I want the fairy tale.

I’ve never been frilly, never been that into pink. But I had a fairly lengthy Barbie phase, which then turned into a My Little Pony phase — ponies, that is. Ponies with chopped off tails. I tried to groom them, tried to make them less prone to being tangled. They never grew back.

I didn’t grow up envisioning my wedding. At a friend’s slumber party during first grade or so, one of the games involved toilet paper; we had to team up and see which two girls made the best, biggest, most princessy bridal gowns. I lost, and I didn’t really care. I did, however, remember thinking that the wasted piles of two-ply fluff would make a great, cushiony bed to relax on, and I tried to catch a few Z’s. No luck with screaming girls everywhere.

I don’t have a ticking anything — just the watch on my wrist. I kind of like this fact about myself, because if it occasionally stresses me out to make sure I blog by midnight each day, imagine the sort of mess I’d be if I had some insane, child-bearing desire radiating from my loins. (Hint: it would be a far larger mess than what I already am.)

I’ve never yearned for the picket fence, the 2.5 kids, the dogs, the stay-at-home-mom-ness, the husband home by 5:30 for dinner. A beach or mountain cottage, a dog and a husband, sure. A lifestyle conducive to coming and going at any hour, staying up past my bedtime and sleeping in, yes. Selfish? Perhaps, or perhaps only because it’s not the norm, not what’s expected. But it’s honest. And if judging my honesty makes you feel better, then that’s OK. 

People tell me that nothing is ticking because I haven’t met “the one” yet. This might be true, or it might not be. The truth is, there is something ticking: it’s the timeframe for my dreams to go somewhere, for my writing to be more than a blog. Those are my children. They may never fully grow up, but I’m determined to have a good time playing with them, guiding them and sending them out into the world anyway.

Julia Roberts’ character in Pretty Woman tells Edward that she wants the fairy tale. So do I.

Mine may not be the typical life that a single 30-something gal is suspected of wanting. But what fun is typical? I can tell you that a Prince Charming would be great. But I know myself well enough to realize there will likely be very little that’s typical beyond that, assuming he materializes. There have been a few times when I thought he has; my heart still has some bruising to prove this wasn’t the case. Some people you try on for a while, but the spark disappears faster than the flavor from gumball machine gum. Others you dream about, you imagine, you put on a pedestal in your mind. They must be real, you think. They have to be real. They must be why there’s been such a massive lull in the romance category, you tell yourself; they were meant to come along, at precisely this time. If you hope long and hard, maybe you can will them into actual existence.

If only.

I want the fairy tale, which sometimes feels like wanting the impossible. But tonight I am thankful for knowing that everyone’s fairy tale is comprised of fact and fiction, of dreams and realities, of real-world and someplace deep within the soul. They’re unique to each of us. No two fairy tales are the same; no two paths are the same. Everyone’s fairy tale starts at the same place, but it’s up to each of us to chart its course.

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