Happily Ever After

 

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When you’ve believed something about yourself for long enough, it feels factual. It becomes part of how you define yourself. As a lover or fairy tales, you’d think I’d believe in happy endings, yet what is more quintessentially fictional than a fairy story?

I gave up on having a family of my own long ago. Marriage and children, I said, were not for me. I can’t remember if this was this a choice I made at some point out of a desire for freedom or if I felt that I was defective in some way that would prevent me from having them. I honestly can’t remember, but once the belief that I would never marry or have children became part of my identity, both things seemed true: I didn’t want these things and that they were unavailable to me.

But somehow I’ve landed in stable relationship with a man who wants to get married and have children, who sees these things in our shared future. And now that I’m faced with the possibility, I’m not sure what I want. It is delightful to let go of the voice in my head that says I’m not the marrying kind, but it is terrifying to think that there is nothing special or strange about me.

In fairy tales the heroines are often defined by some oddity: Rapunzel’s hair, the Pea Princess’s sensitive skin, Little Red’s bright cloak. But they are also conventional: pretty, feminine, obedient. Their adventures, however fanciful, end with the same, bland happily-ever-after. The girls have their adventures and then they settle down and have families. There is part of me that feels drawn to the new possibility of being able to have a normal life and part that resists falling into the expected pattern.

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