Posted by: Trisha Leigh | April 25, 2011

If We Stop Believing…What’s Left?

How old are we when we stop believing in fairy tales? Do we stop believing in them because we grow up, because we’re confronted with reality one too many times, or do we stop because the world tells us naivety is a bad quality, that we’re too old to believe in such nonsense any longer? Maybe it’s the first time you work your absolute hardest at something and still fail. That’s a hard lesson, that sometimes you don’t get your way no matter how badly you want it.

I don’t know when I stopped believing, but once in a while something hidden deep inside pushes through my cynicism and I know I haven’t. Not really.

On the outside I’ve donned armor crafted from experience, from the hurts I’ve endured at the hands of others, from the pain I’ve been responsible for causing. There’s a big red feather in my helmet, a constant and exquisitely painful reminder of what it’s like to live with regret.

Underneath all of that, I’m still a seven-year-old girl, wide-eyed and hopeful, singing along with the soundtrack to The Little Mermaid and dreaming of the day I might be devoted to a person, to a life the way she wants to be human. I’m still the twenty-something bawling her eyes out at The Notebook and clinging to the ideal presented in those pages, that the kind of love that makes people wait exists.

I have no idea if it does. But I hope it’s out there, because at this point in my life, there’s absolutely no point in settling for less than magical. Experience has taught me that is the only kind of love that will push you both through the times when it would be easier to give up, when being alone sounds like a blessing, when you think you’ll never look at their face without wanting to scream again. If it’s not love, if it’s not real and strong, you’ll walk away at those moments, either mentally or physically.

I guess it’s fair to say I do believe in real, honest, true love, even if fairy tale endings don’t actually exist. Living happily ever after includes the process of living, and not every day is going to be happy no matter how perfectly matched you might be.

It’s the ever after. It’s the being angry but never doubting that if you could go back and do it over you’d still pick this person.

I don’t have much interest in the royal wedding (that I believe is happening sometime this week), mostly because I’m not a wedding type of girl. When I hear others insulting those who are interested, though, it twists a little in my heart.

Kate Middleton is a beautiful girl from a modest background, and she’s won the heart of a handsome prince. It’s a fairy tale in real life, and people want to believe, even if it’s just for one day, that such a thing exists.

There are those who don’t want to read fairy tales to their daughters, who believe movies like The Little Mermaid teach all the wrong lessons (and in my more cynical moments, I’m inclined to agree). Life is going to teach them the hard lessons soon enough. I say they only have one chance to be young, to believe with a heart full of trust and innocence and wonder.

There’s nothing wrong with that. We all need the reminder once in a while that love, that our dreams, are out there, and worth the wait.

What I’m watching right this moment: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire



  1. your writing always causes me to reflect a little more deeply than I normally would. thank you. well done as slways, trisha. 🙂

    • Thank you for the comment. Diane. I’m happy that my posts aren’t always rambling, incoherent messes.

  2. your beautiful writing always cause me to reflect more deeply. thank you for that. well done.

    • sorry trisha…. i thought the first one didn’t go through when i was on my nook. (i know, i know…. it’s my age, isn’t it?!)

  3. Dude, Trisha… this was such a beautifully written post, and a few points really hit me hard. Especially the one where you try your hardest at something and want it and wish for it with all your heart only to never have it. I can totally vouche though that happily ever after exists FO SHO GURL.

    *high five*

    • Thanks, Amy. You and your happily ever after are an inspiration. I’m sending you good vibes for a #2~

  4. A wise writer friend of mine once told me if a writer waits for inspiration–i.e., for the “magic” to happen–before sitting down to write, not much would ever be written. But it’s amazing how often, if you just sit down to slog through the pages when you don’t feel like it, the magic will appear, and good words will get written.

    To me, a good marriage (or any relationship, I suppose) is similar. If you wait for the magic to transport you through life together, you might be waiting a long time. But if you show up for day-to-day life together (and, yes, some of it is a slog), then it’s amazing how often the magic appears. 🙂

    • Your wise writer friend is wise. I agree about the hard work, I just think there’s no point in putting in the work unless it’s something you feel in your heart and soul at the beginning 🙂

  5. The wisest part of this post: “… not every day is going to be happy no matter how perfectly matched you might be.”

    Marriage is hard work. Staying married is harder still. It’s so easy to bail, to blame the other person for all our shortcomings, bad luck, or even bad moods. Accepting this is the true magic of love.

    • Magic indeed. I’ve been married. Twice. I like to think I finally learned a thing or two 🙂

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