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.