Tiny Spark Series: Of Fairy Tales & Plot Changes

 The Usual Bliss is, well, blissful. It’s a happy corner of the blog world, a testiment to positivity, good food, good friends, a good life. Amber is an adventurous foodie, a traveler, a superior dog mama, and- as is clear from her gorgeous posts about her recent, gorgeous wedding– one hell of a party planner. From my lapton screen, the cubed view of her life makes me think of words like charmed and brilliant and beautiful.
    It was her post “Tell me a story.” that shook my perception of a “lucky” existence. It seems her happiness is not the result of a perfectly untouched fairy tale but rather a defiant display of spirit despite a hand harshly dealt. For today’s Tiny Spark, Amber continues to share her tale of a hard fall from a happy ending, coping with life’s unexpected plot twists, and shining, messy as the story can get.
Do you believe in fairy tales? What does “happily ever after” even mean?
    I was raised on Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel. In addition, I grew up with a strong, loving, present father.  I believed that my own “happily ever after” would include a prince, naturally. He might not look just like Prince Charming. But he would make all my dreams come true- dreams that included becoming a wife and- the icing on my Life Cakea mother.
   The idea that a Prince Charming is the ticket to a “happily ever after” is dangerous thinking. And it starts in preschool. How many of you mothers of young girls went through a serious princess phase? How many of you younger ladies still hope and dream for your prince?
Recently, I wrote about my own “fairy tale” on The Usual Bliss. It starts out with “Once upon a time…” and the story flowed along wonderfully, for a while. I believed love could conquer all. Naïve? Maybe. Hopeful? Absolutely.
One fateful night, fueled by alcohol and insecurity, my husband lost control of himself. In the days and weeks and months to come, I was sure that my fairy tale had ended. There’s no place for a black eye or broken ribs in anyone’s happily ever after. I’d missed my chance at my dreams. I envisioned the babies I longed to have and realized that they deserved more than this. And I left my fairy tale behind.
It was the hardest thing I had ever done.
   A key point of my story that I left out of the blog post is hard for me to verbalize, even now: If I hadn’t run to my friends’ home- and been seenI don’t know if I would have left. I can pretty easily imagine a scenario where friends weren’t involved, where I called in sick to work while I healed and avoided phone calls. A scenario where I pretended to listen to the apologies and even put the “I’m sorry” flowers in a vase. A scenario where I stashed the whole horrible event into a box  and hid it on a very high shelf, never to be opened again. But because others were involved, I became accountable to make smarter decisions. They knew what had happened. And that made it more real.
    A dear friend basically forced me to call a therapist that first week. Thus began my weekly journey to find the MYSELF that I had abandoned. I spent an hour with my Fairy Godmother therapist every week for two years. Some sessions were filled with tears, some with anger, most with doubt. I dreaded the visits at the beginning and needed them toward the end. When someone has been in a cycle of abuse, whether it is emotional or physical, his/her self-worth is on the floor. Worse- it’s in the basement, cold and covered in spiderwebs. It takes work to dust it off, bring it out into the sun, and let it shine again. I credit my time with Dr. King as the main reason I was able to begin to live again. And not just live- fall in love, too.
via The Usual Bliss
via The Usual Bliss
As I wrote in my post, I realize now that my fairy tale wasn’t over. It was just far more complicated than I had ever dreamed. Life is messy. It’s how we react to the messy times that matters. 
I’m recently married to a loving, wonderful man. He’s not a prince- but he sure does love me. I’ve got a new chapter of my life to work on. I’m still hoping for those babies to fill up my life with even more joy. It was the thought of those daydreamed children that put one foot in front of another and walked me out of my abusive life. Someday, I hope to tell them the story of a very brave girl who did the hardest thing- because it was the right thing.

I have no idea how my fairy tale will end.
But it’s an incredible story so far.
How does someone else seeing your struggle change the way you react/ respond to it?
Upcoming Tiny Spark:
Monday, January 14th

29 thoughts on “Tiny Spark Series: Of Fairy Tales & Plot Changes

  1. It usually does take people who care about you to push you into some sort of action when you’re in that kind of pit. I think this is why we’re not meant to go through life without friends and/or family.

  2. There’s something cathartic about communicating it, and knowing in so doing we’re not alone as we feel in many hard circumstances.

    I never wanted a husband, kids, or true love growing up, but I kept hoping to be whisked off on a white horse when I was in law school. It seemed so much easier than finding my own way, you know? I am so glad I finally did find it. Glad, too, for your finding your new dream!

  3. “because others were involved, I became accountable to make smarter decisions. They knew what had happened. And that made it more real” a friend of mine confided in me recently and now I think she’s sorry she said anything. I am going to quote this line to her, it certainly is powerful.

  4. How many stay in abusive situations because we’re not “that kind of woman” so it couldn’t possibly be happening to us? Thank you for sharing, Amber, and congratulations!

  5. This is a powerful post and important reminder that we can create our own fairytales, but sometimes we need a little help from friends. I’m so glad you were “seen” Amber and that you took that support to make the changes. You are your own Prince(ss) Charming.

  6. I think some things in life don’t become or seem real until they are observed. It’s possibly the same in abusive relationships–until someone else sees what’s happening, there’s always a justification or a way to bury reality.

    Powerful words.

  7. An astonishing post. I am so incredibly impressed by your pure candid honesty. And you are brave for sharing your story.

  8. Great post! I’m coming out of a 27 year odyssey, myself. I feel like I’ve been crawling through the desert, parched and broken for the entire length of my marriage. I wasted such a huge chunk of my life believing that I could love someone back to wellness – wrong. Lesson learned. Now I feel like I’m free falling.
    Your last question is a good one. It seems that everyone has their perspective that they share freely and it does tend to creep into my own self-care. I just want to be free at this point, free to do my own thing without eyes on me or judgement.

  9. For those of us who of been down the rabbit hole and made it out the other side, all I can say is thank you for sharing your words here. I know firsthand that life can be messy, and like you I am trying to embrace the chaos. It isn’t always easy. Thank you for sharing your story today. And I hope you find love and a softer place to land the next time.

  10. You are my hero. I adored you when I first met you – cooking “balls” – and even more now. Thank you for your honesty and courage. Thank you for showing me what a real woman of courage and grace looks like. 🙂 You are amazing!

  11. I’ve said it before, and you have just proven it here. Character is not defined by how we react when everything follows the fairy tail script, but rather by how we face the hidden horror stories. You are definitely a shining example of a strength 😀

  12. I enjoyed reading your post. I am glad you found the courage to get out of an unhealthy relationship. Your wedding picture is stunning. Congratuations!

    We have a bit of topic synchronicity going on in the blogosphere this week.

  13. You have said this so wonderfully, thank you. For those of us who have been there and climbed out, thank you for showing it can be done. My climb out was not easy either, but you have shown a light upon one of the vital keys of our survival.

    Friends, family, loved ones.

  14. Amazing that you could sum up so much in such a little, powerful post. Congratulations to you for finding everything that mattered within yourself.

    To answer your question: other people knowing is what makes all the difference, I think. It’s what changes the voice within us from one we can ignore to one that can’t be tamed. It forces us to confront the reality when we have romanticized it – be it with the Princess hopes or otherwise. It is in others that we find our own sanity. I have found that to be true in more life situations than I can name here.

  15. Tori–it’s not always easy reliving those memories, but I believe it’s healing and necessary for others to read. You were/are courageous . . . And now you are at the beginning of another fairy tale!

  16. Wow, what a journey. I completely agree that we are made stronger through our challenges. It’s those moments that can define us, even if they’re horrible when we’re going through them. Here’s to having the courage to making it through the messy parts, and to having the support group to help us make it through.

  17. It’s a similar story with me. I could’ve crawled back to my parents when my health crashed, and let them financially bail me out, but it would’ve cost me too much on the inside. It hasn’t always been a GREAT trip, but it has been one heckuva ride, and definitely more interesting (good AND bad) than I could have ever pictured.
    Congrats on having the strength to work through the mess. THAT is where the fairy tale ending comes from!

Ramble on, little rambler...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s