Not a Fairytale...Just a Tale

Pride and Prejudice--the 2005 Keira Knightly version...My favorite movie.

For many Jane Austin fans this movie is a complete slaughter of the novel. To you, I apologize, because I have to be honest, I could never get through the book when my mom gave it to me—despite my love of reading. So, I’m sorry if it offends you, but I absolutely adore this movie.

Weirdly enough though, until recently, I couldn’t pinpoint any concrete reasons why. I just loved it.

I found myself watching it several times a year—by myself. I’ve never enjoyed watching it with anyone else. I love it too much to worry about someone else’s opinion of it, and I don’t want anyone to interrupt with chit chat during.

This movie has been my favorite since it came out in 2005. It took me awhile to watch it after my divorce, but once I did, it became my favorite all over again.

On my bedroom wall hangs the picture that is featured at the top of this post. When our photographer sent our wedding photos to me and I saw it, it made my heart so happy. I instantly thought of the picture below—from my favorite scene in the movie.

I have my own Pride and Prejudice picture now, and maybe because I see it everyday it’s had me thinking more deeply about why I loved this movie so much. I think I have an idea—for at least one reason. (One that will probably even explain why I once liked Twilight so much until it became disturbing to me, lol).

I think it's because I’ve always wanted to be loved like that. The intense and powerful way Mr. Darcy loves Elizabeth for exactly who she is, inferior class and all. “You’ve bewitched me, body and soul…and I love… I love you.” So much so that he was willing to give up his birthright, everything he’d ever known, just to be with her. She meant everything to him. And eventually, when Elizabeth discovers Mr. Darcy isn’t the arrogant and conceited man she thought he was, she can’t help but fall in love with him too—and he suddenly means everything to her. They end up “incandescently” happy.

I had a dream in high school that I still remember. It was about a dark haired man who I knew would be my husband. I loved him so much and I knew he adored me. The feeling was so intense, but when I woke up the only thing I could remember was his hair. I had another dream about him a couple years before my divorce, when things were first beginning to speed downhill. He was older, his hair was longer, streaked with gray, and he had glasses. I still couldn’t remember a face when I woke up, but again I knew we adored each other. He was so familiar. I’ve dreamed about him twice more since my divorce.

I don’t think he’s a real person, just a manifestation of my heart’s deepest desire. The man I am married to now has dark hair—what’s left of it, lol—and there have been many times in the year and a half we’ve been together, and the nearly four months we’ve been married, where I feel the kind of adoration I literally dreamed about. I can feel how much he adores me, and I feel it toward him in return…

But, here’s the truth. It’s not consistent. It’s passionate, yes. Intensely joyful, yes. But it’s also hard, messy, and not always happy. No matter how much I love Pride and Prejudice, reality is just not a fairytale. Even now, I’m writing this in my car, at a park, in the middle of a rain storm—rather than in my bedroom—because I’m irritated with my husband for choosing to take a nap, rather than help me clean the kitchen when I got home from grocery and school shopping. A.N.N.O.Y.I.N.G (I made sure to make quite the racket while I put the groceries away, did the dishes, and cleaned the kitchen before I left—I know, real mature, lol).

I’m a fairly decent writer, I can spin a tale with all kinds of happy endings, but like Jane Austin, for all her hopeful romantic story telling, she never got her own fairytale ending either. In fact, when I watched Becoming Jane—the story of her life—I was super depressed after. It was far too realistic—a true telling of the sad fact that sometimes even love isn’t enough to keep two people together.

The hard truth is this: First marriages have a 50-60% failure rate. Second marriages 60-70% and thirds are in the 70-80% range. It’s just the reality of things. After my divorce, I quit believing in forever and started believing in effort. If both parties are trying then it’s possible for things to work. But if either one stops moving forward and making an effort, the chances go down to around slim to none.

I say possible because there are a lot of other factors that come into play that can determine the success or failure of a marriage or a remarriage—such as toxic exes, irreconcilable parenting challenges, etc—but it still almost always comes back to effort, and the desire to make said effort.

I believe I am with the person I’m supposed to be with right now. Is he the guy from my “dreams”? Maybe…eventually. I don’t know. We are still new in this. We both have a lot of past wounds that are still healing. We have brought a lot more emotional baggage to the table than Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy ever had to deal with. When we’re both moving forward and making consistent and honest effort, we are happy. We both want this marriage to work. So right now, it is, and that’s enough—sans helping with the housework, lol. But here’s a fact with that. I like a tidy house and he could care less. Is it a big issue? Not really. But it could be. We’re working toward a middle ground. But in the meantime, when I have to escape the chaotic mess of our home, I get in my car and go for a ride.

The picture on the wall reminds me that while my story most definitely does not resemble Pride and Prejudice, not in the slightest—a better comparison would probably be a mix of Nightmare on Elm Street, You’ve Got Mail, Titanic, Dumb and Dumber, and Great Escapes all wrapped into one--but it is full of powerful lessons, incredible people, and small but intense bursts of joy mixed in with the fear, pain, and sorrow.

Will we make it? I don’t know. I don't know if we will add to the failure statistic or if we will be in the smaller success side. That’s reality.

No, I don’t have a fairytale life, just a life, but for now I’ll accept it—happily, and even not so happily, ever after.

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