US

The pursuit of a happily ever after

US
By Aleezeh Fatimah Hashmi
Fri, 10, 21

Later as I grew up, I read romance novels, watched a whole lot of movies based on the concept of love as one’s saviour and my belief grew stronger....

The pursuit of a happily ever after

INTROSPECTION

I was seven years old when my grandmother read Cinderella to me. It was one of the first stories I heard in my childhood which introduced me to the concept of love as a saviour - Cinderella was saved from her stepmother and sisters because of the prince, and it made the hopeless romantic in me believe that no matter what happens, I will grow up into a Cinderella who will forget her shoe somewhere so that she can be found by her prince and then we’ll live our happily ever after.

The pursuit of a happily ever after

Later as I grew up, I read romance novels, watched a whole lot of movies based on the concept of love as one’s saviour and my belief grew stronger.

Just like how I grew up this way, most of the people in our society grow up similarly. It is majorly because as a typical South Asian society, our main focus is always marriage and older generations have also associated tiny privileges like getting a haircut, travelling, etc. with it especially when it comes to women.

So most of us romanticize it to an extent where we devote our lives to finding love and the irony is sometimes even love can’t keep us happy. Even when we have found it, kept it, felt it, preserved it, it fails to keep us happy and give us a happily ever after we looked for all our lives. So, is it a fair business?

The pursuit of a happily ever after

When it comes to relationships, complexity is still misunderstood by a majority of people. We look at love through the eyes of what we have learned through movies, which is a façade, because neither books nor movies show the messy side of love - the side where two people are on the verge of giving up on each other, the side where people fall out of love, the side where one partner isn’t courageous enough to take stand for the person he/she claims to love, the side where rotten standards of beauty, morals, family values come in between two people who genuinely want to be together, the messy side of love which doesn’t give a happily ever after but traumas and trust issues. What we read through pages and see on our screens is far different from what happens in real life and it is sad how we’re never taught to differentiate between fiction and reality.

Due to obsession with happily ever after and “finding the one”, we’re producing a generation of individuals that is traumatized in the name of love. Who have gone through brutal physical, mental, and emotional abuse because we’ve been told that love demands sacrifices and compromises. Look at the relationships most of the parents share in our society; it is solely based on compromises and what makes me angry about it is, these people expect us to follow the same path. We know, we can see that these people would have done so much more in their lives if they weren’t chasing happily ever after yet they want to pretend like everything is fine with their relationships.

The pursuit of a happily ever after

The truth is, happily ever after isn’t limited to love, relationships, and finding the one.

Striving towards better mental health can be someone’s happily ever after, coming out of an abusive relationship can be someone’s happily ever after, being able to afford meals can be someone’s happily ever after, being able to move forward with a traumatic past can be someone’s happily ever after. We need to understand that it is not always roses and dates when we imagine a happily ever after.

Sometimes it’s just survival that becomes our happily ever after.