You always wrapped yourself up in fairy tales, in stories of extravagant and vibrant love. It was the hope you fell in love with. In your dreamland, you pranced in between lines of heartbreak, anticipating the day your prince will wake you from your eternal slumber and take you away to never-land. That maybe he’ll pass like the wind, and patch up your heartbreaks, and claim them as his own.
At first you thought that it could’ve been the boy in eighth grade who would look at you a little more graciously than others. Or maybe the boy you’d catch a bus with and the way you seemed to feel a little more understood in this world of feeling misunderstood. But the boy in the eighth grade looked at you smiling, as he ran the field chasing the new girl, and the boy on the bus, confided in you about love growing in his heart again, protesting that he found something worthwhile, just not in you.
You still remember it now. The tears shed at the corner of your bed, and your sole dependence on these tales thinking that singing to the stars would hopefully find its way to someone, alleviate the heaviness on your heart. Thinking that it would help the fact that your dad left you once.
That someone or something would save you.
The dare to believe was ingrained within you. It burned within you. If Prince Charming was real, he has to be out there, he has to save you from this unfairness. When would he come? He needed to come.
However, you slowly began to resent love. All of the flowers that grew in your heart, began to fall asleep, the last of the few sitting in a corner, losing trace of life. Only one stands now, its colour however, slowly diminishing. Your castle began to wither, your doors left wide open for darkness to enter; and for every broken piece of your heart that remained piled on old shelves, you hung it up like a million chandeliers as you danced in your castle, your windows covered in long thick vines. You slowly started to become one with your home, the creeping plants wrapping itself around your feet, softly but unknowingly. It was beautiful there. You could scream and hear the echoes of the words a thousand times, when you would try and justify why you never succeeded at love. You wrote songs, in hopes to soften the pain inflicted by each heartbreak, and like a choir, sung your anthems into the night. You fell in love with your pain, locking yourself away in your perfect utopia, vowing to never open your heart to any boy ever again.
And just like that, you locked yourself in a safe prison, far away from the boys who masked themselves as knights declaring to save you.
Every now and then, you’d pull back the moss covering the window panes, you once waited so patiently on, wondering if there was hope beyond the horizon. But, you soon became familiar with the way the branches that travelled throughout the castle, pulled you out of the light, coveting you, convincing you that it’s much safer here, in the arms of yourself.
So, right when you thought you were going to disappear, when the storm began to make its way to your kingdom and you decided to close your gates, vines beginning to envelop you entirely,
he saw you…
dancing with all that you ever knew, yourself.
You knew somewhere deep, when you caught sight of him, that this was too good to be true. That he couldn’t have been this god sent angel here to mend your broken bones, take you away from your despair, for you vowed to never place yourself in the sight of love ever again. You ran for the gates anyway, intrigued. Had love finally visited your doorstep? But eventually, leaves began to entrap your feet. What if he’ll hurt you like the others? What if he burns the last remaining flower you have left?
Promising to never hurt you the way the ones before did, you stayed inside, succumbing to the comfort of your old friends. You convinced yourself that fairy tales are for the reckless, choosing to dance alone in your palace, once again. You choose to let love sit idle, grow stale in an old jar, never allowing yourself to be swept. You let him marvel at your soul. After all, you’d rather dance all alone, then ever dance with someone, only to realise that that’s all your cold heart has truly ever wanted.
There he stands outside your walls. Isn’t this what you wanted, didn’t you want to be loved? He’s here, but why can’t you let him in?
As you meet yourself in this castle, one where your pain is covered in shiny trinkets and get quick denial schemes, you realise that this isn’t beautiful but lonely. That this is a liars kingdom, and that even though all you have ever wanted has arrived, you can’t face it.
It’s because you realise now what it truly means to love. That these walls are you, and that even the bravest of Prince Charming can never save you from yourself, tell the voices in your head to go away.
So as you hear the screams of yourself wallow through the walls of your castle, pleading to remain unchanged, and promising to keep you safe and warm, you decide to tear down the vines and open your windows. You dance one last time, but now with a desolate knowingness, that no longer are you the girl who vowed to never love again. No longer will you plea for a justice system to punish the ones who hurt you, that changed you. You begin to tear down the chandeliers you’ve worked so hard to display, to make seem more beautiful than they actually were. As they all shatter before you, you are visited with a newfound gratitude that as disoriented as you are, you are not made to be pieced back together, but to be embraced in all of your brokenness.
As you watch him travel through this palace, making his way to the somewhat lifeless flower that sits in a jar, you feel the sun rays visit your face, and for once you’re comforted by its warmth. At first, you’re scared that he holds the only thing in this castle redeemable, alive. But, as you begin to stare into this abyss known as his eyes, you feel the branches that have kept you secluded, begin to untangle, and like a string of lights fluttering, you ignite. It’s not because he has come to save you, promise to never break your heart, but because years of locking your heart, in a corner, deprived of love, didn’t save you from pain, from the treachery of a broken heart.
Love is a tricky thing. It’s a double edged sword. It’s your greatest blessing, providing you with all that you’d ever need, but if bargained with, will become your biggest curse, one that leaves you withering in a faraway castle.
So for the girl who cried the whole way home, who wished so desperately to be seen, I’m sorry you got hurt… I’m sorry, that you were left to feel pain. But, please don’t be afraid of love. Don’t romanticise your heart break, or pledge to lock the last remaining strand of love away, so that no one would do what they did to you, long ago. Don’t create a prison masquerading as your home, or dance with the voices that encourage you to never open yourself up again.
For if you don’t dare to love despite falling, and falling brutally by this wondrous Prince Charming perhaps; the regret you’ll feel will be torturous more than the pain caused by living love.
So to the boy down the street, thank you for visiting me in a far off daydream, for being this enchanting figure to me, and helping me realise that no amount of wishing will take away the pain caused by the ones in your past. But even more, that no amount of locking yourself away, will save you from pain you’ll possibly face.
It is because of you, I’m slowly beginning to feel what it truly means to love.