This article was originally written by Lush Ericson for “Once Upon a Time: Cordelia.”
Once upon a time, a pair of brothers came up with a compilation of tales. The brothers are Jacob and Wilheim Grimm and their tales have been passed on from generation to generation, possibly with different intentions.
There are several articles on the Internet saying that fairy tales are actually gruesome and sometimes meant to scare off children.
However, the versions we have watched on Disney adaptations made us believe that someday, somewhere, we would meet a guy with blue eyes, a nice smile and a rich family. This prince would solve our problems—would take us away from scheming stepsisters, creepy witches, and big bad wolves.
In real life, though, this is not the case.
1. In RAPUNZEL, we were not told that mental illness happens because of isolation. Isolation has an impact on mental health. Some studies have found that there’s a 50% increase in the risk of death because of social isolation. There is a correlation between isolation and certain diseases of the heart, also with decreased mental capacity, and depression.
2. In CINDERELLA, we were not made to realize that abuse has devastating effects on people physically, psychologically, and behaviorally. There are studies showing that victims of abuse would develop anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and social withdrawal. Cinderella was probably experiencing some of those, but fairy tales glossed them over and gave her a nice fairy godmother. In reality, there are no fairy godmothers and mental health problems could not be cured by a magic wand.
3. ALMOST all of the fairy tales made us believe that love is a solution. A prince would fall in love with us the first time he laid eyes on us, a kiss could awaken us from a hundred years of sleep, true love could make us beautiful. But in reality, love is difficult to find.
Love is a decision and it is not always the right one. Love can hurt us and break us in ways we have never been hurt and broken. Love fills our vocabulary with words that express anguish and delight at the same time.
Fairy tales always told us that love is simple.
A poor girl would meet a handsome prince and they would live happily ever after.
But in the real world, the girl could fall in love with a princess.
A prince might not be as perfect as he seemed.
A fairy godmother could be powerless over emotional pain.
Ordinary people could be victims of rape and abuse.
Love could be cruel.
Fairy tales never told us that. Or maybe, fairy tales did but there were sequins in our eyes that we only chose to see what we want to see.
Once Upon A Time: Cordelia—is the first book of the Once Upon A Time trilogy. It highlights everything ugly and vile about fairy tales. It will change your perception about love and life. And it will make you realize that “happily ever afters” don’t happen. But “happiness one day at a time” could.
What was your favorite moment in “Once Upon a Time: Cordelia?” Let us know in the comments below!