Of all the Disney princesses, I think I can most identify with Sleeping Beauty. I happen to be a champion sleeper as well – at least during the day. Night is another thing altogether. I’m also fairly certain that were I to touch a spindle and try to make wool, I’d definitely prick myself and possibly fall over dead (or pretend to) because I’m not much into spinning. It sounds like way too much work.
I think there’s a little more to this story than the spindle and narcolepsy, though. I’ve come to see it as a reflection of depression in creative people. Yeah, okay, bear with me and I’ll explain. You remember when Aurora (that’s Sleeping Beauty’s name btw) is a baby and those fairies came to bestow gifts upon her? There was the bossy one with the stick up her hiney, the flighty stupid one, and the chubby feisty one. And then there was the one who wasn’t invited to the party.
You know, you’d think when the king and queen were making out invitations, they’d have considered that. Like, hmm, I’ll invite Lord Frances and Maid Mildred and uh oh hmm what about the psycho fairy with all that evil power and the bad temper? Nooo, I don’t want her around. Maybe she won’t notice if we leave her off the guest list. She’s always been so REASONABLE before.
People in fairy tales are stupid. But nevermind that. Back to the gift giving ceremony. See these fairies come to give gifts to the princess, stuff like beauty and singing ability, so that if the princess thing doesn’t work out, she can still make a killing on American Idol. I’m not sure if without these gifts the princess would be ugly and tone deaf, or if they just perform enhancements, like extreme princess makeovers.
Anyway, I believe most of us are given gifts at birth. Maybe they’re not readily apparent gifts, but everyone has something they’re good at. Even evil people are pretty good at being evil. You have to give those dictators props on that one.
I know I was given gifts at birth. And I can imagine it going something like this.
First fairy comes up and swings her wand and says “I give Alice the gift of artsy fartsy! She will be able to draw well and impress everyone but art judges!” Then the second fairy steps up and whaps me with the wand and says “I give Alice the gift of writing which she can use to get two useless degrees and a blog!” And then the third fairy steps up, all prepared to give me something like the gift of total hotness, and that’s when the evil fairy my parents didn’t invite shows up. Way to go, Mom and Dad.
Evil fairy appears in a ball of fire (she likes to make an entrance) and cackles “I curse Alice with depression, so that no matter how good she is at art and writing, she will only be able to do it about half the time and she will mostly just want to sit around and whine!” It goes without saying that I really, really hate this fairy, and I do wish she’d quit visiting so many people.
But lo, there was one fairy left, right, the one who was going to give me something useful like being a total hottie, and she says “Well, you’ll still have depression, but I’ll give you these drugs that will sort of work part of the time. And I’ll give you a counselor. And I’ll give you family and friends. And I’ll even give you – a blog! Ta-da!”
Yeah, thanks a freaking lot, good fairy. I mean, yes, I guess it’s something. The fairy offered hope, and without that, none of the other gifts matter one bit. But still – I wonder why do people get this stuff? I know there is a genetic component but – why? Only pure evil would bestow such a gift on any child. For you can get through anything, even the worst diseases, the greatest tragedies, with hope. But depression seeks to rob you of that hope, for the evil fairy is more powerful than that good fairy. Which is why you must rely on those gifts, however weak they may seem.
We all have gifts, be it art, or music, or writing, or even just meaning something to somebody else. And we have to try to use those gifts, even when that evil fairy is staring down at us in dragon form, prepared to blow us away. The most important gift of all comes from the third fairy – the chubby, snarky fairy who did her best to counteract the curse. Use that fairy’s gifts – use your friends, drugs, counseling, whatever the heck works for you in order to stay awake. Do not be like Sleeping Beauty. Do not let the evil put you to sleep. There is no prince in this story.
No Prince – but the meaning loud and clear. You have artsy fartsy and use it so well. These posts let me smile from beginning to end – Way to go Alice Person Yo!
Thanks. I do love artsy fartsy. Even if it doesn’t pay well in dollars, it can be entertaining. More so when you have people who say they appreciate it!
Great post, well written (was a great gift after all). I have no idea if you know A Perfect Circle, but they’ve got this song ‘Sleeping Beauty’ on this topic as well: someone who is put down by the weight of the world, who can’t be woken up anymore. It is true that the evil fairy can make things difficult. But on the other hand, sometimes it gives great inspiration or it makes you enjoy the good times more.
It’s no excuse, but somehow it has to be possible to let her in for only a little while so you can get out again.
Something like that. I’m not even sure what I mean to say. Maybe I should just send you a bow to hunt down that evil bitch fairy.
Thank you. I haven’t heard that song. I’ll have to check it out. I get you. Having the fairy around gives you some empathy for others, if nothing else, and that is sorely lacking these days.
I would also like the bow, too. That fairy’s goin’ down.
I suffered from depression for years. I can’t say if the drugs cured it or not but they did give me the breathing room I needed to know that there was hope. I still sometimes feel the symptoms creeping back despite the fact that I haven’t had a bad episode in probably 10 years. It’s still something that scares me once in a while.
I think that’s common. Even when you’re feeling better you can feel the fairy breathing down your neck. Just have to stay one step ahead.
Wow, did I love this post. Screw you depression..I think my fairies gave me the gifts of flatulence, sarcasm, and awesome, with a dash of suicidal tendencies.
Those fairies are the BEST, huh? Pretty sure I got some of those gifts too – maybe they were consolation prizes.
Well, better than being blessed with the ability to be a fucking idiot. Tinkerbell annoys the shit out of me.
Oh yes, in those freaking Disney fairy movies, for sure. I rather liked how bitchy she was in the Peter Pan movie. YEAH, shoot down that Wendy bird! Back then she didn’t speak, so she made up for it in attitude.
I would flick her away like a gnat. Thinking she’s all the bomb shiznit.
That whole Peter Pan story is pretty messed up, when you think about it. Like, grow the frack up, Peter and quit hangin’ out with fairies and kids in raccoon costumes. Get a job. And Hook – quit chasing after little boys, that is so creeper.
Oh yeah. There comes a time in every boys life when they have to act like a man. I bet you anything Peter Pan is a virgin.
Hook scares me.
He has to be a virgin – before Wendy there was only Tinker Bell, and I think that’s physically impossible, though that little tramp would probably try it. Just to be safe, though, he’d better make sure he has some skin on that wiener next time they’re a cookout in Never Never Land.
I always knew Tinkerbell was a skanky hoe. Imagine a cook out in Never Never Land. Glitter on everything. No thanks.
All this time I never knew Sleeping Beauty’s name was Aurora. Hmm. I like that there are no princes in this story. Who needs them?
“They named her after the dawn, for she filled their lives with sunshine . . .” Yeah I might have watched that movie a few billion times as a kid. I still love the music, as they put the words to the song to the score from the original ballet.
As far as the prince, yeah, who needs ’em. I did like the prince in the Disney Sleeping Beauty, though. At least they made a stab at giving him an actual personality.
Go Alice! I loved the end.
My evil fairy gave me a ton of anxiety so that whenever I use my artsy fartsy gift, I can’t draw a straight line without panicking about it first. I like to think of it more as a superpower than an evil gift.
I get that. I also have a fear of using art supplies and paper. In art class in high school we had zip budget so you got ONE sheet of good paper so make it count. Also, I have art supplies but have let my paint go bad because it was so pretty in the case and I didn’t want to, you know, mess it up by using it. My kids just stare at me in disbelief, itching to get their grubby hands on it so they can leave the marker caps off and lose half of it.
Aren’t we lucky that evil fairies normally don’t wait politely for their turn to go last?
That’s for sure. I’ve often wondered what they were going to give the princess as a third gift. Beauty, song, maybe some knowledge in running a kingdom? Nahhhh . . . .
And by the way, I also wonder what would be the point of inviting the evil fairy. Assuming she shows up grateful for the invitation and ready to bestow a real gift – what kind of evil gift would you or Aurora would be happy to receive?
True. I guess it was kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
So then not inviting the evil fairy is actually a very reasonable choice. I don’t understand why the king or queen couldn’t just say that the invitation got lost in the mail (or, in fairytale speak, a herald got eaten by a dragon).
Yeah, I go through more heralds that way. I have a feeling maybe the fairy was looking for an excuse to get cheesed off. In the original, there were so many fairies it actually made sense that they might have forgotten her. Disney put it down to three because lazy animators.
I don’t believe in fairies. I just believe that I was gifted and cursed by genetics. I have good genes and bad genes and they’re often at odds with each other.
However, Alice, I hope you at least know that in those moments when hope seems gone and depression has it’s hold, that you can reach out to me and I’ll be there to do whatever I can to help you through it.
I do. You are one of my gifts, twindaddy.
And you are one of mine. Thank you for that.
Spinning wool into yarn is actually a very meditative process – the whir of the wheel and the steady rhythm of the treadle soothe many cares away. When I spin outside people often come over to see what I’m doing and fall under the spell of the wheel, standing in silence, entranced.
I can see that. For a while I used a knifty knitter – a plastic loom basically – and made a lot of hats. It is meditative and soothing, more so than knitting which I never could figure out how to do without stress.
My oh my I can relate to this! Jen
Too many can. Which gifts did you get?
Probably the best one was the ability to do be competent at so many things. However, I still don’t know where I fit in. Also the gift of kindness….that has so often been taken advantage of. The funniest one was the gift of beauty (not so much now) but that crazy little fairy forgot to add in a healthy dose of self esteem.
Ah, yes, good point there. I am not what I’d call a “hottie” but I have been called beautiful before. Naturally I did not believe this because – self esteem? What is that?
I do know that without kindness, the most beautiful of people look the ugliest.
Hmm…one fairy made me good at taking tests. Pretty sure the evil fairy made me look like a girl. And the good fairies left scrambled to make me socially oblivious so I mostly wouldn’t care.
Well, there’s that . . .
I loved this post Alice! It reasonates with me as I’m sure it does with many. I also need to focus on embracing my gifts as well as remaining balanced through my family, friends and loved ones.
Thanks. It’s a tough balancing act sometimes.
I can relate. I received so many gifts, depression, anxiety, crankiness. My entire life has been full of ways to cope with these things (swearing out loud helps sometimes)
Swearing out loud definitely helps. It also helps to type swears. Like this – fuckballs! I feel better already. And I think crankiness is a great gift and I plan on using it when I’m old and people feel too bad to get mad at me, cause I’m old.
Music is definitely one of my gifts, although I sometimes think it’s also a curse. It’s fine if I’m playing a piece and I can get lost in the music, takes my mind off whatever else is going on, but if I’m a bit down to start with and then I get it wrong (or more accurately, can’t get it right), well, it’s like sitting there in front of all the school bullies with no clothes on having for once failed to finish your homework, while all the bullies then pick you to pieces.
I would hope that one of the gifts I have is compassion/love which covers encouragement, but sometimes it can be so difficult to type something encouraging to someone else when I’m not feeling too good myself. Which is often why I’ll read a post, “like” it, and then go back and comment later. (Sometimes it’s just a lack of time to comment.)
Damn those fairies. Can we find the evil one and wring her neck?
Yes, please! I totally understand the gift being a curse. I think it’s that way with my writing. I have always loved to write, more so I have always NEEDED to write. I can’t not do it. That being said, I sometimes feel as if I should work harder, try to get something published (at least send something in) and that I’ve failed because I haven’t used my gift. And when I get writer’s block, it’s like any other block – stuff building up behind your ears until you think your head might explode. And those bullies can pick you to pieces if you let them.
You definitely have the gift of compassion. I see that in all your posts and comments. I have so enjoyed getting to know you and your perspective on life. It has opened up my world a little.
My “curse” with music is also people expect more from me than I have available at times. Like, if there was a concert yesterday and I spent the entire day rehearsing, please don’t expect me to be able to sing today – but people forget that the voice is like a muscle. If I’ve been in a big concert, it’s the vocal equivalent of running a marathon. Please cut me a little slack the following day and don’t expect me to produce my normal pleasing sound when speaking or singing! I can understand writing being the same – if you’ve written something that’s epic, you’re going to need a few days to recover before you can produce anything good again.
Must go and play my flute in a bit, I’ve not practiced yet today and there’s a concert coming up…
I’ve enjoyed getting to know you as well, my lovely Alice. Your views, whether they differ from mine or are the same, are good to know, and when we differ, it makes me think of why I believe what I do, so I can explain it more clearly and so understand myself better.
I’m gifted with an ability to pick up languages as well as concepts in math and science … if I only didn’t have the attention span of a goldfish on amphetamines, maybe I could settle down and pursue one or to of them …
Just found this comment. Whoops. I think this is because I spent a post ranting about how some people don’t answer comments. Anyway, I get the goldfish on speed. I have no attention span either, not even enough to finish this
What a post…and the responses have been great, too. My gifts? Well, the artsy-fartsy for sure, which I am really thankful for. I was also given the gift of working with children and their families to make positive changes in their lives, but the gift of fibromyalgia and chronic pain of various kinds from one of those evil bitch fairies took away being able to actually use that gift. I got the depression, too, which was pretty bad for a few years back in the ’90s but I can live with it now taking those gifted meds for the rest of my life so it doesn’t ever get really bad anymore. The, what was that called, again? “self esteem”…well, that’s tough when you don’t work outside the home…it kind of disappears…what rude fairy gifted me with disappearing self esteem?! Okay, I do try to look at the positive side of things, really, because there usually is one. Not working outside the home left me time to be with my own children while they were young, and it’s been especially good for my Autistic/MR/ADHD son who is now 23. And, now that they are older and moving on with their lives, I have time to spend on my passion….the artsy-fartsy, making jewelry and mixed media art. That truly is a gift I could write thank you cards for about once a week to whichever lovely and generous fairy gave me that! One more thing….at least there are many of who received the same crappy gifts so that we have each other to commiserate with, understand each other and give/receive encouragement with.
Love your writing so much because it often makes me laugh or smile…that is truly a gift you have when you can touch other people to make their lives better. Better thank that lovely fairy 😉 Peace to your heart, Sara
Thank you so much for this, Sara. I am sorry it took so long to respond, but I just now saw it somehow. It is a gift to know that I have made other people smile. That makes me smile. I am sorry for the chronic pain – I know too many who suffer with it. It’s hard to stay positive when you don’t feel well. But it’s nice that you were able to recognize some of the gifts you have as well. Do you sell your jewelry or just do it for your own pleasure?
I do sell my jewelry (and a bit of mixed media art) at art/craft fairs and on etsy (my shop is at theCreativeSoul.etsy.com if you want to take a peek. I’ve taken a break from making jewelry the last 7-9 weeks to focus more on mixed media art and art journaling. It has done my soul good. Feel free to check out my blog as well…I don’t post terribly often but sometimes it might be interesting LOL I really enjoy following your blog and look forward to receiving your posts in my inbox. So, thank you for sharing all that you do and doing it in such a wonderful way…Peace to your heart, Sara
I actually quite like this post. You have the gift of gab, and I mean it in a good way: your fingers on the qwerty know how to talk to the keys, it’s obvious by your writing. And when you do have it in you to sit in front of the computer screen, and let your fingers roam on your keyboard, you write shit like this (again, “shit” being great here, I just have a potty mouth, and a limited vocabulary). And when you write shit like this, you reach an audience, and someone in the audience will find a bit of comfort in your words. I’m sorry for the time depression holds you down, and from what I know, even with meds, time is often your best friend. But when you’re out of your “imposed” torpour, I’m glad you have it in you to let your mind and fingers do some magic. For all of us. I know, sometimes I’m not an ass. Fuck.