The story of Cinderella is a brilliant example, albeit a sad one, of how people ignore as well as shy away from raw reality.
When one reads or even thinks of the fairytale of a beautiful young lady, (Cinderella in this instance) – who finds her charming Prince, living in an ostentatious castle, (but it’s beautiful right?) dressed in the finest garb, hair perfectly styled, absolutely she’s blonde (what else?), beaming with joy. That is what they love, and that is what they perceive. Only.
Let’s take the story of Cinderella;
Of course it’s only a fairytale, but if we’re to ‘enjoy’ the finer bits, the ‘feel good’ pieces of the story, then we should embrace the entire story.
The fact that Cinderella scrubbed floors all day on hands and knees with a brush, probably having cracked, dirty and broken fingernails as a result, including hard hands which, if you think about it, is very unflattering, does not enter into people’s minds. Cinderella had to sew her Step Mother and Step Sisters clothing by hand, which meant she’d suffered more than a few pricks from needles. Perhaps her hands often bled? Her clothes were tattered and torn, and I imagine, her hair wasn’t all that clean and definitely not styled. She had no friends, and was made to sleep in the attic.
Viewing Cinderella in this light, how do you now perceive her? Do these raw realities of a child being subject to pain, hard work, exhaustion, and perhaps eating only scraps, make you want to read the story of Cinderella, if no Prince was coming along, no fancy castle, just, broken fingernails, torn clothing and perhaps dirty hair, still have you reading this story to your children at bedtime? Well, I imagine not. This is an example of life’s realities, in their truest and rawest forms.
When people ask someone about how he or she lives with any sort of pain or disorder, more often than not, it is out of curiosity, not care. They want to see and hear about the hero in you. The juicy bits where you’re coping against all odds. They don’t want the raw reality of the suffering you endure. Oh God no, that would just be yucky, wouldn’t it? Ruin the entire illusion.
Another example is this; If you’ve suffered a horrific car accident, and end up in a wheelchair, paralysed from the waist down, needing a carer 24/7, including help with going to the toilet, do they really want to know these things? Your bedsores, the pus that seeps onto your bedsheets, because your carer has somehow forgotten to help you turn, the constant ghost feelings in your legs, which are driving you crazy, as well as depressing you, the poo bag you have strapped to your side, because you cannot feel the urge when it’s time for a number 2? Oh no! please no! Will they even enquire or want to hear you share your sorrow, fear and pain?
They want to know how it happened? Who was involved? Is your car a write off? ‘I hope the accident fund pay you out well’ (silently wishing for you to give them a share of your loot), and what happened to the ‘other person, who was involved?’ did he or she die? and that’s about it. Perhaps they’ll ask about other juicy bits, like ‘were there witnesses? and ‘whose fault was it?’…..
They won’t ask you ‘where does it hurt?’ They won’t caringly enquire about bedsores in an effort to help, and if you bring this up, they’ll quickly change the subject, trying to hide their uncomfortable feelings of disgust. They certainly don’t want to hear about the bag strapped to your side, which if said carer doesn’t change, the content of your feces will spill onto your clothes, causing a horrific mess and smell. And God forbid this should happen when they visit!! They’ll run calling for the carer, and then make up an excuse to leave immediately.
Will they be interested in any pain, depression, sadness, you might be feeling? or the loss of loved one’s who’ve left because ‘they simply couldn’t take anymore of you crying at night’, I mean, seriously, ‘get over it’! You have a carer don’t you? You’re waited on hand and uh…foot! Shit happens man, just get a grip already!‘ they’ll yell.
If you mention wanting a manicure, I imagine the answer would be ‘why?’ they’re so expensive and you’re not going anywhere special are you?’ having lost sight that you’re still human. With feelings and a heart that beats, albeit to a different drum.
Yup. The raw realities. Who wants them? Let’s cut to the part where you miraculously heal, as spinal surgery has come a long way, and you’re the ‘lucky’ one, who was operated on successfully, and to everyone’s delight, you have the use of your legs again! You don’t need the bag for feces strapped to your side anymore, and you certainly won’t suffer bedsores. What a beautiful ending! (but the ending began when you had the accident, something most couldn’t comprehend). oh wait, they’ll throw in a lot of ‘God is so good!‘ (um, ok, so why did I have the accident then? subject to shame and terror?’)
That’s the part that’ll have them proud to ‘be your friend’. Your loved one will probably rush back home, especially once you’ve received a massive payout from the accident fund, citing how he/she was, at the time, suffering deep depression, and they’re so sorry they left, but missed you terribly. (oh, sorry they didn’t call, their phone was broken)….
Yep. The reality of life. If not for Prince Charming, poor old Cinderella’s story wouldn’t be in print.