Wonder what Cinderella would tell us about relationships if we could talk to her now? Would it be “Ladies, don’t lose hope. There is a handsome Prince out there for you,” or would it be, “Hunny Child, let me tell you. This Handsome Prince thing ain’t all it’s cracked up to be!”
Hers is a truly remarkable rags to riches story. She was a little girl who was deeply loved by her father. In fact, she was his little princess until the day he showed up and said, “This is your new mommy. And these are your new sisters.” Screech, hold up. New mommy? Who said anything about a new mommy? Cinderella was goodness and kindness and all, but do you think she was all that happy about that? I don’t think so.
Add to that the struggles of the blended family. Loving and supporting and accepting don’t just happen. Lynsey Mattingly’s article on Scary Mommy warns of 10 things nobody tells you about having a blended family. I won’t go into them, I’ll just sum it up by saying, “It’s tough!” Division of labor, sleeping arrangements, discipline, all of these things and more have to be figured out and negotiated. And even if you get it to work on paper, there are emotional issues that throw a wrench into the best laid plans.
We don’t know whether Cinderella was a bratty kid who refused to share her father with anyone. We don’t know whether her dad chose her needs over everyone else’s, unconscious though it might have been. We don’t know if the stepmother was nice at first but it just got too tough or was a meanie all the way through. Different adaptations of the story take liberties with all that. One thing’s for sure though. Cinderella’s father died and the life she had come to love died with him.
“Someday My Prince Will Come” became her only hope of escape. In the same way, it’s the heart song of many women who think that finding Mr. Right is the answer to their troubles.
On the other hand, there’s the Prince. He too was the apple of his parents’ eyes. He was doted upon too and was destined to be king. But if we venture behind the curtain, we see a very conflicted and imprisoned soul. While Cinderella’s dream was to be rescued, his was to break free. He wanted to experience the world outside the confines of the palace. Both felt trapped in their situations, this is true. And this probably made both of them feel an instant connection. But the way they dealt with their pain was completely different.
Isn’t that just like relationships? We feel most bonded with someone who later brings out our worst insecurities. That’s the messy part of happily ever after that isn’t so glamorous but must be told nonetheless. For unless we confront our emotional constructs, they will cheat us of the intimacy we truly desire.