing for. Elegant, compassionate, gracious and tolerant – everything my childhood had wished for and more.
Fairytales are an important part of the child and the grown-up
Fairytales are just as important for adults as they are for children. As children we learn to believe, to love, to hope, to have courage and that good will always overcome evil. Fairytales teach us good morals and the difference between right and wrong. As children we learn this in theory, but as adults we have the opportunity to apply these invaluable lessons to our own lives.
Children and adults are not two separate things. One is simply an older version of the other. Children are meant to grow up and gain perspective. They are meant to develop and to understand the things that are not being said; to be able to read between the lines. Growing up does not mean that you lose your ability to wonder, and it definitely shouldn’t mean that you lose touch with your imagination.
Fairytales not only offer lessons, but they function as an escape and consolation mechanism that is often needed more by adults than it is by children. Fairytales usually contain cruel themes and harsh reality, but they also represent hope and possibility.
For adults, it is often difficult to remain hopeful when faced with obstacles. Life doesn’t always feel like the fairy tale you’d like it to be. Sometimes life really sucks! But let me tell you a secret. The brain is the most powerful tool you have. Your life is a direct reflection of the thoughts that you have. Your mind creates your reality. If Cinderella chose to focus on how her evil stepmother was ruining her life, she probably wouldn’t have gone to the ball as her Fairy Godmother (a positive force) would have been pushed away by her negative thoughts. Instead, Cinderella remained positive in the face of evil, and made the best out of a miserable situation. She sent positive vibes to the universe and was rewarded. She got to go to the ball. She escaped the clutches of her step mother. She fell in love with the Prince, and most importantly, she lived happily ever after.
It is for these reasons that I believe in fairytales.
While life can be trying sometimes and it feels like all hope is lost, I try to have courage, stay positive and to not to lose faith.
I have faith because I believe that good things happen to good people.
I have faith because I have learned, from both literary and real-life experiences, that with a little hard work and a glimmer of hope, there is no limit to what I can achieve.
I have faith because I believe in fairytales.
I have faith because I believe in happily ever after.
As Roald Dahl once said, those who do not believe in magic will never find it.
I’m not willing to take that risk, are you?
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