Right across from the television in the living room, was my father’s pride and joy, the bookshelf. I loved to see him reach out and pull out a book, I would watch him leaf through until he found the exact section he was looking for. The look of bewilderment would be replaced by a look of relief, as enlightenment dawned on him.
Bit by bit, I devoured the books on that shelf.It is because of that shelf that I am an avid reader
Naturally, as most girls, I loved the bible stories retold with beautiful pictures, the fables, and the fairytales. Books were my favorite form of entertainment, till i discovered the tv remote. And while I expanded my vocabulary, perfected my grammar and learnt the art of storytelling, I missed an equally important lesson until recently.
As I was watching a television show ( i am not ashamed to admit, it was Jerry Springer, the show that requires no brain cells to be used at all) a message from my ex-boyfriend came in. You know the kind, the ones where even though you hate Taylor Swift, you wanna sing the entire song “never getting back together” and leave it on his voicemail instead of typing a reply. I started to wonder why my love life could not be like the fairy tales I had read about as a child. Why my life, in general, could not be like a fable where I pull out the sword from the stone and be declared a king! And i must say as I looked at the television screen, I was comforted that my life was not a special on the show.. or was it?
Then just like the look of enlightenment world pass my father’s face, it came over me. Stories, fairytales, fables are all told to teach a life lesson. Even though the story never seems about you the reader in particular, the truth is it applies to everyone. They are meant to be a guide to how to handle real life situations. We can all learn a life lesson from the stories we read.
What have I learned from those pages of black and white is that life can be colorful… From, the party girl, Cinderella I have learnt that now matter how tired you are from being overworked, always welcome magic and happiness into your life, one magical night is all you need. This lesson I try and remember when on a Friday night i’m exhausted from work but someone calls with the opportunity to go paint the town red. And of course I learnt that a princess looks impeccable and gorgeous at every ball she attends.
From parables I learnt God invented genetically modified foods, so if you have too many friends over, pray over the food, and the five loaves and two fish you had left in your fridge can be a feast. sharing a meal can fill all the bellies around the table and the good company can leave your heart feeling more love than it can contain.
I picked up a few good hair tips from Rapunzel. And from what I considered one of the scariest childhood stories, I learnt to always remember someone’s name before you go into business with them. Rumpelstiltskin is the only reason I take extra efforts to remember every guy I have ever given my number to.
From Humpty Dumpty… well i’m still wondering why if you’re an egg, you’re on a wall in the first place. Which I guess is a lesson in itself.
Then I realized that if these fables teach everyone something, the idea then is that life is a repeat. What is happening to you, has happened to someone else before, and will happen to someone else after. The pessimist may think that means life is not unique, the optimist (who I chose to side with) should infer that if i listen enough to others I have a chance to make the right decision in my life by avoiding their mistakes. I just need to learn.
Back to the title:
That isn’t me in the picture and this isn’t a Jerry Springer special. It is the realization that my ex-boyfriend exhibited the same a**hole traits my sister’s boyfriend had. He had the same beliefs, the same reactions, in the end the same complaints and our relationship fell to a similar demise. My sister saw it early on as I rambled on about “what he’d said… what I’d said… but i’ll forgive him” Unfortunately when she pointed it out I was so adamant in my belief that my relationship was nothing like her’s. Her’s had been a failure, mine would work. I was resolved we were unique to all the other failed relationships I had watched my silly love drunk sister and friends have.
I was dead wrong. Had I chosen to listen, I may have exited earlier and saved myself the $1.99 I used to download Taylor Swift’s song from Itunes.
History repeats itself! The next time I pick up the phone from a friend about a problem, I won’t only play Aunty Agony, I’ll try to remember the scenario, so when it creeps up, I know which fable it relates to.