• Ashleigh Horn, University of Central Missouri

Becoming a Princess: The realities of life and a matter of perspective


When I was 5 years old, if you’d asked me what my life would look like in another 15 years, I would have told you all about how I was going to marry a prince, wear large ballgowns, and drive a pink Mustang Convertible.

Oh! And I would have lots of cats.


Fast forward 15 years, I live in a less-than-one thousand square foot apartment that—to my dismay—does not allow pets, am not married to a prince, seldomly wear dresses, and drive a slate gray 2011 Subaru Outback.

*Sigh*

To some, it may seem as though I failed to live up to my childhood dreams. However, my reality today far surpasses what I ever imagined possible.

As I’ve gotten older, matured, and experienced more in life, my vision of reality and what my future may hold has continued to evolve; my perspective has changed. Though finding out and accepting some realities has been harder than others—like the fact that getting older is EXPENSIVE—each new truth means that I’m just a little bit closer to living a reality designed specifically and perfectly for me.

My 5-year-old vision of becoming royalty may seem far-fetched, or even impossible to some, yet it seemed possible at the time. This is because our vision of the future is shaped by our experiences. As a little girl, I spent years dressing up in sparkly gowns and watching movies about princesses. The storylines were good. They were about women who took their realities, dreamt big, and made a life for themselves that they did not imagine could be their own. The process was one of transformation. I spent years believing I was a princess, so why wouldn’t the same future of transformation be possible for me?

The dream of transformation is my reality. Despite the lack of gowns in my closet, I live a life with the fullness and richness of a princess. Not only do I have enough to pay my rent, but I’m also surrounded by a loving group of friends and family and have continuing aspirations for the future as I learn more about what I’m capable of achieving. I also hold the power to extend the kindness of Belle, Jasmine, or even Snow White to those around me.

Because, if I’m honest, it was their gentleness and their vision of living purposeful lives--filled with encouraging words and helping everyone around them--that drew me to many of these princesses. I watched their stories again and again.

I don’t know if this is a message of hope, thankfulness for coming to terms with the realities of life, or excitement for the unknowns in my future. However, I want to encourage you to believe that no dream is ever out of reach. Sometimes, whether or not you’ve achieved it is a matter of perspective.

As Douglas H. Everette once said, “There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality, and then there are those who turn one into the other.”

Many times, the richness of reality may far surpass what your child self could have ever imagined possible.

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