The commercials would show them as actual "flying" fairies. All my life I'd wanted a flying fairy. It was as if my purpose on earth was all leading to that one moment....the moment when I would finally get a flying fairy.
I begged my mom for what felt like centuries. I did all my chores. I said "please" and "thank you" when I was at Gramma's house. I even tried not to fight with my sister. I was Little St. Jen, the Heavenly Fairy Obsesser. I remember pining for this toy like it was an everlasting fountain of joy and pure happiness. I ate, drank, and slept Skydancer. I just had to have one. I just had to.
And then....it happened.....Skydancer. My sister got one too and we went absolutely ballistic. SKYDANCER, people.
We raced outside to try them out. I popped mine on her little dolphin wave pedestal, pulled the cord, and let 'er rip.
Bsssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh - ZING!
So high! So fast! So beautiful! She rose and soared in the wind, shooting skyward, becoming one with the fairy winds of the North....until suddenly, she wasn't. A crazy cross-breeze stopped her momentum like a bolt of lightening and she came hurtling to the ground, headfirst, plummeting faster, faster, faster, as I looked on helplessly, mouth open, struggling to accept the fact that she was NOT a real flying fairy...no, not at all. She hit the ground with a horrific *snap* and I watched as one of her precious wings broke right off.
I can still see it in my head, slow-mo style. SPLAT *pop*.... *tink....tink....tink*
I realized two things that day.
1) TV toy commercials are full of lies.
2) Building something up so, so much can sometimes set you up for disappointment.
I relished the idea of that Skydancer so much, I truly thought sparkling trails of love would follow her everywhere she went. Maybe it's the writer in me. Maybe it's the drama queen in me. Maybe it's the hopefulness in me. I build things up. I'm a huge builder-upper. I build things up so high they're bound to tumble down with reality.
So what's a chick to do when she realizes she's built something up too high? What happens when that hopefulness turns into disappointment? How do you stay positive when you realize your obsessing has actually backfired....instead of planned, purposeful, and poised, you're drowning in the unexpected and waiting for the joy to hit you....waiting, waiting, wondering where it is?
Is this it? Is this what I've been waiting for?
No. The answer is no.
Call it God, call it fate, call it life....whatever your name for it, some aspects of living cannot be controlled. A little girl's flying fairy dreams, a teenage girl's first love, a grown woman's lifestyle desires.....all fluid, each one of them. None of these things, dreams, love, or desires, are tangible, concrete steps toward a self-fulfilling, realistic destiny. These are ideals. These are manifestations of the heart.
These are the building blocks of towers I've built and watched tumble down around me, brick by disappointing brick.
I envy those who see the greater picture, who aren't concerned with the future, who know in their heart it will all work out. Maybe if I were one of those people, I wouldn't obsess so much about the things I want and would instead accept the beauty and joy I already have....because this is a tough lesson to learn, the one where you work and work to try and grab something that never truly existed, at least not the way you wanted it to.
It always comes back to perspective, for me. I am constantly realizing I need a perspective check...the kind that allows me to see things through other people's eyes, the kind that makes me want to slap myself for feeling anything but blessed.
So the fairy didn't fly. So the first love didn't love you. So the lifestyle you thought you were getting isn't really a thing.
So what. What are you going to do about it.
Well, you can sulk about it. You can stomp your feet and scream "THAT'S NOT FAIR" and you can whine to your mom on the phone and talk your bff's ear off. You're allowed to feel upset. That dang fairy was supposed to fly. This isn't what I signed up for.
But then what? What happens when the anger and disappointment becomes too much to carry...when it starts to fade and you get tired, oh so tired, of being pissed off? What's the next step?
I have a theory.
Take you hopes, the ones that got you into this situation, and shuffle them up a few steps. Go on and wiggle them up there, like a heavy moving box on apartment stairs. It ain't easy. It ain't without work. But keep pushing. Dream at a higher lever. Dream with people like Gandhi and Mother Teresa and all those other studs in Heaven.
Why do we quote these studs' words, know their names, cherish their lessons? Simple, really. They had the ability to reformulate their desires to match the reality they were given. They learned from every failure, every mistake, and every lost dream....and used that knowledge to build a completely new set of dreams, these ones aimed at a higher level of thinking.
Fairy doesn't fly...but fairy makes my sister smile, which is kind of like flying.
The first love doesn't love me...but my first love is happy, and because I love him, so am I.
This lifestyle isn't what I wanted it would be.......but I can feel it, the simple happiness, waiting just around the corner. Waiting for me. Waiting for me to drop the 'tude and realign my thinking. Waiting for me to engage and soar.
Your life, and mine, isn't always all it's cracked up to be. Sometimes we set ourselves up by building up.....a vacation.......a wedding..........the first day of school.
It's ok. The dreamer in you is coming out. This is a positive thing. Take the sting of your failed assumptions and refocus them. Raise yourself up to this challenge called life. You can take it, and so can I.
To all those who work hard to make their dreams come true, Happy Labor Day. And as always, my lovely, hard-working readers, thank you for reading.