Reimagining the Disney Love Story

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I’ve been imagining my “prince charming” since I was nine years old
I read fairy tale after fairy tale just waiting to see how things would unfold
And don’t even get me start on the Disney movies
I have seen plenty – Mulan was my favourite in case you were wondering

While my understanding of love has expanded beyond books and fantasies
I am still taken aback by how these childhood tales have stayed with me
So I’m going to pull up my socks and edit these love stories

First and foremost, love is not about rescuing anybody
Not me and not some make-believe prince charming
If someone needs rescuing, it is not the time for romance
It’s time to sit this dance out and do the work to create a far healthier route
Love is not about rescuing
It is about intentionally seeing whether you can build up the trust
So you can safely put your sword down
To be seen for who are
To be loved for who are
To be together as you are

Second, there will be doubt
You do not always “just know”
No matter how deep your love goes
Love needs care, honesty and courage
Love takes work
It’s not just magical glances and sunsets
That’s okay because it’s real
You are loving someone you can touch and feel
Someone who is both incredible and flawed
Just like you
This is part of how you know it’s true

Third, you need to do more than just look at each other
Really, how many stories revolved around loving glances?
You cannot truly love someone without knowing them, really knowing them
Knowing someone this closely is uncomfortable at times
Yet it is in being known and accepted that true comfort arises
Love is a journey
A journey often skewed to the days of love’s beginning as in your childhood stories
Stories that are finely crafted just to the point where love begins
And in that moment the scene ends
Love is a journey that does not fade as the sunsets
It rises with each new day
There is great discovery
You learn together; grow together
Like life, love can be messy
Yet, love is messy like the beauty of an abstract painting
Beyond perfectly dressed princes and princesses
Being loved for who are as you are is the greatest gift

Fourth, love is not enough
I know, I know, I would really like to believe the Beatles song too
But, it is just not true
Love needs space and care to grow
Two people can love each other so and be going in far different directions
That’s why you need to truly know each other
Know each other’s beliefs, values and dreams
You need to have tough, vulnerable conversations
You need to trust that you will be able to love again
If you’ve discovered a difference you cannot both see through
Love can be heartbreaking
Thankfully, our hearts are resilient beyond our imagining
Yes, love is risky
Yet, all it takes is one

Somehow I think this poem could keep going on
There are so many things I hope will change about how we speak of love
Love is not perfect or tidy
Love is both beautiful and messy
Love is not a cure
Love is healing and restoring
Love is a beginning
Each day, each hour, each moment
Choosing to care whole-heartedly for another human being
Just as they are
Receiving the whole-hearted care from another human being
Just as you are
That’s what love is to me
At least that’s what I remind myself when I get lost in a childhood story

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