Modern Day Princess
By Luz Calix
Not every fairytale is as obvious as the ones we see on our TV screens. And not all princesses get their happy ever after.
Growing up, my favorite princess was the Little Mermaid. Weird way to start, isn’t it? While growing up, I never realized the heartache that was to come. No one ever does. Naive and young. So young and naive that I wished to be Ariel. I wanted to be a mermaid that swam without looking back. It wasn’t until I grew older that I realized I hated the ocean. But that’s not the point of this story. You see, I never took the time to look at everything else around me. Or else maybe I would’ve realized instead of Little Mermaid being my favorite, it should’ve been Tangled. More specifically, Rapunzel.
“The outside world isn’t what it used to be. It’s dangerous.” That’s what I’ve always been told by my mother and grandmother. And they’re not wrong. At all. But the fear they created in our home was the only danger I grew to know. You see, my mother Gothel wasn’t just one person but everyone around me. Though now that I think about it, my grandma does resemble her, hair and all.
When I was younger, the walls that surrounded me seemed so bright that the outside couldn’t compare. It’s where everything I loved was, so why even go outside? But as I grew up, the urge to go out and grow into my own person began to overwhelm me. It pushed and pulled like waves during a full moon. It wasn’t something I could control. The home I once loved began to dull, and the view from outside my barred window seemed to glow brighter and brighter. Even in the muddy New York weather, my home was always darker. Even in the night, the star-less sky shined in a way I could never be talented enough to describe.
I did go outside once in a while, but I was always guarded. I couldn’t step out of line. I could go out either for school or for anything to do with my family. That has never been a problem, but once I grew to meet new people, I came to realize that the chains on me were a lot tighter than what I once had imagined.
“No.” The only answer I’d get when I asked to go see my friends. “No.” When I wanted to go out to the park. “No.” When I asked to do anything after school. It got to the point where friends and teachers stopped asking me about anything outside of school. The distance between us grew. The outside world was so close yet out of reach, and I could do absolutely nothing about it.
It continued like that for a while. It wasn’t until high school that I began to rebel slightly. I’m too much of a coward to step too far away from the line, but I did little by little. Staying to eat with friends after-school. Joined clubs and told them both after I’d already been accepted. Giving them no choice but to accept. It was little freedom compared to everyone around me, but it was more than I had ever been used to.
But that’s when the problems began to arise. My mom was not happy at all. It led to arguments and what I call my angst arc. The angst seems to never end. For a while, I believed that maybe this is what the end of my story would always be like. Fighting and the feeling of being stuck. Maybe, instead of Ariel, I’m really Rapunzel. Stuck so far away from everything outside yet so close all at the same time.
The difference is that I’m stuck in the real world. There is no magic hair, no Prince Charming, or more accurately a thief, to break me out of my tower, no evil witch. She’s not evil. She’s just misguided, and that makes everything worse in a way. They both are. So stuck in their ways that it feels like I’ll never be free because no matter how much they hurt me, I love them. It’s who I am.
I’ve always had the idea to write a short piece of my life in a more dramatic perspective. It wasn’t until I attended the “Turning Epiphanies into Essays” that I felt inspired enough to actually write it out. I learned that my realization or epiphany was something I could recognize but never really come to turn with until I decided to dive a little bit into those emotions and finally write it out.
Luz M. Calix is currently a freshman in college in the Bronx, NY, She has a passion for creative writing and poetry and creating stories for others to enjoy. She is currently a mentee in the Writing Works program and looking forward to growing as a student throughout her first year of college.