I believe in magic. There I said it. I believe in magic. I wish I could burst into a choreographed flash mob of Disney-proportion because the sun is shining and the birds are singing.
Like a small child, I can watch Disney movies, new and old, repeatedly and without tire. Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium puts me in a good mood on my worst days because I am willing to suspend my disbelief and accept that a magical toy store can grieve the loss of an owner. Why confess all this? Because more than just longing for Hawaii, my heart needs magic to exist.
Yes. I am indeed a twenty-seven year old woman (child) still living at home, dreaming of magic and princes and epic love and happiness and guaranteed redemption and a happy ending. Why write this? Because I have been listening to a lot of Disney music lately and whilst listening to Mulan’s I’ll Make a Man out of You for the millionth time, I started to feel a bit foolish and embarrassed (It wasn’t in public, I swear).
Society is well-acquainted with the perpetual man-child archetype: a thirty-something living in his parent’s basement, playing video games, having big dreams of doing something that will really change his entire world but never musters up the strength to actually go for it until he meets the determined female lead who usually cleans up his act and believes in him…you know the rest.
However, where is the perpetual woman-child? Never do you see a woman (child) in her late twenties, living care-free with her head full of happiness and magic and optimism and loveliness, waiting to be saved by her prince charming; unless you’re watching something animated. Or Enchanted. Why aren’t these women ever cast as leading characters? Because they don’t exist. Women (I am speaking very generally here) are raised with an unwavering sense of urgency. Whether it’s taking care of friends or family, working to put gas in the tank, going to school, cooking, laundry, primping to go out…there is always something to do and/or someone to take care of (even if it is only herself. And/or her cat(s)).
I don’t deny my participation in this gender job description, but at times it’s overwhelming and stressful. Some turn to happy hour, partying, sleeping, eating, etc. When I get stressed to the point of nausea and anxiety, I turn up the Disney music, pop in one of my favorite movies, or open a book I’ve been reading to sweep me away from reality and into the land of not, the world of dreams, a level of make-believe. Does this make me a perpetual woman-child? Maybe yes, maybe no. I still have all of responsibilities of an adult. I can appear very adult-like in a business setting. Meanwhile, my mind is full of princess dresses with an obscene amount of tulle, talking animals, and fairy godmothers.
Sometimes it feels like a shameful addiction, like those people who eat chalk or their couch cushions in the privacy of their own homes. There have been times I had mentioned my fascination with Disney, love of whimsical stories, happiness at just being in the presence of Cinderella’s Castle, and people look like me like I am a crazy person. Grow up. YOU GROW UP. I don’t have to.
This is why I can’t wait to have children of my own. The love of things designated as childish are no longer off limits to you because you appear to be satiating your child’s need for magic and wonder. Well, I’ll tell you something: I never grew out of that phase. Ever. I don’t plan to either. I simply need magic in my life to survive. More than just believing in magic, I need to believe.
Belief and the willing suspension of disbelief are imperative to my survival in the adult world. Let me explain: I need to suspend disbelief to enjoy things around me. Think about it this way – did you ever read a book or watch a movie and find yourself so in tune with the character/storyline that their heartbreak causes you to weep, sometimes inconsolably? In that instance you are engaging with the willing suspension of disbelief. You know that these people aren’t real and this moment doesn’t exist in life, yet you are so mentally and emotionally engaged with the story, the characters, the emotions that you actively feel for them. Maybe it’s the conjuring of a memory or maybe you really did have an eyelash in your eye – whatever. I am willing to believe that you know what I mean.
So if we all engage in this suspension, why do I feel like others judge me as a perpetual woman-child because of my preference towards the fantastical and extraordinary? The simple answer is: they do. But that’s okay. I will go on crying for Evangeline in The Princess and the Frog, admiring Belle for being an avid reader and passing up on the shallowness of Gaston, smiling for the triumph of true love in Once Upon a Time…
At the end of the day, I still feel like a foolish child. I will go on feeling like a child in a room full of adults, even though they are my age and my peers. But I will smile, try to blend in, make small talk. Because only I know that fairy dust makes people fly, stepping foot into the Magic Kingdom is like walking into the Wonder Emporium, true love will find a way, redemption will always come to the good, and that I WILL live happily ever after. One day.