Monday, February 26, 2007

HAPPILY-EVER-AFTER?



As a small child, I was heavily into ‘happily-ever-after’ stories. I couldn’t get enough of them. For me such stories were filled with wonder containing as they did handsome princes on white stallions and beautiful princesses or pretty peasant girls. The protagonists worked their way through exciting trials and tribulations caused by ugly witches and fiery dragons and an assortment of wicked fairies and scary wolves. And, at the end, it was happily-ever-after! Yeah.

Then, when I outgrew such simple stories, there were adventure books from the library, the serials on radio (which were quickly replaced by black and white television versions), plus the Saturday afternoon kid’s flicks. Yet other worlds were opened up where the hero was likely to be a handsome pilot or cowboy or a swordsman or someone from Krypton who could fly or a commando and there was a beautiful heroine who owned a ranch or was a newspaper reporter or nurse, etc. They too engaged in spectacular adventures with an assortment of criminals or dastardly deviants but again always managed to come out on top although each adventure did not end with a fairytale wedding in a wonderful castle complete with talking birds and pumpkins that turned into coaches. Clearly age brought compromise.

Before I went to sleep each night I would create my own adventures in my head and fight marvellous battles against galleons and pirates or guide my Spitfire through dangerous mountains and attack German trains and blow up dams and, of course, invincible, I always got the damsel.

Then, as a teenager, I moved to the Hollywood movies period where, for two hours each night in the back stalls, you could watch a whole saga whereby the boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl again and the scene ends with nothing more than endless, closed-mouth kisses and violins. I used to go home and, in my mind, fantasize about how and where my love story would begin and who with. But I never had any doubt about the ending. Happily-ever-after of course.

I grew up thinking that that was how life was. And in that halcyon period, there were plenty of jobs and people didn’t want to have everything but were content to have a modest house and an old car and go to church each Sunday and to have people over for afternoon tea and go on picnics taking sandwiches and lemonade and have nights playing cards with friends and to make time to help others.

Life then set about teaching me that all my dreams were just that: dreams. It callously began to take my dreams apart one by one in a slow, destructive way. It never let anything happen too quickly or too dramatically, just a gradual erosion, just enough to keep the dreams going even if they, one by one, gradually became less fanciful, less grand, less wonderful.

The things that happened to me happen to many. A marriage failed. My kids slowly drifted away succumbing one by one to the extreme pressure applied by their mother. I married again, was in seventh heaven. I would’ve liked to have had a child to replace my lost kids. Instead what I got was a unilateral abortion. I accepted the situation, tried to make the best of it. But, despite the evidence to the contrary, despite my increasing doubts, I never really lost hope that the relentless shredding of my dreams would reverse one day and the story book ending would finally come true.

And as my dreams faltered, the world began to change and it became a dog-eat-dog world where everyone had to have it all and if you couldn’t afford it you borrowed lots of money or stole it and pretended like crazy you didn’t and, Darling, aren’t you going to Austria skiing this year and, Have you seen the latest Mercedes, simply spiffy? and, We’re moving to the Harbour, on the water of course, and, We opened a bottle of Grange last night, it wasn’t bad, not as good as the last and, Darling, I’ve just had a silicon breast enhancement and face lift and I feel so, so good and men ogle me, ogle me, I get so wet, wet…

And now the world is poised on the edge of a nuclear nightmare and the Angels of Greed and Death roam the earth freely and people no longer care about each other assuming they ever did and wars spread like AIDS and the division between the rich and the poor is now a chasm and divorce has become an art form and hate thy neighbour is the new commandment and did you hear that Doris has moved in with another woman? and get yourself a financial adviser quick and make a motza and internet sex is really, really exciting and movies now show simply everything even penises and are you sure your son doesn’t need a shrink, he’s acting strangely and is your husband really molesting your kids again? and how many lovers do you have, is that all? and torture is certainly justified for heathens I think, and lock the bastards up and throw away the key, and Christ is coming again soon and we’ll get our glorious reward which we richly deserve and…

I have no dreams now...no dreams now, no dreams now...the cupboard is bare.

It holds only the grinning skeleton of reality.

11 comments:

No said...

Very powerful stuff.

Thank you.

SCOTT said...

Yes, this is powerful, and I so understand my friend, the harsh reality of life can strip away any hope and dreams we once may have held tightly to our hearts. But now is not the time to throw the towel in, it is the time to learn LUCID DREAMING. Lucid dreaming is a practice I use to learn more about myself, and to 'make changes' in my dreams. The same can be applied to our 'Dreams' of life and what we wish the world to be, and as you know Utopia really means No Where, so what are we to do?
We must change our dreams along with our realities. We must hold on to the last item in Pandora's Box which is Hope. Hope that dreams can come true in some fashion. Today I dream that Hope will be revived in your soul, dreams of like minded souls reaching out to each other to give a hand when another is down in spirit, or matter.
We must not let the stark reality of the Present Maddness make us give us on Dreams, Hopes, Plans for the Wonderfully UnManifest FUTURE.
NOW is the TIME for us all to gather our Dreams together and force them into some sort of Positive Reality, don't give up, that is what the opposition wants.
I understand the FACING REALITY, but I never will allow that to diminish my Hope for a more Utopian Society, NEVER.
Be of Good Cheer my friend, it is as it is so that we can see the diminished dreams fade and learn to create new, more attainable dreams rooted in reality. A better future is possible, as long as our HOPE is intact.
With realistic but hopefully bright futures being created by the power of our hearts, minds and souls,, Bless you my friend, you make my hope more important to me,
Sincerely
Scott

Coffee Messiah said...

Nicely written!
I too read those stories, but added Fables.....especially animals.
Although a sucker for the "ever after" stories, after watching my parents before I left home, I knew the reality was, it takes hard work to make most relationships last.
Luckily for me, I spent a major part of my life with my grandparents, and learned about Love/Equality of the sexes from them! ; )
Lastly, when I was growing up, the Russians were coming to the US. Long story short, never believed that then, and if everyone were to finally stand up to bush and his sort, we'd not have a Perfect World, but much better than it appears now!
Cheers to ya! ; )

Kvatch said...

And I thought I hated Mondays...

Sorry...don't mean to mock your excellent post, but it's hard to find the right words.

This seems to be a journey we all make, one way or another. Perhaps there is a trick to turning creeping cynicism into constructive action, but I haven't found it yet myself.

betmo said...

well, at least you aren't under the illusion that 1) we can go back to those halcyon days- if only we supress all of those pesky dark people and 2) that jesus coming back to earth soon will solve everything. i don't really have dreams anymore either- although i do like a bit of escapism through my agatha christie novels- but if i am going to go out with a bang or whatnot- i am going down clutching the truth with both hands and i won't be in denial. frighteningly enough- it may be you and me on the edge of reality. the rest of humanity is stoned or stupid. perhaps a bit of overgeneralization but you get the picture.

Daniel said...

Dear Friends, thanks for your wonderful comments. I guess the fact that I still continue to try to make the world a better place and that you join me here and also run your own positive blogs shows that we all possess hope even in these dark times.

Perhaps if children were not given a lot of false dreams then everyone might concentrate on making the world a better place rather than spending most of their lives chasing after illusions. Cheers!

The Future Was Yesterday said...

Perhaps there is a trick to turning creeping cynicism into constructive action, but I haven't found it yet myself.
Nor have I.

I'm a self described "optimistic cynic." I want to believe, but that ugly horse called reality keeps galloping in, always carrying reasons I can't. The glass is half full, but it's leaking...(:

Hell of a post!!

Daniel said...

It's interesting. Your comments have made me feel less alone, less convinced that I alone have stuffed up my life bigtime.

I guess that humans are much the same the world over. We all tread much the same path, go on a similar journey, make most of the same mistakes. Then the next generation does the same thing.

Seems kind of silly really. But then, what choice do we have?

Zoe said...

Dan, my friend! Without a doubt this is your best post yet.
Not because it is written any better than any other or is about any more or less significant event.

It's because its YOU and its REAL and its so helpful for you to connect with others who have the same feelings and challenges.

Thankyou for sharing this with us!

Now, from someone who in my 30 years has gone through an entire lifetime of turbulent,life altering situations,I don't think that we can become the questioning,soul searching, seekers of meaning that we are had we not had our particularly rough journey.
It builds character and strength and the tenacity that it takes to continue overcomming our obstacles and the capacity to understand the woes of others.
I am glad you now feel not so alone, as I garantee you, we are sharing this same disconcerting perception of life.

Finding the meaning usually comes with hindsight.

All my love
Zoe xxx

Daniel said...

Ah, Zoe, you are an inspiration to us all. If the world was filled with people like you we would have paradise at last!

Love and hugs. xxxxxx

Zoe said...

;~) You are one too!

nosce te ipsum.....

Love
Zoe XXX

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