Can Life ever be a Fairytale?
“The only reason I’m single is because I’ve read waaaay too many books and now my expectations are impossible for any mortal man to achieve.”
Said every high school bookish nerd ever while playing Truth or Dare and lounging in the back of the class (though they’d rather be reading a book, wouldn’t they?).
Well, I’m not saying all of us can relate (ahem ahem), but you do get the sentiment, right?
How many of you have waited for your Hogwarts Letter when you turned 11?
How many of you have yearned for a Satyr to escort you to Camp Half-Blood?
How many of you have spent every fleeting moment of your life just watching for your adventure to begin, for your soulmate to burst in through the doors of a quaint coffee shop, for a mysterious woman to steal you away into a magical forest?
Most of all, how many of you have spent days on end with your head up in the clouds, swimming in fairytale land, wishing endlessly for the Real World to be as fair, as hopeful, as transparent and as fully-constructed as the worlds in books?
But it isn’t so.
Even the tales in books aren’t always fair, aren’t always hopeful. But more often than not, they do have a concrete story. If you’ve read a lot of books, you too would have noticed that no matter how many twists and turns the story might take, some things ultimately churn out the same results in the End. Love always wins. Good always prevails over evil. Hope always ignites a flame. True Friendship always changes people. Kindness always brings out the best.
But of course! Because these are some of the purest qualities of humans. These very characteristics are what define us. They drive the world. And books tend to build their story around them. The essence of humanity, caught between pages and ink. And we so desperately wish for these to prevail, that we tuck them into our stories and write books about them.
However, books may also greatly exaggerate the magnitude at which these qualities function in real life. It’s rather harsh to say this, but it’s true, isn’t it?
Just because everything works out in the end in books, doesn’t mean actual life will mirror that. The brave, confident character in a book manages to get her way. The kind-hearted, the innocent boy changes the worldview of a cruel tyrant. Yet, when we project these same qualities in real life, nothing is as easy as it seems. People are unpredictable. You could be the kindest person in the world, and even then, people would cross you. Nothing that they do or say are mere dialogues. Life doesn’t follow a plotline. It isn’t constituted of characters and side characters, all coming together perfectly to produce a fully packed story. As opposed to books.
Reading a lot of books may give us unrealistic expectations from Life. More than anything else, books tend to give us unrealistic expectations about love and friendship and struggle. Of course, romance novels feed the insatiable hunger for affection and love that persists in humans, but they portray a lot of things as impossibly ideal. You could be deeply in love with someone, yet things may not work out because of the circumstances around you. In a book, their union would definitely happen, one day or another. But in True Life? Chances are, you might spend the rest of your lives away from each other, harboring your chipped hearts and passing the days ignoring the sound of your true want.
In another instance, you could have worked really hard on something, but you may not get the required results. You may not even be acknowledged for it. But in a book? It would pay off in the later chapters. It would be a small piece in the big picture, completing the story.
Or maybe you’ve struggled against something all your life. In books, it would be fruitful. But in real life? Well, people always tell success stories, no one really tells stories of failure now, do they? I don’t mean to be a drab rambler here, but I wish to give a perspective on certain things.
As I am told by my more ‘realist’ friends, whenever they think I am floating up into fantasy land,
“Life isn’t a Fairytale.”
Life isn’t a story that can be wrapped up perfectly. Life isn’t always satisfying. All loose ends don’t eventually get tied up. Sometimes, they never do. Life is raw, it is messy, it is turbulent. Events in life don’t always have ‘The End.’ Sometimes they end mid-sentence.
“Life isn’t a Fairytale.”
Yet I say, but that is the beauty in it! That is why we read and write books, don’t we? The fact that we select the best aspects of Life, and neatly set them into stories of our own making, stories that we believe to be strong and inspiring; because that is how we want the world to be, how we wish it to be. And honestly, that’s a very cute trait that all of the humanity shares.
They say life isn’t a Fairytale, but I beg to differ. Life can be anything you want it to be. You want your life to be a Fairytale? Go ahead, live it. Live it the way you think a protagonist in a Fairytale would. Be true to it. And you’ll see. It can be a fairytale; it just depends upon how you choose to perceive your life. I’m not saying that you should simply ignore the realistic aspects of the world around you, but you most certainly do not have to live a plain life lacking in wonder and hope and faith, because that’s called being “realistic.”
Characters in books indeed end up getting what they want. It may be because there isn’t self-doubt riddling them, there aren’t any preconceived notions or feared results plaguing them. But for us, these do. What if we were to steel up and eliminate them? What if we were to wholly open ourselves up and let Hope and Faith flow into us? Wouldn’t we be happier? Wouldn’t we, too, in some form or the other, get what we truly want, truly desire, truly love? Just like the people in books and fairytales. Or close enough.
Books can show us anything we want. They can show us whatever our mind wishes to see. The author may be the one who gives us the story, but the reader is who brings it to life. It is up to us to decide how we interpret the stories told in books. Read on, absorb the best of Humanity. And then yes, Life will be a Fairytale of sorts (wink wink).
(The author can be reached at email@example.com)
(Image source: Illustration by Daniela Drescher)