When you first learn about love, you learn about it from fairytales. Tales where the princess is rescued by the handsome prince who has traveled through exotic lands and wandered through time to find her, where their first kiss is magical, their love for each other eternal and blissful. Happiness abounds and they live (say it with me, folks) “Happily Ever After”. You believe in these tales because they are so pure, so beautiful, so fantastic. You will spend the rest of your life trying to figure out why real life doesn’t measure up： why your prince or princess (let’s not be sexist here) isn’t waiting for you, searching for you, doesn’t love you, loves something more than you (drugs, alcohol, themselves), isn’t capable of love, is too immature to love. Look at everyone you’ve ever loved- who you secretly held out hope would be “The One” and tell me you haven’t wondered “How the hell did all of these frogs get here?!” To take a page from an old saying, “Lie down with frogs, get up with warts.” None of us are Snow White- we are not princesses laid low by magical spells, we are not lowly maids who will be raised high by princes. We are all frogs. We are all marked by the scars life has given us and the truth is fairy tales aren’t real- but you already knew that. The truth is love can be instantaneous, but even love at first sight has to live past the second (sighting, that is). The truth is love heals all wounds- which is only fair, since it causes half of them anyway. The truth is love can conquer mountains, but most of us would really prefer the garden path. The truth is…the truth. Love is not a human invention, but certainly we have added some unnecessary complications. We tell ourselves bedtime stories that assure us that in the end we will not be alone, when the truth is we are alone all the time with each other. Love is a not a cure all for the affliction of the human condition. That’s endemic. It is, however, a balm, a heart’s ease, that softens the edges of life, just enough that we can try to achieve…- whatever it is we’re meant to achieve here. Let’s try this for once. Just for once, let’s try telling a true story- an oxymoron, I know. A story where love conquers all by conquering nothing-where it’s not a sword, but a shield. Where princesses don’t wait for princes to wake them up, but get off their asses and hack their way through life’s thorns on their own. Where women don’t have to wear glass slippers (they’re fragile, and cold and besides, who wants their calluses exposed to the world?) Where princes don’t have to kill to be loved or fight to be valued. Let’s try a story where people find that life has no guaranteed happily ever after- and they live life anyway. Where there is no magic but that of the human heart and its ability to expand as needed, to be strong, and malleable and scarred- to be wounded again and again and keep beating. Let’s try a story where we don’t know the ending, where every hero and heroine makes their own choices- and start out on their own paths to epic journeys. Tell me a story where kissed frogs stay frogs; but are loved, warts and all.
*click the title link for some appropriate mood music!