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Once upon time I was a laughing little girl. Despite (two) bouts of head lice, a crooked ear, and one post-diaper incident of crapping my pants, I was a happy girl, whose small brown eyes bubbled over with dreams.
After womanly life changes, poor wardrobe choices, and a handful of disappointments, I realized that everything I ever dreamed of might be different from the things I’d truly hold. In the matters of love, I (with the encouragement of society) pointed my finger at those syrup-happy fairy tales. Prince Charming, castles, magic balls, sleeping (or poisoned) beauties, they sucked me in to their edited worlds of joy, and implausible rescues from disenchanted lives.
Or did they?
Fairy tales and they’re makers aren’t exactly innocent in the matters of under-age brainwash, but who is the absolute worst?
I came to this epiphany during a recent jaunt through a toy store. As soon as I walked past the plush smiling bears with their dazzling tummy-symbols, I journeyed back to my long-repressed childhood dream.
It was all because of him…Tenderheart bear. With a big red heart as his Care Bear tummy symbol, he was all about expressing feelings and being nice, and he helped the other bears be as caring as can be. I would watch his exploits on the Care Bears cartoon with glee, and my heart would fill with blinding joy, whenever he brought out the best in his fellow bear.
In other words…he was my childhood version of a “dream man.” Not the handsome Eric from “The Little Mermaid”, but Tenderheart, the one with big supplies of the purest kind of heart. And so, for my whole adult life, I blindly searched for the nicest man with the biggest heart, never knowing that in reality…I was searching for a goddamn Care Bear.
Which means that even though I rejected fairy tales like any grown-up woman should, I subconsciously longed for a talking magic bear to be my lover.
And it’s not like the madness ended there. Every time I’m on a plane and we fly above the clouds, I consider diving straight into those big white balls of puff. I wonder if there’s a secret society in those clouds, with smiling bears, and cloud-made cars, and magic streams from tummies that can turn all bad to good. I’ve never actually jumped from the Emergency Exit though, since reality tells me that the outcome would be less than great.
And isn’t that the only thing reality ever does? Buzz-kill. Which begs the question, why even have all this fantasy at all? Build up the kids so we can crush them later on? Well excuse me, but that seems counter-productive.
I may scold the world but I still want to fix it, so I hereby propose that cartoons be replaced with reality. We could fund it through the government as a Child-Assistance program, and structure it as once-a-week field trips. Field trips would begin at age five, and vary as such: go to a restaurant and watch a sleazy man nonchalantly dump his gal (then reverse roles, because it’s not like women are saints); spend a day on the street in the company of your neighbourhood friendly homeless man; try to endure a three-hour boardroom meeting (there’s nothing else beyond that, just make them endure it); observe a middle-aged woman as she checks her latest matches on e-Harmony…I could go on.
In short: so much reality, so little future disappointment! I wish I could go back…
Maybe it’s too late for our society though, since we naturally coddle youngsters, but if my blog transmits to a brand new alien society, I highly recommend the extinction of dreams (or at the very least, the murder of the sweet and caring Tenderheart).
Right then, time to leave the bear enclave and find a real live man (any man, I guess…)
ah, sad. My nickname was Care Bear in college. I didn’t have any illusions that I was some kind of super hero, though.
Good luck with the kiddie reality tours – somehow, I don’t think they’ll catch on. or Disney will find a way to crush such an endeavor.
I’m sure you were the loveliest Care Bear in college! 😉
I love that KC banned all Disney movies from her house. That’s a good way to start.
Oh yeah! I remember reading that part! Ava is gonna grow up to be very cool 😉
It was definitely Prince Eric for me growing up. I wanted to be Ariel. In fact, I was at my friend’s baby shower this past weekend (I’ve known her since I was 6) and her mother actually asked me at one point if I remembered how much I wanted to be Ariel when we were little. I swear my face turned as red as Ariel’s hair.
Now, I’m just looking for some frogs to kiss…
hahahaha…I admit, Ariel was my favourite of all the Disney heroines.. 🙂
PS: frogs would be better than bears! 😉
You just reminded me of this “inspiration poster”: http://incredimazing.com/static/media/2008/08/28/8a78212d96652ae/realityworstgame.jpg
I think that sums up your reality proposal 😉
hahaha…that poster is amazing! You just gave me a big laugh 🙂
Great epiphany! Murder Tenderheart though? Some guys are exactly that sweet, but they’re so very, very hard to find. TV definitely skews our perceptions of reality. Only when we’re adults, do we realize it’s escapism…and also a form of brainwashing. We grow up believing in too many fairy tales, then get slapped in the face with each bitter truth we uncover.
I know…maybe we should grow up believing in irreverent comedies, that might be closer to my life 😉 And thanks for reading!
The fact that reality rarely, if ever, lives up to expectations is something which really interests me. It isn’t so much that we should push away the fantasies and wishes, but we should look for all the ways in which we can better reality. We can make changes on an individual level to the way things work, and hope our influence spreads throughout society. Backing off from the fantasy is just as damaging as the urge to back off from reality.
Of course, I am trying to convince people of some very large and fundamental changes in the way they view technology, so I guess I would be a standalone voice for this position.
I do write in jest to an extent (huh?!?!?), so I must say your comment was very easy to connect to…very interesting 🙂
Some pretty brilliant observations here Romi! But I have to agree with bigwords88 that the unreal provides somewhat of a yardstick for the real. I’d sure like to know more about what “very large and fundamental changes” might mean as regards technology, for this is a thing on which I spend a lot of time pondering …
That said, I wholeheartedly agree with your anti-coddling idea for the kiddies. Having raised my own children in a pastoral farm setting, reality was the predominant daily theme, with all its beautiful ugliness. Blossoms from the dirt, as it were. Of course they had their toys, including Care Bears, Cabbage Patch dolls, Smurfs and what-have-you. Those toys collected in a huge wooden crate at the bottom of some stairs that my son tumbled down one day, landing unhurt amidst the stuffed animals.
We even went to Disney World once, in 1991, on the grandparents dime (where “dime” = $500). I found it deeply offensive. Especially Exxon’s exhibit in EPCOT, where they proposed to someday “harness the universe”. OH THE TEMERITY! My kids were having a good time and the grandparents had everything nicely planned out. I tried to keep my existential injury hidden as best I could. But after that exposure to naked capitalistic child exploitation all things Disney were a major turn off. Even Fantasia, which I once liked, for the classical music mostly. Of course, the syrup lovers find this incomprehensible. How could anyone call “the happiest place on earth” a “festering hellhole of materialist evil”?!?! Someone running after you to quickly snatch and dispose of your cigarette butt MEANS NOTHING! It’s ALL ILLUSION! Hot dogs cost FIVE DOLLARS THERE. That’s crime against humanity I tell ya.
Well Romi, you sort of know me, and I think you get this. If and when you have children, please take them to India, as your parents did for you, and never to any so-called Theme Parks. OK? 🙂
““the happiest place on earth” a “festering hellhole of materialist evil”?!?! “….hahaha, you’re right, I totally get every word of this; this was like a very fun blog post within my blog post…thank you! 🙂
David, start here and work your ways forwards. I don’t know, for sure, if the really juicy stuff is going to appear in the next couple of blog posts, or if there is still groundwork to go over, but the changes are as much to do with the way we look at existing tools as it has to do with creating better tools.
Romi, I apologize for such blatant linking. If you don’t feel comfortable with the views I am expressing, please feel free to deep-six this comment.
don’t apologize, you’re merely respond to a request for information! 🙂
Thanks both of you. 🙂
Wow, who crapped in your cereal? Don’t worry my dear (I want you to notice I didn’t say sweetie)all your dreams will come true…sort of.
You’ll get a huge book deal, make it to the top of the NYT bestseller list. You get a movie deal and become rich and famous. You’ll movie to L.A. and meet Colin Ferell. You fall in love and get married. You find out he’s actually gay. You divorce and become bitter and a lesbian. You start hitting the party scene hard. Finally you O.D. on chocolate and vodka in the arms of Lindsey Lohan. Ok, may you’re right. LOL BTW, the care bears do suck ass. ROFL Great post. 🙂
HAHAHAHA…how did the life of my dreams turn into chocolate/vodka OD with Lindsay Lohan? I think I will just quit while I’m behind 😉 …
Haha, I do hate reality sometimes. I always expect cued off ‘cutesy love’ shit to happen, but I’m usually stuck with a posed lemon sour face while someone walks douchely away from me…and you nailed all my unhappiness into one simple post. Care Bears…I used to have one, apparently that fucker didn’t care at all. Reality…cartoon…tv…I’d love to see Chuckie tell his new asian mom, “fuck off, You’re not my real mom.” SEE, real life drama. God damn it, why aren’t we in the same age group, you probably don’t even know who chuckie is…
Wish Bear let me down too. Stupid plush toys. I should have stuck with stealing my brother’s GI Joe figurines…they never elicited any unrealistic expectations.
That’s excellent–one of your best posts ever!
I can understand your disappointment. I was 11, when I discovered there was no Santa Claus. And it really affected me–after all, if Santa Claus wasn’t real, who else wasn’t, Jesus? This is why I would not deceive my children, like that.
I never liked the Care Bears either–too ridiculously perfect. (I also liked “Goofus” better than “Gallant” in the “Highlights” magazine–he was alot more fun!) But the one I hate most is that ******* Barney. I cannot stand him. He is the epitome of political correctness. He’s surrounded by perfect-looking children, of every race and ethnicity, whose smiles are more insulting to your intelligence than those on “Lawrence Welk”!
“I love you, you love me…” what crap! And if that isn’t bad enough, Barney changes the words of songs to make them politically correct. For example, “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain when She Comes” contains the line, “We will kill the old, red rooster, when she comes.” Barney replaces that with “And we’ll all have cake and ice cream when she comes”–if they can’t sing a song without censorship, they shouldn’t sing it at all!
The real fairy tales of old were often quite grim (no pun intended), in certain scenes. The parents who told their children those stories knew better than to set them up for disappointment–and worse!
On a parallel note: My father disliked the show, “Grizzly Adams”, because it could give children the impression that they could just walk up to wild bears, and pet them. And he was right. Seriously, some people may have gotten mauled because of that show. And what about the way black people are portrayed (or rather not portrayed) on television. The unfortunate reality is that most of the violent crime in the United States is committed by black people–not all black people, but a significant number of them. And everybody knows that. But there’s never a black criminal on television, or in film. My point is that political correctness is not only ethically incorrect, because it is sheer dishonesty–but even dangerous, especially for children.
You know I am suprised you aren’t married, I mean you seem like a smart, funny and pretty girl. Guys should be trying harder for you.I liked this post especially the aeroplane part and the other part about making children learn life’s harsh realities. I am thinking of something similar for my children just without mentally scarring them. If they are anything like me they’re going to be some wierd children. Find someone who loves you, I am sure it won’t be that hard to do. I mean I’d hit on you. Seriously now, you can do it.
Haha…thanks for the encouragement on the dating front! Maybe I don’t take compliments well but I appreciate your words! 🙂