Finding Happily Ever After
by Amber Maccione
Finding My Prince Charming
Growing up as a girl, I was infiltrated with a wide variety of princesses. Although the stories were all different, they always had a common theme – princess in crisis; prince charming to the rescue; and they live happily ever after. My life was filled with facts that I was special. I needed a man to meet my needs and fulfill my dreams. Having a man was the key to my happiness.
So just like any girl in America, I grew up dreaming of who my prince charming would be: making a list of what I wanted in a man, dreaming of my wedding and how my life would be once I was married, and how my dreams would finally be fulfilled because I would have a family.
Sure I was told I needed to go to college and have a job, but attached to everything was the cloud that I had to have a man.
Disney's Movie: Brave
The Movie Brave: Reflection
Christmas 2012, I bought my son the movie Brave. I loved this movie for one reason: it painted a princess as an independent girl who could find her own destiny. She didn’t need a man to live happily ever after like all the princesses I had grown up with. I began to think about my life. I had gone to college like my parents had wanted me to, but my whole time there I had been looking for my prince charming just like all the other girls there. My friend and I came up with a major that we shared with the principal of the college (I went to a small Christian College). The major was homemaking and offered classes in cooking, sewing, raising children, catering to your husband, finding Mr. Right, etc. The funny thing was that I didn’t even find my prince charming. My friend did though and dropped out of college and married him without finishing her degree (by the way, they are still happily married with three beautiful girls).
From there, I graduated, got a receptionist job, and again started looking for my prince charming. I moved probably about fifteen times that first year out of college – four different states, hopping from job to job, wondering if each guy I met was the one, and not giving any thought to a career. I was utterly and completely consumed with the notion that finding my prince charming was the key to my happiness.
I married at the age of twenty-five and was divorced two and a half years later. While separated from my husband, I ended up dating someone else and getting pregnant. Now, I am thirty years old, have no job or career, living with my son’s father, and struggling to make ends meet.
As I continued to watch the movie Brave, I realized that all my life I had been told a lie. My worth, my dreams, my life should not start when I finally meet my prince charming. I don’t need a man to validate me. I am the author of my own happiness. I am the one who says whether I live happily ever after or not.
Enlightenment: Message to all Young Girls
So many of us (including the media) tell our girls about princesses and prince charming and the happily ever after, but do we ever think about how that could impact them?
New Year's Eve night 2012, as I sat with friends with no date, someone told me (this time a guy) that I needed closure from my previous relationship with my son’s father and another guy in my life. I actually laughed! I replied with no. I said what I need to do is pursue my own dreams for my son and I and be independent. I looked him in the eye and said, “I don’t need a man to make me happy.”
During 2012, I had learned at least one thing – the key to my happily ever after starts with me. If I truly want it, I need to pursue it with all my heart. And to all you young ladies out there, stop planning your weddings at ten years old and start thinking about your future – focus on school, keep your grades up, look into hobbies, and pursue your interests. Once you have that, go to college, keep your grades up, pursue internships, pursue your dreams, establish a career, and be a strong woman. And along the way, I am sure your strength and independence will attract the right guy to you and you will get your prince charming. But at least you will have found your happily ever after long before he even takes your breathe away.
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