135 Of 365 (366) For 2012

[ All credit to ORSOMARINO, whose lovely picture may be found here.  ]

 

“And remember, also,”

added the Princess of Sweet Rhyme,

“that many places you would like to see are just off the map

and many things you want to know are just out of sight or a little beyond your reach.

 

But someday you’ll reach them all,

for what you learn today,

for no reason at all,

will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow.”

 

[ Norton JusterThe Phantom Tollbooth ]

134 Of 365 (366) For 2012

[ All credit to B`Creative Photography, whose lovely picture may be found here. ]

 

“Even if I’m setting myself up for failure,

I think it’s worth trying to be a mother who delights in who her children are,

in their knock-knock jokes and earnest questions.

 

A mother who spends less time obsessing about what will happen,

or what has happened,

and more time reveling in what is.

 

A mother who doesn’t fret over failings and slights,

who realizes her worries and anxieties are just thoughts,

the continuous chattering and judgement of a too busy mind.

 

A mother who doesn’t worry so much about being bad or good

but just recognizes that she’s both, and neither.

 

A mother who does her best,

and for whom that is good enough,

even if,

in the end,

her best turns out to be,

simply,

not bad. ”

 

Ayelet Waldman Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace ]

 

I Am The Legend Of Briar Rose

image source: howarddavidjohnson.com

“Fairy tales are more than true;

 

not because they tell us that dragons exist,

 

but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

 

[ G. K. Chesterton ]

 

What an awesome title, huh?! Pretty presumptuous albeit. I can just hear you saying: “What is she thinking? I mean we’ve all heard about the dangers of fairy tales, waiting for your own Prince Charming to rescue you and all that, but this?! Does she really believe she’s a fairy-tale princess?”

Well, yes and no.

I’m pretty sure you all know the sweet Disney Version of Sleeping Beauty. Equally you all know that Sleeping Beauty was named Aurora Borealis by her parents and dubbed Briar Rose by her guardians (or rather guardian).

What you might not know is that Sleeping Beauty is a original German folk-lore collected (not written!) by the Brothers Grimm. You might have guessed that the original tale is not as sweet as the Disney interpretation of it.

Again, what you may not realize is that all German folk-lore (to a certain extent) is not a compilation of fictional entertaining stories, but was actually used to teach children important lessons, such as “Don’t walk into the woods on your own and don’t talk to strangers. You never know who might be a wolf in disguise praying on you!” (Little Red Riding Hood).

Well the original tale of Sleeping Beauty holds a similar moral for the little girls of past times: Don’t have sex before marriage!

“Really?”, I hear you mutter again, “She can’t be serious?! What in the world does this have to do with premarital sex?” ;- and to a certain extent your right.

It’s not necessarily premarital sex, but more careless decisions that can diminish your reputation or worse set your life up on a wrong course, leading everybody around you into shame and humiliation. Back then, the ultimate careless decision for a girl was premarital sex. I understand it still is largely that way in the U.S. even though it may be (at least a bit) different in large parts of Europe including Germany.

But I am digressing. The moral of the story, although it might be hidden today, was blatantly clear to the children of earlier days who were used to this kind of imagery. And this is the story they would have heard:

image source: metalfactory.ch

“Once upon a time, there were a king and queen who for a long time could not conceive a child, although they loved one another very much. Then finally, the queen gave birth to a beautiful little girl. This girl was so precious to them (and to the kingdom, being the sole heir of sorts), that they feared for its safety having it grow up inside the walls of the castle.

For the King beloved as he was by his people was not without enemy. There was a powerful Queen (who by all accounts could only be a Witch, because such intelligence and strength is not common in the gentle and sweet nature of a woman!), who had long since wanted to take over his kingdom and was just waiting for the perfect opportunity, a moment of weakness in the King.

image source: muenchner-theater-fuer-kinder.de

So the King and Queen decided to send their daughter secretly away with her trusted wet-nurse (who was so schooled in the art of natural remedies, that some also considered her a witch, but a good witch, more like a fairy) to be raised until the day she was old enough to marry and thus could not be harmed anymore in an attempt to harm the King. And so it was done. Carefully a spot was chosen away from the public eye and most importantly away from eager young men already besotted by the beauty of the little girl and the promise of power she held (men=spindles).

Alas the powerful Queen never gave up searching for the princess, determined to find her and use her against the good King and his Queen. But the years past and with it a feeling of false security came over the good King.

Then on the eve of the princesses 16th Birthday her trusted wet-nurse told her the truth about who she really was. The princess who had come to love her nurse like a mother was distraught at the idea of leaving her and cried greatly. This outburst was overheard by one of the powerful Queens spies, who had disposed all over the land in search of the princess and he hurried back to the Queen to tell her of the good fortune that he had finally found the Princess.

The Queen knew that the easiest way to destroy the King was to destroy his only heir to the throne, but even she did not dear to kill the Princess at the Kings court. However she knew that if the girls virtue was lost no suitor would be found to marry her, thus guaranteeing the continuance of the good Kings kingdom.

image source: frauen.wueste-welle.de

So she sent her trusted spy to destroy the Princess virtue. The Princess who had been raised without the knowledge of mans charms and deceptions naively followed the spy into the dark towers of the castle and succumbed to his sweet words and promises of true love, but after the spy had pricked her (= had sex with her) he did not as he had promised marry her, but left her to face her destiny alone. So shamed was the princess after the loss of her virtue, that she and with her the entire Kingdom withdrew from the outside world, that shunned them. It was almost as though the entire kingdom had fallen into a deep sleep.

The years past and no eligible suitor was able to master the walls of thorns of social spite that had enveloped this kingdom, no matter how hard they tried. And try they did for not only was the Princesses beauty without compare, but the Kings kingdom was famed for his riches and a similar favorable prize. The powerful Queen waited patiently. She knew it was only a question of time until the King would become old and weak and without a worthy heir his Kingdom could easily be conquered.

image source: bunte-welt.forumprofi.de

Then one day a young prince arrived from a far off kingdom, who had heard of the tales of the beautiful princess disconnected from the world in a seeming slumber. He too had to face the thorns, but were others had given up he pushed on, because he had seen the true picture of the princess in his heart. And then when he reached the princess and gave her the kiss of true love (= marrying her although the princess had already been pricked), the spell of the powerful Queen was lifted and the kingdom awoke to new life. And – of course – they lived happily ever after.”

This is the tale as the Brother Grimm heard told in many German village while they were travelling the country. Again you’ll ask “But what has that got to do with her? Is she trying to tell us she had pre-marital sex and destroyed her family in the process? I don’t get it.”

Well, like I said before, yes and no.

I did have pre-marital sex, but seeing as I am thirty years old, unmarried and living with my boyfriend that couldn’t come as much of a surprise, but that’s not what I mean.

What I mean is that I’ve made more than my share of bad choices in my youth (which ultimately led to more or less dire consequences and also, naturally, effected by family, especially my father).

What I also mean is that Phil is the first person, who ventured beyond the walls I had erected around myself, because somehow, behind all the masks, he caught a glimpse of the true me.

In many respects he did save me from a long slumber. Without his patience I would probably have never understood, how wonderful the true me really is and that I don’t need to hang my head in eternal shame because of bad decisions I made when I was 13 years old or 14 years old or well probably up until I was 23 years old.

And you see, I think that’s the true beauty of the moral. No matter what you do (but yes, it would be better you don’t do it in the first place), there is always hope.

It only takes one person to see you for what you truly are and the spell is broken.

Image source: van-ham.com

If one person sees the good and truth in you, you too can recognise it and in the end, you become your own Prince Charming.

[ “September” – The Shins ; – performed by James Mercer (live version)]

My (Secret) Love Of Disney Songs

“You’re dead if you aim only for kids.

Adults are only kids grown up, anyway”

[ Walt Disney ]

 

 

 

 

Yes, I admit it: I’m one of those people. Those people who are constantly humming or singing to themselves. In public.

I guess it’s not as horrid for me as it is for people who happen to be out with me. I’ve experienced more than my share of elbow jabs to my ribs. And although I’m a snob when it comes to music, I have a never-dying love of Disney songs. I’m sure there’s a childhood trauma hidden somewhere in the abyss of my soul responsible for this bubble-gum-puppy-love, but in some respects I feel it’s a small price to pay. Well, at least for me it is.

So since I make everyone around me suffer this gooey obsession right along with me, why should you be exempt?! Let me introduce you to my favorite musical Disney heart breaks – Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Bo:

[ “Once Upon A Dream” – Sleeping Beauty ]

Image source: thedlandinsider.blogspot.com

[ “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” – Cinderella ]

image source: homesweetkolkman.blogspot.com

[ “Heigh-Ho” – Snow White ]

image source: coveringthemouse.com

[ “Supercalifragelisticexpialidocious” – Mary Poppins ]

image source: coveringthemouse.com

[ “I Want To Be Like You” – Jungle Book ]

image source: dailymail.co.uk

[ “Part Of Your World” – Ariel The Little Mermaid ]

image source: singingdancer411.tumblr.com

[ “Little Town” – Beauty And The Beast ]

image source: disney.wikia.com

[ “Bells Of Notre Dame” – The Hunchback Of Notre Dame ]

image source: fuckyeahhond.tumblr.com

[ “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” – Lion King]

image source: mytvmoments.com

And there’s so much more from where that came from.

image source: actressarchives.com

So be afraid.

Be very afraid.

132 Of 365 (366) For 2012

[ All credit to alan shapiro photography, whose lovely picture may be found here. ]

 

“A tragedy is a tragedy, and at the bottom, all tragedies are stupid.

 

Give me a choice and I’ll take A Midsummer Night’s Dream over Hamlet every time.

 

Any fool with steady hands and a working set of lungs can build up a house of cards and then blow it down,

 

but it takes a genius to make people laugh.”

 

[ Stephen King ]

I Was The Little Girl With The Lunchbox

“Like everyone else I am what I am: an individual, unique and different, with a lineal history of ancestral promptings and urgings; a history of dreams, desires, and of special experiences, all of which I am the sum total.”

[ Charlie ChaplinMy Autobiographie ]

I haven’t talked a lot about my mother lately. In all honesty I have been to busy rejoicing in my new-found freedom.

Today I remembered something I didn’t even know I had forgotten.

I remembered the first time I distinctly realized that I was the girl who was different. I was the girl without a mommy.

The German School system is different from the American School system, so when I tell you I was in pre-school, I mean I was in my last year of kindergarten about to enter first grade and I was only one long summer vacation shy of being seven years old.

(No, I wasn’t held back a year. I’m an October baby and the deadline is in August, so … you do the math. You’re probably better at it than I am. Come to think about it, maybe I was held back a year?!)

Tradition wants that the last day of pre school is celebrated by taking on the little boys and girls on a glorious outing or in my case on a field trip to the local zoo.

The kindergarten teachers sent out information packages to the parents specifying what the children should bring a long on the trip and when to drop them off and where to pick them up.

I know it specified us bringing lunch in a backpack. The reason why I remember this so clearly is because my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Pich (pronounced “Peach” – sweet, huh?!), reminded us to bring our backpacks that our mommies would give us to kinder garden the next day.

The next morning, I didn’t have a backpack. It must have slipped my father’s mind. Somehow I knew it was vital for me to bring a piece of carry-on-luggage. I didn’t have a kiddy backpack, but I had something so much better. I had a pink sparkly care-bear lunchbox in which I stored all my favorite toys. So that morning, backpackless, I grabbed my pink lunch box filled with my most prized possessions (including but not limited to a toy car that changed colours when you rubbed it long enough with your sweaty palms) and walked myself to kindergarten.

I always walked myself to kindergarten. It was just across the park and it was the 80s so my father wasn’t too neglectful that way. A lot of kids walked themselves to kindergarten back then. Well at least preschoolers did.

When I got there not only was I the only kid who arrived without special parental attention, but I was also the only kid without a backpack.

For a moment most mothers just looked at me. Then my Mrs. Pich took be aside and asked if she could see what I brought for the special outing. When she saw that my lunchbox was filled with toys and other inedible items (including but not limited to a dried up marker), she asked me if I could do her a favor. She told me she had stupidly brought her lunch for today and for tomorrow. She wanted to know, if I would leave some of my toys behind and help her carry all the lunch she brought. Also she quickly tied a jump rope to my lunchbox so I didn’t have to hold on it around all day, but could instead carry it like an overgrown purse.

I don’t remember much more from that day. We saw animals, I think. Afterall it was a zoo. But I don’t really need to.

I have photos.

In all of them you see 12 happy children, smiling, laughing and having a great time.

All of them have little kiddy backpacks on their backs. Except for one. The brown-eyed girl with two dark thick braids carrying a glittery pink care-bear lunchbox tied awkwardly to her with a jump rope.

I remember sitting on the jungle gym for the group shot holding my lunchbox.

I distinctly remember feeling different.

But I also remember feeling special: I might not have had a mommy drop me off that morning, but I was the only kid that got to share Mrs. Piches lunch with her.

[ “Soul Killing” – The Ting Tings ]

122 Of 365 (366) For 2012

[ All credit to Freckles Photography, whose lovely picture may be found here. ]

“Beautiful as a dandelion-blossom, golden in the green grass,

This life can be.

Common as a dandelion-blossom, beautiful in the clean grass, not beautiful

Because common, beautiful because beautiful,

Noble because common, because free.”

[ Edna St. Vincent MillayConversation At Midnight ]

119 Of 365 (366) For 2012

[ All credit to gunnisal, whose lovely picture may be found here. ]

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”

[ Ralph Waldo Emerson ]

What I Ment To Say

“Speak with integrity.

Say only what you mean.

Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.

Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”

[ Miguel Ruiz ]

Lately, I’ve been very quiet.

That is except for the daily remembrance – maybe even intrusive in some way (but then you can always skip over whatever you don’t want to read here – that makes it a bit better than sitting across the table from someone I imagine – you can decide what you want to hear and let the rest drift on by you) – a daily glimpse into whatever bit of myself I was willing to define myself by; whatever bit of myself I wanted to remember the day by a year later.

I’m not sure what I am to make of the consequences that come with my silence. Life here is so different from life outside (quicker maybe, slower at times – a haze, a mist, a dream). I understand that. I do. But sometimes I’m not good at – processing.

This is not an apology and it’s not a plea either. It’s – I guess you could best refer to it as a “whisper”. I longed to test my voice in this space again.

Wondering if there would be an echo.

Wondering if there would be silence.

Wondering what I would feel.

Wondering.

– I know this is not what I envisioned my first real post to be (I have other drafts – many).

Maybe this would have been better as a letter (would you have preferred it to be one?).

I think what I ment to say is

“I miss you. I miss me with you. I miss – everything. Thank you.”

[ “Breathe me” – Sia ]

115 Of 365 (366) For 2012

[ All credit to photobypawelp, whose lovely picture may be found here. ]

“- Pebbles cannot be tamed

to the end they will look at us

with a calm and very clear eye”

[ Zbigniew HerbertThe pebble ]

( Tranlated from the Polish by Czeslaw Milosz and Peter Dale Scott )