Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fairy Tales Don’t Come True, They Can’t Happen to You

I was reminded that, when I was four years old, we received the first television on the block. In 1954, this was a major occasion, causing a party of neighbors to descend on the house to watch the single station available. Channel 6, Altoona, FROM HIGH ATOP THE ALLEGHENIES. Channel 6 had to carry a variety of all three existing networks, so I didn’t know from whence rode Roy Rogers.

Except from the moment I laid eyes on him, I knew that he would rescue me. From what? My mother was furious that two children had arrived at the ages of 18 and 19. My parents had no idea how babies were made and Grandma Boring, who had 12 pregnancies, advised Mom to only have sex in the exact wrong days of the month. Money was tight with four mouths to feed and I think that I was especially annoying as I was the last to push my way to the table.

Mom would regularly “call the orphanage” to come get us as we begged for another chance. We were spanked, mostly on the butt. And basically, even at the age of 5 and 6, we ran around the neighborhood freely, climbing mountains and going down the banks to the River. (The Conemaugh River that flooded during the Johnstown Flood.) She didn’t care as long as we weren’t home till dinner.

Mom and Dad fought. How they fought. I began closing myself in the bedroom and daydreaming. I daydreamed of all the males I saw on television, coming to rescue me, including the Monkees. I lost my virginity at the age of 20 to a date rape, which didn’t help. In my desperation to find the hero, rescuing husband that would make my mother feel that I was complete, I grabbed hold of insane men that no one wanted and spent the days daydreaming of other men. Only these were living men, and while I never cheated, I came damned close.

It wasn’t till I was in my sixties that I combined a real man with the fantasy and ended up making him hate me because he rightly felt that I wasn’t accepting him as he was, which was so, so true. I was trying to force a friendship into a fantasy and that could only lead to “goodbye.” Apologies, mea culpa. May you find someone who loves you as you are.

The funny part is now that I have this all sorted out, I am meeting real men and bumping up against THEIR fantasies, which no woman my age could ever fulfill. Still, I’m going to break this daydreaming addiction and try to see people as they are and accept the relationship that’s offered. Fairy Tales don’t have to come true and if they do happen to you, then enjoy them until the in-laws and the bills start arriving. This is 2011 and you need to be a team, not Prince Charming and his helpless Snow White.

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