The Death of the Disney Princess

October 12, 2008
By Lindsay Hartman, Columbia, PA

Fairy tales are pivotal to the life and dreams of every little girl. Well, I suppose I should qualify that statement because, no matter how true a statement is, there is almost always an exception. So I will say it this way: Fairy tales are pivotal to the life and dreams of almost every little girl. Until I was about thirteen years old, however, the previously mentioned generalization was a soft, warm blanket that covered me completely. I loved fairy tales for one reason, and one reason only: I dreamed of being loved fully and truly by my very own Prince Charming, forever and for always. I saw no reason why this dream could not be fulfilled in my life. I didn’t understand that, however well intentioned two people are, the world always gets in the way. I didn’t understand that passionate love tends to fade into tolerant indifference, if one is lucky, or mutual disdain, if one is not. I hadn’t yet been inundated with statistics stating that approximately one out of every two American marriages ends in divorce. During the winter of my thirteenth year, however, I left the land of Disney princesses. I became the “almost” in the aforementioned generalization, tearing a hole in the soft blanket that had always sheltered me.

Unfortunately, I didn’t notice this tear until it was too late and pain and reality had started to seep through my protective blanket. Looking back, though, I can trace the tear to one fateful winter’s day, unassuming even in its significance to the rest of my life. I was taking my weekly horseback riding lesson, circling around and around in a dusty arena, while Tara and I chatted. Tara was my riding instructor. She was tall, blonde, and full of vigor. She always had a smile on her face and a kind word ready for everyone she encountered. This night, though, she was different. Her voice was solemn and tinged with bitterness as she spoke with me about her failing marriage. The conversation flowed naturally, as did any normal conversation. Her words, however, dug their way into my heart. As she described her husband’s duplicity, his cruelty, she laid the groundwork for my future distrust in men.

Only now, three years later, do I realize this. Only now has the impact of this experience fully revealed itself to me. I now realize that, after this experience, my view of this world was not the same. I may watch a romantic comedy and enjoy it, but it is always marred by the knowledge that, in real life, the happy couple would be broken up within five years, rather than growing old together as the theme of the movie seems to suggest. I might savor Pride and Prejudice, but I always know, in the back of my mind, that men like Mr. Darcy don’t really exist. As much as I try, I can no longer believe in the romantic happily-ever-after of Disney movies and my childhood dreams. Tara’s divorce, while seemingly insignificant, destroyed any possibility of this idealistic viewpoint surviving within my mind. Her divorce killed the Cinderella within my soul, and unfortunately Cinderella is not Sleeping Beauty; she’s really dead, not just asleep.

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This article has 2 comments.

ivy said...
on Oct. 16 2008 at 5:12 pm
i know how you feel... LOVE IS A LIE!!!

Tweedle Dee said...
on Oct. 16 2008 at 4:45 pm
i have to disagree. just because some (lots of people) choose wrong or are dicived, not all men are cruel. men like mr.darcy (to use your example) do exist, its just hard to find them. if you wait and trust god, you'll find the right man.


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