On a Sunday afternoon, we watched Cinderella- Disney’s rendering of a fairy tale I’ve seen start to finish at least a dozen times. We all know the story… Cinderella, forced into servitude by a wicked stepmother and evil stepsisters, rises to royalty when magic brings her one night at the prince’s ball. To me, it’s the perfect fairy tale. There is a reason the story and the film are timeless. It’s simple. There’s nothing perplexing here. It’s a linear story, nothing to tangle you or lead you astray. In 1950 the film was a spectacle, an impressive feat in animation and color. 70 years later the film holds up. Watching it this time I was quickly captivated, despite having seen it so many times before. Moments like Lady Tremaine taunting Cinderella with the promise that she can attend the Prince’s ball, IF she can complete an impossible list of chores and find a dress still disgusted and somehow surprised me. A flick of the Fairy Godmother’s sparkly wand still dazzled me. I breathed an audible sign of relief when Cinderella ran down the stairs with seconds to spare, to try on the glass slipper. I felt these reactions more so now than as a girl.
The reason for this is deeper than a 30-something millennial Mom’s Disney obsession. It’s that Cinderella is a fairy tale everyone has experienced. Have you ever had a Cinderella moment? You’re sure to find one if you try. I’ve never knitted a mouse a sweater, but I have been generous to someone who needed my help. I’ve never had a dress ripped from my body, but I did have plans ruined when my date to the high school dance found me after school, days before the big night to tell me he decided he would rather go with someone else. Or the time when I was 7 or 8 and had a door slammed, quite literally, in my face when the girls down the street invited me to watch a movie at their house, and when I arrived plucked the VHS from my hands and locked me out. Or the feeling of being one exam away from my dream job and not passing it by ONE POINT. I cried for hours, absolutely crestfallen, when the county called me to say the requirements had changed over the summer and now that exam didn’t matter. That was a Bippity Boppity blessing right there. I’ve also had glass slipper moments, walking into a jeweler with my Mr. WatchUponAStar when he was my boyfriend and finding my dream engagement ring, then realizing the brand of the ring was his last name and the year he was born. (Seriously!) And the times in my life where giving or receiving kindness has felt like magic? Incalculable.
The magic is that this fairy tale is timeless. It has been around for centuries before Disney animated it. It’s strong and sincere, and we have all been Cinderella before.