Ever remember being completely engrossed in the likes of a Disney Princess movie as a little girl? Your imagination would for days after run wild with romantic plot lines of Princes, chariots, evil step-mothers and magic carpet rides... All surrounding the most important character... The Princess... You, of course.
Suddenly you're 17, and instead of riding into the sunset with your knight in shinning armour, you're riding on the crimson-soaked hormonal wave, holding on for dear life. And instead of having an entourage of cute, helpful and loving mice to sing away your blues and make you a gown for the ball, you're struggling to feel comfortable in your clothes as your body changes and you realise no trend or 'in-colour' looks good against a red, pimple-raided backdrop. Suddenly you figure that life couldn't be more different than the fairytale you starred in as a young impressionable soul.
Where was the prince? Where was the perfect princess? You certainly didn't fit the bill of perfection. Why isn't life full of constant song, dance and romance?
Another 10 years down the track and here I am, married with an almost 1 year old daughter... I am standing on the edge of a paradigm that I was once engraved in, now hoping to pave a different path for my daughter, all the while still trying to undo the thought-patterns dreamt up through the filters of fairytales, for the sake of my marriage.
The reality is, life is far greater than the fairytale. But we miss that, because we are looking for the fairytale. And so we blindly let the genuine love that could be found in our world, slip through our fingers; The size of the ring you propose with is definitely a direct relation to how much you love me; The flowers you buy and the amount of dates you take me on every month is a sure sign as to how you feel about me; The bottomless pit inside me can never be satisfied by your actions, because you always fall short of the expectation. Sounds all too familiar!
The lies that circled my head in the first few years of my marriage caused some serious damage in our relationship (and can I just say it was a little more complex than just misplaced expectation that reflected fairytales. I will be covering some other factors in my next few posts). My husband still struggles to feel good enough for me, all because I was living out of my own insecure notion of not measuring up. Because I didn't turn out to be anywhere near the likes of perfection, I was desperately searching for affirmation through the way he loved me. I felt so embarrassed when I realised what I was doing; constantly measuring my husband's love for me up against unrealistic blueprints in my head! Reality hit me like a tonne of bricks.
I soon made the decision to live out my marriage through intention rather than expectation. It is still a work in progress, but I can see the damage slowly reversing. I can see a new-found freedom in just letting each other be enough, and it is all that I desire. I want a lifetime of genuine love rather than a ring on my finger that looks the size of a golfball. I simply want him, his faults and all. Because I have realised, the more we look for perfection the more we miss the real beauty hidden in the mess of life.
So in making this commitment to change expectations into good intentions, I am not only restoring my marriage, but I am setting up a legacy for my daughter and future kids. I commit to breaking the cycle of disappointment and replacing it with truth, love and hope.
This performance of spoken word poetry by Sarah Kay at TedX 2011, has been such a great source of inspiration for me on this journey:
My next blog post will be on how we can change our language and demeanour towards our daughters to help cultivate positive affirmation that lasts a lifetime rather than setting them up for disappointment. Stay tuned!
Love Heids Xx