Last year, after meeting a new colleague and being asked by a friend what kind of person he was, I replied “Don’t worry, he’s our people. He’s real.” That’s what life is, right? We are all Velveteen Rabbits. We are all Woody and Buzz. Love makes us real. The magic of love somehow transcends time and space and makes us more than we used to be.
If we can acknowledge that there is magic in real life, why do we fail to acknowledge that we become less than when love hurts? That is what truly makes us real.
Our pain and panic make us as real as our love and elation do. Our bad relationships shape us into being.
And if we are lucky we don’t grow older, we grow wiser. If we are lucky we stop standing at the edge of the water. If we are lucky we look back at the dark path through the forest and realize that dodging wild animals and being pricked by thorns was worth it when we reached the castle gates.
How do you survive in the thick of it? How do you trudge on through the darkest days? How do you slay the grief dragon or outwit the sorcery of heartbreak?
You must become the love you are seeking. You can’t just forgive the person who hurt you, you must also forgive yourself.
You can’t just look back at memories with pangs of sadness in every fiber of your being, you have to look forward to what still awaits you and feel anticipation course through your body like pixie dust that will lift you off your feet.
Longing for adventure in the great wide somewhere is not the same as packing a bag and heading out the door. Remember, Merida fought for her own hand and Tiana lead the way to her own dreams. We are all dreamers, we are all capable of loving ourselves with the ferocity we can love others. We just forget that when we get lost in the fog sometimes.
So to you, who may have stumbled upon this because you have lost your hope. To you who may have given up on love. To you who no longer believes Happily Ever After is a destination you will reach. I have some advice. And it is clear and it is simple and it is truer than any other words I have written or spoke.
Happily Ever After lives inside you right now.
This moment could be your turning point. And this one the one where you step in the directions of your dream. And then this moment still could be when you decide that the cliche is true: you won’t catch your dreams unless you chase them. So throw open your window sashes like Scrooge on Christmas morning, leave your tower to see the lantern festival, go on a hero’s quest even if you were written into the game as a villain. Whatever you do, put your heart into it.
“Because,” to quote Jiminy Cricket, “that, my friends, is where magic lives.”