Monday, March 24, 2008
Am I a Princess?
I was recently babysitting a fun 6-year-old who, like most 6-year-old girls, is absolutely entranced with princesses. The Disney princesses are her heroes and the Barbie movies are the greatest ever. She has a full dress-up box, every princess barbie, and a princess coloring book. Guess what we play when I come! Of course, while we're coloring, she's talking as only a little girl can about the different styles of princess dresses and the latest Fairytopia movie. She mentioned a few qualifications for a princess that I didn't know about (I probably knew it when I was six, but those things just leave you). She was not going to color one single part of her princess's dress brown, because that might look like mud.
"Princesses can NEVER get dirty." she told me, while her little sister decorated her hand with a marker.
"Really? They can't?" I'd had my suspicions from hanging out with this chick, but this confirmed them!
"No. They never do. Well, actually --- (she named a girl I'd never heard of - again) got dirty once. Mud splashed on her dress in her movie. But she wasn't a very good princess anyway."
"Oh" says I.
"Princesses can never leave the palace either!" She continued, pulling out another coloring sheet.
This one I really didn't know about, in all my ignorance. "They can't? Why not?"
Little Girlfriend (as I've come to call her) shrugged. "I don't know. But they really can't!"
"Hmm. Well, wouldn't that be boring?"
She thought for about five seconds. "Ummm... no."
"Oh. Well, ok."
That night I left with the usual babysitting fee and some savvy knowledge about princesses. I remember when princesses were just all that to me too, and I'll admit, I still think pretty dresses are pretty and they do exist in my... uh... subconsciousness maybe? Or maybe the word is imagination that extends into reality. I'm in denial that they're extinct. That is, I can't say out loud that they don't exist, and if I do, I feel like such an evil witch I slap myself and take it right back. But now I get to thinking, "what IS a princess really? What is my first image at the word PRINCESS?"
Ok, so there aren't any princesses like in the Disney movies. As long as I end the sentence with "Disney" I an say it fine. But if there WERE, who would need them? I mean, these girls have fairy-godmothers when you don't, befriend dwarves, dragons and all other kinds of neat species I want to get autographs from, they can all sing, and they meet the cutest, nicest, richest, most chivalrous guys in the kingdom and marry them the next day. Not to mention you pay taxes for fabric so they can get their bird and mouse friends to sew pretty dresses you couldn't ever have. And I just learned they can never set their little feet out of the palace so you could never meet them even if you wanted to. Snap! Is that what a princess is? Sounds like the only one living happily ever after is her (and maybe prince Charming too, Little Girlfriend didn't mention him). Where does everybody else fit into this agenda? I mean, it sounds like the princess race is selfish! *Gasp! I don't think they're supposed to know what that word means!* Here's a description of a real true princess:
"Seventeen - and knew eight languages - in music peerless - her needle perfect, and her learning beyond the churchmen; yet so meek, so modest, so wife-like humble to the trivial boy mismatched with her for policy! I have heard she would not take a last farewell of him; she feared it might unman him for his end. She could not be unmanned - no, nor outwoman'd. Seventeen - a rose of grace! Girl never breathed to rival such a rose; rose never blew that equaled to such a bud?"
This is what Tennyson said of Lady Jane Grey. She was a servant to her people and her God, being Queen of England for a short time, until she and her husband were unjustly accused of high treason and sentenced to death. She was allowed to say a last farewell to her husband, but she refused to see him, afraid that it would make them break down and be unable to face death with calmness. She engraved these words on the walls of her prison with a pin,
That thou from others' ills art free
The cross that now I suffer might
Tomorrow haply fall on thee.
Endless all malice, if our God is nigh:
Fruitless all pains, if He His help deny.
Patient I pass these gloomy hours away,
And wait the morning of eternal day."
Bravely she walked up to the scaffold, said a few words to the people, and was executed, strong in her faith the entire time. It is much more beautiful than Sleeping Beauty. There's a huge difference: Lady Jane Grey served others and had her eyes toward the goal. THAT is God's call for us as his daughters, his princesses. But He may make it so that you don't get your head chopped off, and who knows? Maybe Prince Charming is out there somewhere too! A real princess isn't just lightheartedness and magic and dresses and princes - a real princess is a daughter of the High King with bravery, selflessness, a serving spirit, grace, and love.
His kingdom come!