The Reality of Fairy Tales


fairy tale


plural nounfairy tales

  1. a children’s story about magical and imaginary beings and lands; a fairy story.
    • something resembling a fairy tale in being magical, idealized, or extremely happy.
  2. a fabricated story, especially one intended to deceive.

I just turned 36. I’m about as old as the characters in Sex and the City. What is my 36-year-old self up to these days? I live in a 4-Room HDB apartment, became a Dog Mom, a blogger, acquired only 1 more designer bag (and probably the last judging by the ridiculously insane prices now wtf) gifted by my sweet husband and I still enjoy a glass of cosmopolitan or champagne once in a while. Pretty close to that SATC fairy tale I pictured, I guess. This is probably the most content I’ve ever been in all 36 years and I hope very much that it will continue. May be I’ve experienced the very worse of what life had to offer and it will only get better from here? I hope.

So, what is a fairy tale life and marriage?

If you were to ask 12-year-old me what I think I will be like at 36, I would have thought that I will be married to my high school sweetheart who would sweep me off my feet, grow up together, have a whirlwind romance travelling the world with him and become a soccer mom with a kid or two. I was not a very ambitious girl. But I was very idealistic when it came to the idea of love. Little did I know then that I was going to be in for a rude awakening.

It turned out that school bullies would get worse in Secondary School and I couldn’t click with anyone much less boys. So that “marrying my high school sweetheart” part was definitely out of the picture. And since I couldn’t make friends in school, I tried finding friends elsewhere and met the wrong person. I spent 12 years of my young adult life with said wrong person. I’ve never had a physical attraction towards him and I didn’t feel emotionally connected to him either. By then, I was just desperate to hold on to that fairy tale of being with my first love. Now that I know better, it wasn’t love. Heck, it wasn’t even puppy love in my case. There were many red flags from the start but if you didn’t know what’s good, you wouldn’t know what is wrong. I was so young and so idealistic, I didn’t know how bad that relationship was until much later.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending at how you look at it), by the time I got out of that mess, I was 27. By then, most of my friends have had their experience hooking up, travelling the world, were in stable relationships, getting married and pregnant, while I was single. Very single at 27 years old. Not only did I not end up with my teenage sweetheart, I didn’t have experience being in a legitimate relationship, haven’t travelled outside Singapore and Malaysia in 12 years and on top of all that, I was told I had till age 30 to conceive (thanks to endometriosis). In other words, my inexperienced, introverted, heart-broken, infertile, late-20s self had only 3 years to somehow find someone who would love and marry me? “Not gonna happen”, I thought and fell into a really dark place. All because I chased a fairy tale.

Fast forward to today, I did meet and marry someone who turned out to be my best friend and soulmate. Funny how it happened when I resigned myself to a bachelorette life. At 28, I changed my plans to partying, travelling, friends and planned out the future bachelorette pad I would be able to apply for when I reach 35. Men were just a side note, I went on more dates than I could count to build my confidence, to shake myself off being jilted and gained more experience than I bargained for. So when I met Shine, he was just another guy and we both didn’t want to be exclusive. We connected very well and we became somewhat like each other’s confidant where we can dump all our secrets on since we had no strings attached. We both were the same age, single in our late 20s, each with some form of baggage so we understood each other. In a way, it was liberating and honest because we had nothing to hide. Somewhere along the line, I did develop feelings for him but felt it wouldn’t work out with all that has happened in my life. We remained friends and he would call me every day to check on me. Then one day while we were both on separate dates, he kept texting for updates of how my date was going while he was at the movies on his! I don’t know what triggered him but the following weekend, we met and he asked that we be exclusive. I was happy but I remember not putting my hopes up and thought that it wouldn’t last. Then I had that unexpected surgery and he stayed through my recovery and exclusively with me. It was the first real relationship I’ve been in.

So it turns out this is how my fairy tale would transpire. It wasn’t exactly what 12-year-old me thought it would be like but it’s magical in it’s own way. So if you can take away anything from this long story, here are some pointers.

  1. Remember that fairy tales are folklore fictitious stories. They can affect the perception of reality especially when you absorbed them like a sponge as a child. Disclaimer; tell children point no.2.
  2. Fairy Tales come in different forms; it doesn’t necessarily have to involve a Prince, Damsels, pixie dust or love even. It’s what you want it to be. Even the simplest most mundane things have it’s own form of beauty and magic. Like growing a tree or hiking a hill.
  3. In case you’re a teenager who happened to stumble on here; there is a reason your parents tell you that you’re too young to have a boyfriend – puppy love doesn’t normally last especially now with technology, social media and exposure. Teenage sweethearts often grow apart and develop in different directions and that is ok.
  4. In case you’re single and passed what society deems as the “marriageable age”; screw them. Miracles and love can take place at any age. May be he’s out there wondering where you are. And if he isn’t, hell, you’ve got a lifetime of freedom without ever having to be bogged down by anyone.
  5. You are never too old to dream big or start over no matter how damaged you are.

And that is how you will live happily ever after.

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Isabelle is the editor behind Love Bella Vida, a Singapore Lifestyle Blog. Thank you for your continued support. Should you wish to collaborate, feel free to get in touch.

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