Cinderella Complex

I had an epiphany today.

Well if we’re being technical, I had several epiphanies but for the purposes of time I’ll condense it into one general idea. The idea came to me in the birthplace of all epiphanies… the shower. I’m not sure if it’s the hot steam or steady barrage of water but it always works like one of those psychedelic teas that’s supposed to send you on a spirit quest to find the meaning of life.

In the shower, light bulbs go off, clarity is found and an understanding is achieved.

This post isn’t about the wonders of bathing though. I shouldn’t have to remind you about the benefits of a shower every now and then.

Anyways, the point is, I had an epiphany today.

I have a Cinderella complex.

What is a Cinderella complex you might ask? Allow me to explain.

My whole life I’ve been the plain wallflower. I was pretty normal with a great supportive family, a fair amount of friends and just enough different experiences to keep life exciting.

And then I got older.

My family needed more support than I did, the friends drifted away and variety melted into monotony with every day barely distinguishable from the last.

Nothing’s wrong, but nothing’s good either.

But everything would be okay. Why? Because I was harbouring a secret Cinderella complex without even knowing it.

I had a fantasy that one day, my humdrum life would be transformed and I wouldn’t be the background character in everyone else’s stories anymore. I’d be the star, the princess of my own. I’d be rescued from this drab existence where I was constantly picking up the slack and draining myself of every ounce of energy just to power everyone else.

I’d be whisked away, swept up in a whirlwind romance where I’d land in a new life – one more exciting than my current one. I’d be surrounded by new people in a new place and I would feel happy and free and light. And on the days there was no light, well, I’d have someone who carried a torch for me (please appreciate this pun).

Without even knowing it, I rationalized every lost opportunity, every inconvenience, and each and every day I felt achingly lonely because one day, I’d be Cinderella at the ball.

And it’s only just now, I’m realizing this.

I’ve been blaming everyone around me for forcing me to be their rock. To be the one that was reliable, dependable and always there to save the day. It was their fault I couldn’t do anything for myself because they needed me to be this person.

But it’s me. I’ve become this person myself because I was secretly hoping one day, everything I’d done would pay off and I would get the life I felt entitled to.

So now that the illusion’s broken and I’ve realized a pumpkin may just simply be a pumpkin, and not waiting to transform into a carriage, what happens?

How do I face the life I’m living, knowing it just may be as good as it’ll ever get?

Underlying reason be what it may, I don’t think I can just stop being the stabilizing force everyone looks to. It’s part of my identity. At the same time, my Cinderella fantasy won’t just disappear at midnight.

But maybe I won’t be the one who needs to be saved by Prince Charming.

Maybe I’ll be the one who saves him instead.

– S.

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