Today I’m going to share something I have been thinking about for some time now. It’s a lesson that unfortunately I had to learn…or rather, a lesson that kicked me so many times in the head until I said ‘okay, okay I got it!’ That being: life is not a Disney movie (and we all know how much I love Disney).
When a child goes through something traumatic, they do whatever is necessary to cope. Some turn to vices, others act out. Some shut down completely or just repress it all for a future therapist to unpack. My method of coping was to romanticise everything. I had to believe that there was a magical world out there somewhere. I wanted so badly to meet my own Prince Charming someday and have a loving family of my own (and I do but bear with me). I swooned watching the cartoons as a child and felt my heart tug once the credits started to roll. I guess that’s why I love Disney movies so much. They give me hope. They give me happy endings. My reality was the exact opposite, so I threw myself into a world of books, movies and television shows where everything always worked out in the end.
This ‘hopeless romantic’ side served me well in some ways growing up. In other ways, it really didn’t. When people let me down, or when I was dumped or even when a day didn’t go anything like the wonderful, fairytale plan in my head, I fell hard. Much harder than anybody else who had zero expectations. I’ve always been an overly sensitive person, but I was affected so much more because I was shocked by the things that didn’t play out the way I expected them to. Reality was laughing at me on the sidelines with a bucket of popcorn in its metaphorical hand. Nothing ever goes the way you expect it to and things certainly don’t happen like they do in the movies. Because I’m stubborn, I’m going to briefly blame Hollywood. It ruined me. There are no epic kisses in the rain as the music starts to swell. People don’t just appear on your doorstep saying they were wrong and want to spend their lives with you. The people you meet aren’t always kind and they will let you down, sometimes more than once. The biggest knock to my noggin was when I had a baby. For months I had visualised having the most euphoric birth and the happiest experience raising my child when I came home from the hospital. Allow me to pause and chuckle. What ended up happening threw me for a six. You can read more here and here. Honestly, having a child has been the best thing for me because it finally forced me to confront reality and stop having naive expectations.
Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean I’m all doom and gloom now; never expecting anything good to happen in my life. It just means I am more aware of what could go right and what could go wrong, so that if something doesn’t pan out, I’m not so devastated. Now, I can safely say that I no longer see life as a Disney movie. Instead, I like to use the term ‘casual magic’ – coined by a social-media influencer I know. Casual magic refers to the moments you weren’t expecting anything amazing to happen but then, all of a sudden, they do. A couple of weeks ago, Abi had just woken up from her afternoon nap. As I walked up the stairs and opened her bedroom door, I saw her standing up in her cot with a smile on her beautiful face. When she opened her mouth, she uttered the most perfect word in the history of language: ‘mama.’ She had never said it before. I nearly fell over in shock. Tears ran down my cheeks; I was so happy. I had never envisioned it happening this way, but I’m so happy it did. Casual magic hits us when we least expect. It can come in the form of a magnificent sunrise on your way to work, or a stranger paying you a compliment. Your significant other might surprise you with a sweet-treat or your child decides to tell you they love you. These things don’t appear in movies. They just happen and they are more beautiful than anything in the world. It’s okay to dream. It’s okay to get excited about a future event. I think for me, I had to learn not to pin every single emotion and hope on what I thought something or someone would be like. For me, it wasn’t just a day-dream, it had to be that way or I would be depressed. That wasn’t healthy.
I want to raise Abigail to be excited about life. I want her to love Disney as much as I still do. But I also want her to be rational and logical. I want her to have some inner armour to protect her when things fall apart. Living this way has made my life a lot easier. I don’t expect anything anymore. Some days are smooth, others not so much. I take the good with the bad and keep on truckin (sorry for the lame wording). Life would be pretty incredible if it was like a Disney movie; I’m not going to lie. But real life, the one right in front of us, is just as amazing if we allow it to be. I want to remember that. I’m no longer making grand plans in my head or declaring I know exactly where this life is taking me. I’m just going along for the ride; excited for the pockets of casual magic along the way…
Let me know your thoughts down below. Thank you for reading.
Peace & Love xoxo