• Daniela Renn

Mirror Mirror on the Wall...How Fairy Tales Reflect Reality

Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash

Growing up, I’ve always been fascinated with fairy tales and magical stories. This has stuck with me into my adulthood and I can oftentimes be found reading or watching movies in that genre. I’m in awe by how much you can learn from simply watching a Pixar movie, a Disney flick or a TV series geared towards kids. I discovered that underneath these stories is usually an amazing reflection of how the real world is set up.

One of my favorite shows is “Once Upon a Time", a series where fairy tale characters were transported to a real-world town and robbed of their memories by a powerful dark curse. They have no idea who they are or what happened to them and their families. Everybody just lives their individual life according to who the curse turned them into. What an interesting concept to see these characters in the real world under the curse and then in the alternate universe as their true selves/fairy tale personas with their families, friends and of course their enemies.

One would chalk this up as an entertaining storyline and move on with their day but to me this was so much more than that. I found it deeply relatable to the world we live in.

Hear me out on this one…..

I never saw fairy tales as an escape or a cop-out... On the contrary, speaking for myself, it is the way to understand reality.

~Lloyd Alexander~

The Powerful Dark Curse

Aren’t we all under this so-called “dark curse” of not being able to see who we are, what we are meant to be and the people that love and support us? We are indoctrinated by other people’s truth, the news, our culture, religion and all the misinformation about any subject that is swirling around in the great ethernet. Inhibiting us from waking up, from truly seeing who we are and how it all fits together. The Evil Queen is always lurking in the corner making sure we don’t see the truth and even when we wake up from the curse, we still feel lonely and isolated because all the others are still asleep.

Spells, Potions and Poison

I don’t think it is much of a secret when I tell you that our emotions can be spells that we find ourselves under. Love is definitely the first one that comes to mind. The intense feelings that overcome us when we are attracted to someone. It’s almost as if the honeymoon phase of a relationship takes on this quality of being under a spell. Our thoughts are taking over, we wish to be with the other person constantly and life takes on an extra layer of magic.

Potions are another one that can alter who we are. Alcohol and coffee are on the top 10 list of something that alters our persona and brings out another version of ourselves. We also willingly drink both of them because we love their immediate effects. Feeling energized and awake with coffee and getting our liquid courage on with alcohol which also lets us conveniently forget our current emotional state for a while.

Lastly, this leaves us with the famous red apple from Snow White. Poison! Yes, this is all around us. In our processed foods, medications, skin care products, packaging to name a few. We are surrounded by poison that we are oftentimes not even aware of and these multiple industries definitely want to keep it this way. AND yes, sadly we all can die from it!!

Being Possessed

To a certain level, even the most authentic and carefree person has to repress part of who they are to fit into this world. There are so many unspoken rules that have become the norm that we oftentimes aren’t able to express fully what we feel. Especially not in public.

We are left with all these unexpressed emotions that have nowhere to go. They are stuck in our bodies and minds, taking slowly over. Anger, sadness, depression and obsession are great examples of feelings that overtake who we are and turn us into a darker version of ourselves. Most of the time we can only see this in hindsight.

The Villain was not Born Evil

One of the main reasons I found “Once Upon a Time” so fascinating is because of how the creators of the show were able to portray these multi-facade characters. The Evil Queen for example was not always evil. She certainly wasn’t born evil. Circumstances made her this way and at one point in the show (spoiler alert) she was even able to shed herself from her persona of the villain and became one of the heroes. The backstory, interactions with other characters and certain circumstances brought out the evil in her. In the end, the viewer is able to see all of this unfold and even sympathize with her evolution.

Aren’t we all judgmental at times? To see what we want to see because it fits our storyline. Rarely are people as straightforward as we perceive them to be. Humans are layered, multi-dimensional and just trying to find their own way to be part of this crazy world.

Courage, Optimism and Hope

The beauty of all fairy tales is how we are always left with this sense of hope that all will work out. The heroin may be battered, worn out and has gone through trying times, but with courage and a strong belief in the quest she will be guided home safely. We all are the hero/heroin of our own story on this quest of our storyline. Let’s lead with courage, optimism and hope. Let's be kind to whoever crosses our path because we never know how they fit into our journey.

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