Recently I had the pleasure of reviewing a newly published book by Irish writer Jóan Brady ~ The Cinderella Reflex.
I asked Joan if she would write a guest post on the whole reality of ‘Prince Charming’ and whether we are still guilty of waiting for that dashing knight on the white horse to come and rescue us!!
I’m delighted that Joan agreed to write a wonderful piece for us, with a few ideas many of us could use.
Also, since I last spoke with Joan, Cinderella got a ‘New Dress’, so I’m delighted to show you the new cover to coincide with the recent PB publication….
Please continue reading….
THE PRINCE CHARMING MYTH
What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done for yourself?
Some day my Prince will come. Or maybe not.
Or maybe he’ll come, looking all Prince-like and Knight-on-White-Chargerish, but then one day he changes, and not for the better, in ways as mysterious as the fairy-tale he originated from.
What the hell just happened? Was it something you said? Did? Didn’t do? Or was he just not The One?
The Prince Charming myth is a deeply cherished dream and many women spend a lot of time and energy looking for (or looking after, once they’ve found him) this mythical perfect man, who they believe will spin a magical golden spell over their ordinary lives.
And just like winning the lottery, it’s wonderful if it happens but we can’t really bank on it.
Yet many women still do, despite decades of feminism.
This is the serious theme at the heart of my light-hearted romantic comedy, “The Cinderella Reflex”.
The main characters, Tess and Helene are savvy, well educated with good, (if difficult) careers. But when things go wrong, they both experience an automatic (Cinderella) reflex of looking to the men in their lives for a solution. This distracts them so much they become so blind-sighted that they are not focusing on problem-solving any more; they are metaphorically throwing their hands into the air.
They are not acting in their own best interests – and we all know that when we don’t act in our own best interest for long enough, things tend to go wrong in our lives.
Sure enough things do go from bad to worse for my two characters and this time when they turn to their princes for help they find out they’re too busy saving their own skins to have any time for maiden rescuing.
Cue late rescue plan to save themselves!
So does the perfect man exist? It’s probably not wise to devote your one and only life to figuring out the answer to that question. Because as Hannah Braime says in her excellent book on self-care, ‘From Coping to Thriving’ – “No one will ever care about your well-being, health and happiness as much as you do.”
No, not even Prince Charming, if you did manage to find him.
So what if we focused instead on providing ourselves with all the things we thought our Prince Charming would bring us?
A magazine article I read once listed the main attributes women want in their perfect man.
Kind, relaxed, funny, financially successful, adventurous, romantic, likes to travel, takes considered risks, is loving and creative.
Phew! It’s quite a list and while you’re waiting for this paragon of virtue to show up it’s not a bad idea to start developing these characteristics in yourself.
Take romance, for example. We all like the magic dust that makes our lives sparkle and to celebrate the publication of ‘The Cinderella Reflex’, several local radio stations ran a competition where listeners were asked the question “What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done for yourself?” But when we were discussing this, we realised that for many people the answer would be “never” so we added the line, “or would like to do for yourself?”
So how can you bring romance into your life, even when you’re not in a relationship, or the person you’re in a relationship with isn’t as romantic as you’d like?
You could start by going on a date with yourself. Seriously.
One of the exercises in Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, is taking yourself on a two-hour date every week. She prescribes this date-on-your-own as a way of pumping the well of creativity but it could equally be applied to listening to and attending the romantic stirrings of your heart.
You could use the two hours to do something lofty and arty like going to the opera. Or you could just go to your local coffee shop and think about what big, romantic gesture you’d like to make for yourself.
Like going on a Big Adventure. Or doing something you used to love but never seem to have time for anymore. You could think about that crazy dream that won’t leave you alone. (Is it so impossible really? If you spent some of the time you spend on wondering where the hell Prince Charming is could you inch the dream towards reality? Could you have fun trying? )
Or you could use the time to have a chat with your inner four year old who may be still pining after her Prince. This is where you explain that yes, there’s a happy-ever-after, but you have to find it for yourself.
No, there is no knight coming for you on a white charger – but they’re not a prerequisite for a life well-lived.
And yes, of course there are people out there who will love you and make your life feel better – and they’ll find you.
In the meantime you’ll be busy, keeping yourself first and centre in your life, looking for ways to make it better and looking after your own best interests.
Joan, thank you so so much for this really lovely post. I guess we are all so busy in our lives today that we never really get the time to put ourselves as number one. I personally love the idea of a date night with myself!!!
Joan’s debut The Cinderella Reflex is available to purchase HERE
My review of The Cinderella Reflex can be found HERE
Meet The Author:
Joan Brady is an award-winning Irish journalist and broadcast producer.
She started her career as a features writer and newspaper columnist for Independent Newspapers and later worked as a researcher, producer and scriptwriter for RTE, Ireland’s national television and radio station.
The Cinderella Reflex is her first novel.
She lives by the sea in Portmarnock, County Dublin.
She is represented by US-based Tracy Brennan from Trace Literary Agency
THE CINDERELLA REFLEX IS PUBLISHED BY POOLBEG
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