Parfaite Paris; the fairytale.

"Hope is to the soul, what oxygen is to the body."

Today was one of those rare days that was so truly perfect I am swooning with an effortless bliss. This most wonderful and my most favourite feeling in the world, that only comes about on those days when reality truly seems to fade away, and magic, romance and story-telling takes over.

It is true that Paris is romantic, but in living here, it is often too difficult or tiresome to peer through the grime and monotony of the day to day to remember this. It has been raining hard in Paris for two days now, the streets are being washed clean, the residents are hiding in their homes or have left the city for summer vacation leaving an air of peacefulness behind, and I have two weeks of absolutely nothing stretched out in front of me, to simply enjoy with no obligation or other consideration. So today, I awoke early to finish an essay  I had spent most of yesterday slugging through, then made a pot of Moroccan style stew whilst listening to favourite episodes of ‘Friends’. Apres, I wrapped up in my favourite ripped jeans, old battered leather jacket, my vintage black shawl and well loved biker boots and braved the rain. Now, I am one of those strange anomalies, who perhaps comes from being Scottish or perhaps from just being me, who finds great romance in rainy days. And today the rain was perfectly amorous.

It was intense and faultlessly vertical, so I could walk along the cobbled streets, cocooned under my umbrella, quite dry, with barely a person to sidestep along my way. I walked to a corner cafe by the canal and ordered a cafe crème, sitting outside under a heated lamp, buddled up as a sheet of rain spilling from the overhead canopy provided a safe shield between myself and the outside world, which allowed my imagination to run wild as I jotted story ideas down on a napkin. I then walked carefully along the canal, and passing the cinema decided to go in and watch the new and final Harry Potter film. So with my popcorn and just a few others who had also decided to brave the day, I sat happy in the theatre immersed in a story, in a relationship with characters I have known now for what must be ten years. All the while thinking how wonderful it must be to write fables for a living, to act them out, to be able to get lost in other realities and stories day to day. 
After I walked slowly home, passed a Monceau Fleurs and bought myself a small bunch of white roses that were on sale, then went to a few of my local stores to buy a bottle of wine, some cheese and a baguette for dinner,  and to enjoy while I delve into T.E Carhart’s ‘The Piano Shop on the Left Bank.’  Having a piano at home to play for an hour is all that could have made this day more supreme.

It was a perfect date. Just me and my city, spending time together before I depart. It was a day in Paris that I always dreamed of, the kind of day you see in movies and read about in great stories, and a day that as I said, materialises only too rarely, and mostly, when you least expect it to.
Now I realise that this will be far FAR from most people’s idea of a perfect day alone, however, most people don’t love stories or get lost in them as deeply or frequently as I do.
Paris is the ultimate place in which to act out or dream in fairy tales. Go to the Royal Jardin de Tuilieries for example, and be in a glamourous setting open to the public only because of the requests (after the King moved out to Versailles) of Charles Perrault, without whom we would not know of Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty or The Tales of Mother Goose. He fought to have the gardens opened it is said, because he believed in making life beautiful for people. And despite his slightly darker themed fairy tales, he certainly accomplished that...

My first foray into the world of imagination began with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at a tender and impressionable age, and I have been hooked ever since. Always feeling perhaps a little underwhelmed by life in its reality, or tiresome of it struggles, when in stories at least, the troubles are conquered by faith, strength of character and/or love. It is also true that perhaps my great love for stories threatens my sense of belonging in the actual world... a world I never feel I quite fit into anyway (despite my great capability to live and love and travel within it), and even less so after all those years of illness and being bound to my bed with nothing but stories to keep me company. Stories which gave me strength and goals to strive for.
I will freely admit, naive as it may seem, that I believe in fairy tales. I do believe in great adventure, and love and faith conquering all. I believe in Prince Charming’s, and the good behind evil, and happy endings at the close of troublesome beginnings. And is it so terrible to believe? Fairy Tales are recognized all over the world, by way of discourse or artistic tributes (The Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Ballet, the Fairy Tale garden in the grounds of the Chateau de Breteuil, Echo and Narcissus in the Jardin de Tuileries and The Little Mermaid in Copenhagan harbour). Fairy Tales are not just for children. They begin that way, until some of us realize one day just how deeply they have shaped our lives, will and character. Fairy Tales are not just the joyous rights of children, they become a part of our heritage, and our beings.

There is place for Fairy Tales, Myths and Stories in Education that has great value. They not only bring joy, but they teach without preaching, they bring about knowledge about mental health, moral virtues, and love with a degree of freedom that allows for ones autonomy of thinking additionally. They can allow for the power of accurate observation, practice of experiences before they happen and visualization. Allow for social play and power of reflection. They can also strengthen emotion, and intensify ones social relations or ideas about life.
They teach us about wonder and mystery and magic in the abstract, surprises, true beauty, success, moral fortitude, adventure, justice, and the necessity to fight against those who harm us and our world. Through associative imagination we learn about kinship, and penetrative imagination we can develop insight and intuition.

Although these stories do also have a down side. We tend perhaps to perpetuate unhealthy gender related stereotypes about Prince Charmings and evil Stepmothers well into adulthood because of these intial introductions... and that admittedly, is perhaps a conditioned unconscious pathway we should aim to become more conscious of, for happiness's sake.

I contemplate often whether the original The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson versions of fairy tales, along with often folklore, myth and fable with their often gruesome and death laden plot lines, are better, more realistic, than the more stereotypical and sugar coated versions we have watered them down to be today. But in the end I say let the Little Mermaind live and lets not hear of the Queen eating Snow White's lungs for dinner.
Let's choose moral victory and happy endings! To understand that sometimes the bad guys win, all one has to do is look outside their front doors after all...

And this brings me to another issue with fables, folk tales, fairy tales and so on - the problem that they arrive to us more often than not in a complete unit. Furiously moulded to perfection by a writer. And I myself know, as only wise to the world as I am and could only be in my mid-twenties, that life experiences so rarely arrive to us that way. And therefore, we will more than likely be disappointed. I know I am. I fight through tough times believing in that perfect ending only now realizing that sometimes, love, faith and moral fortitude does not conquer all. That there are very rarely neat endings to experiences, good, bad or indifferent, and the new chapters in our lives often begin when we least expect it. I know this, but I keep living with the same, ‘magical’ type thinking.

So is happily ever after really possible?

So far, I have only ever felt true absolute joy when lost in a story. The events of the past decade have left me a little disillusioned and cynical, so for me to say this, I promise means something significant...

Yes. I believe happily ever after is possible. If we simply look in the right places. And finding these places, takes time and learning.

So often we think we have found Mr Right, or Miss Right Situation (whether it be family, job etc), who is or which is really Mr Abusive, or Miss Unhappy or even Dangerous situation, believing that if we just stick it out, if we just try hard enough or wait and see what happens all the while chanting ‘I believe in fairies’ Tinkerbell will come along and sprinkle her fairy dust and make everything shiny and perfect and then we will live happily ever after. WRONG. The trick is in knowing when we are not living the story we want to live, and therefore climbing out of that one, typing the new lesson learned into the appropriate place on the page, and to begin writing a new one with all the imagination you can possibly muster.
Your fairy tale is written by YOU. The good, the bad and all that sugar and gruesomeness in between will make up the story of your life.

Today was my romance, a day for dreaming and in such energetically sending my intentions out into the great abyss so that wherever I go, my intentions are known. And with my guardian angels aiding my along the way, my desires may creep upon me in the most unexpected of moments in dramatic flair... like MAGIC.

But I do live in the real world, I have to deal with it every day, so to keep my cynicism at bay, and to be true to the deepest parts of my spirit and in such feel as much joy as possible, I will dream of and strive to write stories for a living, grow strong and brave on days like today and believe in and dream of many more to come. I will be prepared the fight the dragons and demons, form covens with my female witches for support, keep an eye out Mr Dangerous so that Prince Charming will find me most surprisingly, in the only way true love must find a soul, and share in the stories and company of children and their unblemished and pure ability for joy. If you can believe it, you can achieve it. Reject others reality and substitute it for your own. What else can we really do in order to have a fully possible life, but imagine?

Do you believe in fairies?


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