Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Lessons From The Princesses

When I was young we didn't see many princesses except in Fairy Tales - Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson or Andrew Lang. They were endlessly fascinating and all of them were so different. There was never a problem not resolved for the better in the stories though the solution was often difficult. They were perfect works of fiction that had great plots and good endings.

The most inspiring picture from a fairy tale I saw recently was the Messy Princess. She looks so regal and yet - something is wrong here. I'll be looking for this story. Is she enchanted?  Why are her maids and ladies-in-waiting doing nothing?
by Edmund Dulac

(By the way, in my search for the 'real' messy princess story I found a free online story called The Messy Princess which would be perfect if you had a small messy princess at your house)
Reading all of these scary, sometimes horrifying stories was not the best way to prepare for real life where situations don't usually have fairy tale endings.
But here are some lessons you can learn from the princesses of the past. Remember the Princess and the Pea? 

by Edmund Dulac

The Prince was looking for a 'real princess' and this is the test his mother devised. She put a pea in a bed under 20 mattresses and 20 feather beds and after a night sleeping in this bed the princess, as she claimed to be, said that she was black and blue and had not slept a wink. The conclusion was "Nobody but a real princess could have such a delicate skin" and she married the prince and lived happily ever after.  

Personally I think she had fibromyalgia. Maybe there's hope for those with fibro after all. It's really a test to see if they are real princesses.  The lesson is that comfort can help you to feel better. Get the peas out from under your cushions and mattresses.

Then Cinderella came to mind. She has a lesson that is a little more practical. (I doubt you are plagued by peas.)

With good fortune and luck Cinderella found a most excellent mentor (her fairy godmother) and followed her advice almost perfectly. Having a mentor is invaluable in chronic illness. Useful advice as early as possible helps you have more success in aspects of your life dealing with illness.

Rumplestiltskin provides a good lesson in learning the right language to use defeat adversity. If you think of the evil little man as the personification of your illness, then knowing his name is the way to win, as the Queen learns when he tries to claim her baby. 
Christina Rossetti

What I mean by that is that if you learn the terminology and medical language of your chronic illness you will find that things move faster for you. You can cover a lot more ground in an appointment if the doctor does not have to spend time explaining what you can readily find out for yourself through research, reading online doctor sites and joining patient communities. This is effective for family caregivers also.

If you know of more lessons from the princesses please let me know. If there's one thing I enjoy it's fairy tales, but linking them to chronic illness takes a lot of thought.

Possibly Rapunzel could be seen as a story of reaching out for help but there are many versions of her story and her intentions are not clear. She obviously is unable to break out of her "jail" on her own. Asking for help often makes it easier for friends who wish they could do something but don't want to intrude.

by Heinrich Lefler

I enjoy reading advice that people with problems provide. Every blog can be seen as a potential guide. Usually the right answer is almost obvious. I think Ann Landers said this: Think about the possibilities open to you. Usually the one that is hardest is the right one. That advice has held true for me in many situations.
Good luck with the princesses.

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