What Fairy Tales Didn’t Tell Us
Feature Story XpBonaire IslandLife - Motivational
Women of my age, born in the late sixties just after the baby boom generation, grew up listening to fairy tales at bedtime. Day after day they shaped our dreams and molded our early visions of life. What do most of them have in common? Easy! There is always a young woman, princess or maid, it doesn’t matter, and who is sweet and vulnerable. For different reasons, she needs to be saved to obtain true happiness. Who is going to save her?
A man, of course! A prince, riding a white horse, rescues the poor girl and puts his signature on the happy ending. What happened after was never told to us, but we can guess she depended on him for everything for the rest of her days, from the bank account to the maintenance of her soul. To complete the picture, the other female characters in the story were bitchy step-sisters or wicked and jealous witches or horrible mothers. The message was that we, women, can only be naïve, dumb or nasty creatures. Relationships with men are totally unequal. The other women are something to watch out for, not very inspiring. Why didn’t they tell us the truth so that we don’t have to figure it out year after year? Not only one is there one truth, but several truths. The wisest thing to do in life is the opposite of what happens in a fairy tale. And that is to let go of any labels regarding human beings.
There are exhausted and unstable princes. And very sweet step mothers. And roles are interchangeable. But more than anything else, no one needs to be saved by anyone because the real sense of safety starts in our gut, and like a seed, we – alone - have to water it every day to grow it into a wonderful plant with deep roots and full of flowers.
Nobody can do the work for you. Here is the fable of human beings, without gender distinction. We can be princesses able to tame wild horses in the forest and awaken an overwhelmed king with a kiss to give him hope again. We can fly on miraculous carpets we wove with our desires and sometimes we might crash down. It is painful and totally fine because we know that when we fall down, we will simply get up again. It will take just a little bit longer to fix the carpet.
So when I was asked to write something empowering for the women of the island, I thought, really? They are already so powerful and strong. In nine years, I have met so many women on this island that do magic, most of them without a man next to them. They walk through the days with a strong back and a soft heart. They catch rats, they move 25 kilos bags of soil, they grow kids, they save dogs, they work hard, they cook with love and they share their food with more love, they dance with so much joy, they wildly laugh and cry, they never close down to life, even when things become tough. They hug you like the entire Earth would do. “We hug for long here. We don’t give these fake kisses, cheek to cheek, come closer baby”, a new girlfriend told me in the beginning. And since then I surrender every day to never-ending, female hugs.
Nowhere else have I seen so clearly what resilience and sisterhood means. The key to female empowerment lies in mutual support. This is the big lesson to learn, especially for us coming from a Western, competitive perspective. There is an invisible thread connecting women within a big net of presence that is the most solid family ever. It crosses different generations, languages and nationalities and it is the path by which to come back to the feminine essence, before so much history and false conditioning tried to break it.
It is not the shouted feminism of the seventies, nor is it the fake freedom of the eighties and nineties. It is very subtle and very profound. A friend, a yoga teacher who works on the feminine says, “Generation by generation we pass on a heritage to each other. We receive emotions and traumas from our mothers and grandmothers. If we feel the need to cry, maybe we release the emotions of a woman from an earlier generation many years ago. Therefore, if we heal ourselves now, we may save another woman of a future generation from feeling our pain. It is time to break the cycle.”
I see this happening every day here and everywhere. It is contagious and liberating. Will we forget the wild prince dream now? Never. We will always love fairy tales and princes. Just know, guys, there is a long path to share. So wear comfortable clothes and feed the horses. We both need them to ride together.