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What Fairytales Don’t Tell You

September 25, 2009

I feel like I have to complete a thought. A little while ago I posted about happily-ever-afters and what they can and should mean to all of us single folk. It was a post full of thoughts for a personal revolution. But, much like anything in life, there are two sides to every story. So today I’d like to post about the flip side of redesigning my own personal happily ever after.

It wasn’t until after my divorce that my vision of the future changed. Up until then I still assumed there was someone out there for me and I too could ride off into the sunset with him. But when things fall apart so hard, you need something to hold onto. And so I began to think of ways to make a satisfying ending to my story alone.

That’s a positive thing. Taking control of one’s own destiny and happiness. Spitting on fate and making a life you can believe in. Taking control. It’s empowering and good and I stand behind it.
But it’s also tiring. Because for each new dream I have to make and build, an old one is buried underneath it. Each time I make the effort to revise my vision of the future, I first have to dig a grave for the old thoughts of what might be.

Many of you will find this hard to imagine, but I had those dreams of a future with someone else again. I spent my nights imagining the life we’d have and the things we’d do. I tried to picture if we’d have children or not, and if we did what they’d look like and what we’d name them. I mulled over tentative vacation plans. I even considered what kind of engagement ring I’d like if I were to get one again.

And now I have to dig a grave for that life that was becoming so clear in my mind (even though I couldn’t decide between princess cut or marquise). I have to find a way to let it go.

And maybe I do deserve to be happy. Maybe someday I will be. But I’m afraid that journey is going to have to be on my own. So I will box up the pretty dreams of blonde babies and European vacations. I will add the sounds of the river and pretty diamond rings. I will lay in fun getaways and sun lit strolls by the lake. I will wrap it in the security of having someone hold me every night and tell me how loved I am. It will all be in good company. And I will seal it with the knowledge that I did this thing and made it what it now is. Then I will close that box and bury it deep, hopefully where I can’t pry it open again. Hopefully under the foundations of something new someday.

One of my favorite lines from a song is in Semisonic’s Closing Time: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” And this is what we don’t often tell people about making new dreams. In order to make way for something new, you have to let go of something else. And sometimes, the beginning you let go of takes a piece of you with it.

Before I shut that dream box, I will add a piece of my heart to it. Another piece that no one else may ever have. It belongs to the river, and the sun, and the vacations, and the babies, and the rings, and that love.

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