Thanks to my current job I actually spend a lot of time feeling like the latter- sometimes like Cinderella at the end of the film, you know when everyone calls her a Princess and people want her photograph and make her feel special- and then sometimes like the beginning of the film where she can't get anything right and can't fulfill everyone's needs quickly enough.
Using every spare minute I get to write my blog, note down novel ideas and come up with rhymes for children's stories makes me feel like I'm a writer too. Not a very successful one just yet, but a writer nonetheless.
So really, if we don't get too technical about it, I am a writer and a princess right now.
And what I have discovered in being an apprentice princess-slash-writer, is that one of the key features of both jobs is total and utter faith in love. Not just any love- not love for peanut butter cups or dogs or the way that Scottish people say 'soup'- but a certain type of romantic, unconditional fairytale love.
Now I'm warning you that this next part is slightly controversial. I apologise in advance.
A few days ago I horrified a friend by telling her that I don't believe that love conquers all.
As the words came out of my mouth her head shot up and she stammered, with a pained look on her face 'but you're a princess.'
She is, of course, right. I am a princess. So I should believe that love conquers all, shouldn't I?
Except that sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes the circumstances are just wrong. Sometimes humans do things that cannot be forgiven. Sometimes, and I hate to say it, there are more important things than just raw love.
In my world, there are generally two theories on love...
1. Love Conquers All.
So this is the one that society would have us believe you need to subscribe to if you want to be a writer and a princess. The rules are as follows:
- There is one person and only one person out there for everybody.
- No matter what happens between you, you will end up together.
- No matter what problems you face, you will end up together.
- No matter what unexpected barriers pop up, you will end up together.
- You will end up with the one for you.
- The three key words in life are 'meant', 'to' and 'be'.
- You will live happily ever after.
2. Love Is A Battlefield.
This one takes a slightly different, maybe more realistic stance (depending on your point of view I guess).
- It will only work out if the circumstances are right.
- Both parties must be willing to make an effort.
- Circumstances have to make that effort as minimal as possible.
- Any two people can make it work-as long as steps one, two and three are all completed.
Now as a budding writer and princess I am absolutely expected to believe in the first one- I am meant to be looking for my Prince, to believe that The One is out there and that against all odds we will end up together- otherwise how am I supposed to write happy endings?
There is actually a little part of me that does.
She sits in a little corner of my imagination, picturing the scene when I will lock eyes across a room with a man who looks vaguely like Bradley Cooper and realise I've found Him. She's the same one who imagines that the gorgeous lad that I sometimes bump into in Epcot is one day going to reveal his love for me via a flashmob, and that Pete Waterman's going to wander into The Rose and Crown any minute now and whisk me away to be a member of the new Steps.
But as much fun as she is, I don't normally listen to her for very long.
In my experience (I know I'm only 24 but experience is the only thing I can base my opinions on), real love takes a lot of work, sacrifice, patience and luck.
Any kind of love does.
Look at the love between families. I have a lot of faith in my family's love for me. I know that I could do almost anything and still rely on my parents and brothers to love me unconditionally. But imagine if there was a theory that said you shouldn't have to work that hard at being a family? You shouldn't need work, sacrifice, patience and luck when it comes to your family because everything should just work out?
I'm not sure that my family would have stuck around.
There was the time that me and my brothers smashed a hole in the door and the glass from a picture while my parents were away, the time that my brother read the most mortifying text from my phone to my mum (it was ten years ago and I still die a little inside when I think about it), the time that I revealed to the girl that he had a huge crush on that my brother still sucked his thumb.
The time that I revealed again that he sucked his thumb at an unreasonable age in my blog. (That's this time right here, sorry Mowgli.)
I know that I have driven (and will continue to drive) my brothers and my parents crazy, and they will continue to do the same to me, but between us we'll work those things out and continue to love one another forever.
Friendship is exactly the same.
I have three best friends: Puumba, Jessie and Minnie Mouse.
I'm fairly sure they could each write a book on the times that we've driven each other insane. Imagine if we'd stopped being friends the first time we argued because there were films and books that told us that friends should never upset each other?
I can't imagine it. The past eight years would have been pointless without them.
Now I'm writing about this today because my whole month seems to have been ruled by love. Love between my family, between my friends, love surrounding me...
Everyone that I live, speak and work with at the moment seems to be having some kind of love-related drama, so I've discussed this with a lot of people and come to the conclusion that the fairytale view of love actually puts a lot of pressure on everyone. It sets expectations far too high, it makes people continue to look for love outside of their own relationship (just in case the one making you happy right now isn't The One), it makes people think about Forever instead of Right Now, and it makes people unwilling to make the effort for something that actually could work.
Don't get me wrong- I totally believe in love. I love my family and my friends, I love Disney, I love anything with peanut butter and chocolate, I love my dog, my rabbit, the Irish accent, Friends, boybands, the name Josh, anything with Jennifer Aniston in it, the Abercrombie and Fitch scent, working with children, country music, everything Italian, and anything green.
But I'm starting to think that there might be room for a princess-slash-writer who's a little bit more realistic about love. Maybe I will find The One. Maybe I'll fly home from America to find my first ever boyfriend- the one that I broke up with when I was nineteen- waiting for me at the airport, holding Love-Actually-style pieces of card revealing that he still loves me and wants to marry me, at which point I'll look into his eyes and realise that I want to marry him too- that The One for me has been there waiting the whole time!
Or maybe I won't.
Maybe I'll travel for a few more years, fall in love with more foreign food, exotic accents and eccentric music, then return home and marry someone that I have to make an effort with but who makes that effort totally worthwhile. Someone who drives me crazy but who life would be pointless without- someone who brings out in me the same love as my family and my best friends do.
So this is me introducing a new kind of princess....
...who lives happily ever after as a writer.
Despite the lack of fairytale imagination :)