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Don’t Worry — Cinderella was as Jaded as the Rest of Us

Okay, don’t get mad at me.  I promise I fully intend to share some interesting stories from Spain and answer a few questions I’m sure some of you have.  But, like I mentioned yesterday, I had an unexpected house guest arrive late last night.

Well, mostly unexpected — she did give me 12 hours notice, which is approximately the time it takes, going roughly 10 miles per hour over the speed limit with 2 rest stops, to drive from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Sanford, North Carolina.  My little sister arrived in a whirlwind of fast food wrappers, dirty laundry, 2 mangy mutts (that’s right — there are currently four dogs staying in my house), and early-20’s angst.

I love her dearly.

Needless to say, my plans for the rest of the week have been a bit thrown, meaning I’m about to take 4 dogs down to a lake instead of writing pitches and sending my resume in for part-time gigs.  I also don’t have the time to write a proper post for today.

So, in case you missed it, I’m posting the piece I wrote for Simply Solo the week before I went to Spain.  If you did pop over there to read it, I’m sorry for the repeat so soon after the original.

But I have to work with what I got, ya know?

Don’t Worry – Cinderella was as Jaded as the Rest of Us

Ah, Solo.

I remember that brief yet exciting time in my life when I was sans relationship.  The world was full of possibilities.  I could travel wherever I wanted, sleep with whomever I wanted, and the only person I really worried about disappointing was me.

The good days, right?

But no matter how happy I was, how free I felt, there was always that pesky bruise on an otherwise perfect fruit:  I wanted love.  I wanted to feel love, and I wanted to give it.  I wanted to know how it felt to have someone waiting for me when I came home, to ask about my day, and to tickle my back with his fingertips when we settled into the sofa to watch the latest romantic comedy that he thoughtfully picked up from the video store on his way home from buying me flowers.

Because that happens, right?

The good news is that at the start of any decent relationship, it can and does happen.  For a few moments in time, we find out what it’s like to live inside a movie – to become the center of someone’s world and put another person’s happiness above our own.

But then… then we get comfortable.  The new car smell is replaced by McDonald’s takeout and sweaty gym socks.  The charming way he always lets us choose the movie or the restaurant or the weekend getaway location is now just plain annoying.  Why can’t he have an opinion?  The conversations become stale.  The sex becomes predictable.

This, my friends, is true intimacy – when our prince – *gasp* – becomes a real-life person.

And while he still asks about our day and tickles our back during movies, it’s also true that sometimes he wishes we might stay at work just a little later so he can put his feet on the coffee table, fart without leaving the room, and finish that Star Wars movie without judgment or ridicule.

We find ourselves wondering, why do we even care about these things, anyway?  We never used to.  Or if we did, we let them slide because we’d finally found that elusive love.  That love we’d thought we’d wanted so much.

Is it simply because the longer we know each other, the more difficult it becomes to maintain niceties and politeness?  Is it because we no longer have the excitement of peeling back layers to get to the golden nuggety center of another person’s history, values, and beliefs?  Or is it – and I almost hate to say this – because we, as humans (or is it just us women?), just can’t find it within ourselves to be content with being content?

Think about it.  We are trained from an early age to look for drama in our relationships.  Aspiring writers are taught that we can’t have a story without an antagonist.  We can’t create intrigue without obstacles in the plot.  And a story without intrigue is never worth reading.

So why would a story without intrigue ever be worth living?

Maybe that’s why we create these problems within our own, otherwise placid plotlines – why we become our own antagonist and throw rocks at the glassy surface by nagging him about his dirty laundry, complaining to mutual friends about our arguments, making a joke at his expense, or letting ourselves think he came home late because he was out trolling for other women, because there’s no way he could possibly still love us after all. these. rocks.

The movies teach us we need ripples to be happy.

They don’t tell us how Cinderella could never quite get those ashes out from underneath her fingernails.  How she hated cleaning Prince Charming’s whiskers out of the bathroom sink.  How sometimes – sometimes—she still reminisced about the days when the forest animals adoringly assisted with her morning chores as she sang about longing for her prince to come – when her prince was still a perfect image in her mind of the man who would magically solve all of her issues and finally make her life complete.

But that’s the problem – all we see is that our fairy tale lovers had to fight evil stepmothers, magic mirrors, and fire-breathing dragons to complete their ceremonious commitment to one another.  And since there’s no room for such things in modern times, we make ripples of our own.  We throw rocks to create intrigue and prove that the love that survives at the end – assuming it survives at all – was worth fighting for.

However, I’m going to share a secret for singles or those who perpetually find themselves in unhappy relationships – a secret that will either solve all of your problems, or crush your world in one fell swoop:  What they never tell us about our own story line – about the intricate, ever-changing world we create for ourselves from second to second in search of a happy ending – is that while the existence of dragons is possible but not proven, there is no such thing as complete.

So.  What I find myself learning, now that I’ve found that intimacy I wanted so badly when I was single, is that no relationship – not even a marriage – will ever really complete me.  I will always be someone who strives to learn, to evolve, to make myself a better person.

And in the interim that most of us refer to as life, I will consider it a bonus that, whether I’m crying through a chick flick or snickering through Star Wars, I’ve found a willing hand to tickle my back.


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Dennis Hong

Loved this piece, by the way. :-)


Thank you! The e-book thing was brought up after I’d already committed to writing something for Catherine, and of course I didn’t write this until 2 nights before we left for Spain. Once I was done, I was thinking, “Wow, I should totally submit this to Dennis for the e-book,” but at that point I didn’t have time to write another piece for Catherine. Ah well… Do we have a deadline for e-book submissions? I’m swirling some ideas around, but I’ve had a few distractions lately.


This is the perfect anniversary piece…


Thanks, Anna! I’m thinking that was probably in the back of my mind when I wrote it…


Thank you!

Tile Tramp

Thanks for writing what many of us are thinking but don’t say out loud…it’s so true that we create our own problems, I wondered for a long time if I was actually crazy because I was destroying my own relationships…it’s so nice to read this and remind myself that I’m actually in control, and it’s not necessary to throw rocks into my perfect glassy pool :)


Is it any wonder men can never measure up to our insane expectations? I mean, how hard is it for “him” to be perfect when ogres turn into princes; frogs turn into princes; paupers turn into princes. Sorta makes me wonder why my son NEVER – in his 15 years – has put white horse on his Christmas list. Oh, right, because he hasn’t even heard of these stories yet.


Haha I LOVE that your son has not heard of these stories. That is awesome. But really – you should still get him the horse.

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