Disney Got It Wrong

Disney Got It Wrong

A Disney Princess always gets her happy ending, but life has taught me that love isn't always a fairytale.

Nearly a year ago, a friend of mine was taking a psych course in school and had to answer this question in an assignment: What do you think it means to be in love, and how does it apply to marriage/relationships? Have your views changed since becoming an adult?

When I was a kid, I learned about love not through my parents, but through idyllic Disney princess movies. You meet the man of your dreams, and when you do, you both just know, and it's happily ever after. My mother kept up this pretense. She met my father, and when she did, she just knew. Not only did she know, but she saved herself for just him like a good girl would.

I can hear you laughing. I'm laughing, too.

My parents are far, far away from "happily ever after", and as I grew up, it became more and more apparent. But the screaming, the degrading comments, the physical violence, that was all normal to me, and I eventually came to believe that that was how all relationships were, how all marriages were meant to be.

The influence of their relationship on me extended well beyond my perception, and right into my reality. I accepted so much from my significant others because I believed that relationships didn't get any better, that they were what they were and would always be just that. I suffered through threats of violence, fear of trying to leave them behind, emotional manipulation, verbal abuse, and mental and physical control. I couldn't leave the house without first getting my outfit approved by him, if I hung out with any friends too long he’d be jealous and lash out, and if something he recalled from years ago annoyed him, he’d ghost me for months; if I tried to move on I was guilted into staying.

Eventually, I had a breakthrough and was able to end our relationship. Our last phone conversation was a terrible, terrifying one that I’ve never been able to forget. He was hurt and angry that I’d broken things off, and he was mad that I wouldn’t listen to how much he cared for me because he cared so much. He cared so much, he said, that when he got home he wanted to take me out. I’d always been talking about going downtown, wanting to go dancing but never making it out there, so he’d take me. He proposed this scenario: I’ll take you out dancing, downtown, and on our way back to the car, I’ll pull you into an alley and rape you, and after I’ve raped you, I’ll shoot you in the head, and then I’ll shoot myself…
That’s the condensed version.

Back then, my virginity was a prize to him. Back then, I was a thing and not a person. Back then, I didn’t know how to protect myself. Back then, I never said a thing about the terrible things that he said. Until now, I’ve only told a handful of people over a span of many years. Back then, I thought I had loved the guy, but the longer I had him out of my life, the more I realized I didn't really know what it was to receive love or even give it. It took a long time for me not to panic when I was in his vicinity; we ran in the same circles, lived in the same area, and shopped at the same stores. There was a brief time when I thought “Hey, we could be cordial”, but no, it was too hard and too much, and I had to learn to let go, to grow, to breath.

I fell hard and fast for my husband. We were young, 18 going on 19, but our ages didn't matter to me. I had never before had someone go so out of their way just to ensure I was happy. He was a gentleman; door opening, "ladies first", stand when you go to leave, escort a lady out, gentlemen. If I desired something, he worked his hardest to get it for me, and even if sometimes he failed, it was the effort that mattered. He worked every day to show me how much he cared. Sometimes it was a small gift of appreciation, and sometimes it was driving in early to my work and waiting hours for me to be off (what a distraction that could be). We called each other every day, and sometimes he just called for a quick hello, "just because I miss you". This was what I was missing; this is how someone loves you. They see you, with all your parts, the good and the bad, the solid and the broken, and they just let you be that.

I held onto that so hard, and so tight, and I never wanted it to end. But loving isn’t how movies or books make it seem. Loving is dirty and rough and messy; loving is strong and forgiving and hopeful. And loving changes and grows and moves with you in ways that you need it to even if sometimes it’s in ways you don’t want. So I don’t have the fairytale, but I do have a marriage. It has its upsides and its downsides, it has its good times and its bad times, and through the years I’ve learned to love my husband in the way that he’s needed, but the learning never stops. Love is ever changing.

Being in love, being in a partnership is not a "at first sight, happily ever after"; being in love means giving your entire self to someone, and taking their entire self, and both of you saying, "I accept this, I accept you". Sometimes it means sacrificing the little things, like where you go for dinner, or who washes the dishes, and sometimes it’s bigger things, but it should never have to mean sacrificing all or part of yourself to make the relationship work.

Being in love with someone doesn't always mean forever. You both are supposed to learn, grow, and change, and that means that being in love might not last forever. That means that you can love, or be in love with more than one person throughout your lifetime because not everyone will grow with you, and some will outgrow you.

Does that answer the question?

Cover Image Credit: Lindsay King

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.

It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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We're All Thinking It, I'm Saying It: Too Many People Are Running For President

I'm all for options, but man, do we really need 24? I mean, I can barely pick a flavor of ice cream at Baskin Robbins let alone a potential President.


There are, currently, 23 Democrats running for President. On the Republican side, there's, of course, Trump, but only one other candidate, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. Democrats have a whole range of people running, from senators to congressmen, a former vice-president, and even a spiritual advisor. We can now say that there are DOZENS of people running for President in 2020.

Joe Biden has been leading the pack for quite some time now. He was even leading polls before he announced his campaign. Although he is the frontrunner, there really is no big favorite to win the nomination. Biden has been hovering around the mid-30s in most polls, with Bernie Sanders coming in second. Other minor candidates in the hunt are Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris.

After the surprising defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016, Democrats have become electrified and have a mission to take back the White House after winning back the House of Representatives in 2018. There are so many people running in 2020, it seems that it will be hard to focus on who is saying what and why someone believes in something, but in the end, there can only be one candidate. This is the most diverse group of candidates ever, several women are running, people of color, the first out gay candidate, and several more.

There could be a problem when it comes to debate time. I mean, the first debate is next month. Having around 20-plus people on stage at the same time, debating each other kinda sounds like a nightmare. How can someone get their point across in the right amount of time when someone else is going to cut them off? Debates are usually around an hour and a half. So, if you divide it up, each candidate would get just under five minutes to speak. That would be in a perfect world of course.

Democrats seriously believe that they can beat Trump in 2020. They say they have learned from the mistakes of 2016, and have the guts and the momentum to storm back into the White House. By July of next year, there will be only one candidate left. Will they be able to reconcile the divide during the primaries? We will see. It will surely be a fun election cycle, so make sure to have your popcorn ready and your ballot at hand to pick your favorite candidate, no matter what party you lean towards.

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