I want to tell you a story.
It is about a girl.
She was Rapunzel in a tower, except it wasn’t Mother Gothel keeping her there, but the weight of her family’s expectations. The goals they had set for her, the standards she was expected to meet.
There were times, when the wild spirit showed through. When she would disappear for a weekend and come home with memorabilia from artists in Austin. When she took off chasing thunderstorms across the Texas plains, and spent the night watching lighting storms in Oklahoma. When she went wandering into a club in Dallas, and learned that whips and chains were used for an entirely different purpose than what she had believed.
She dreamed dreams and made plans, different dreams and different plans than her family wanted. She slipped out from their thumbs to take pictures and pick flowers and watch movies and eat too much candy.
Her heart was broken. Her skin was bruised by a fist. She survived, and she was still wild.
But then, she met a soldier. She fell in love, into a safe, warm love, and suddenly found herself wanting all that she had said she did not.
She got married. They got pregnant.
And she settled down to a life of expectations. New expectations.
Good mothers do not go sky diving. Good mothers do not dye their hair pink, or blue.
A good soldier’s wife wears a dress without wrinkles. Her hair is perfect. She doesn’t have a pink stud in her nose.
Good mothers keep their house spotless, their children in perfect clothes. They put on makeup every day.
She smothered her dreams and hopes and wants in a layer of respectability. She learned to act the part, dress the part, almost be the part. But she was not a hot house orchid, carefully cultured and cultivated. She wilted like a wild flower in winter.
Listening to the opinions of others, she slid into roles she did not want. Said things she did not believe. She forgot the person she was, before, when she was new. She separated the part of her that created; that made blankets, took pictures, played music, from the rest of her. She surrendered to someone else’s idea of what a mother should be.
She locked herself back into a tower, this time of expectations of what she should be now. It was safe in the tower, it was what she knew. But it was stifling. She crumbled.
Her life came back to her in small pieces. Glimpses of the force of nature she had been. She picked up a camera again, dyed her hair pink, learned to play princess songs on her guitar.
And then… one night… in a shower so hot it turned her skin red and made her dizzy, she made a decision. It is better to be the person she is, than a Mother she is not. It is better to let her children run as wild as she did, without the weight of family. She could be the mother that let her children stay up late looking at stars, and still be a good mother.
She could have tattoos. She could have piercings. She could take too many pictures, play guitar too long, she did not have to do dishes before she went to bed. There was no harm in not folding the blankets perfect on the couch before she turned out the lights. It was more important to spend time with her family, than worrying about the cares of others.
To ignore the person she was, who she really was, when all the labels were stripped away, was doing her harm. And in doing herself harm, she was doing her family harm.
How does this story end??
I don’t know. Rapunzel came out of her tower and had a grand adventure with Flynn Rider.
It is time for me to come out of mine.