A Millenial Fairy Tale
Updated: Jul 26, 2022
Once upon a time, there was a chubby little princess who lived a charmed life.
She was so funny, so beautiful, so full of promise. Every person she met told her how wonderful her life would be, how successful and fulfilled she’d be, and how blessed by God she’d be if she’d just followed the path laid out in front of her.
“I do everything I do to give you a better life than I had,” said every adult in her life.
“Go to college, get a good-paying job, follow the path to Financial Stability and rule your kingdom accordingly,” said the oracles and wise men.
The princess smiled and began to glow with a light from somewhere deep inside. “I’m so ready for the blessed life you describe!”
So the princess did her best to follow the path before her. She went to college. She got not one, but several good-paying jobs over the years. So far, she had perfectly traversed the path to Financial Stability--followed the map to the letter.
Yet still, the final destination eluded her.
“What am I doing wrong?” she wondered. “Have I made a mistake, is there something broken I can fix?” She went searching for the answers.
The princess journeyed high and low, in and out, around and around. Sought wisdom in every corner of the world she could find it, discovering along the way just how wide the world was. She learned so much about herself or better said: themself. They learned their favorite color (green), favorite hobby (reading), favorite activity (making art with friends), and favorite food texture (crunchy ones). Then they learned that blessings come from many gods; and, the point wasn’t which god gave them, but how the blessing enables you to help people. They learned this, and more, which brought them hope.
Fueled by this new knowledge, the princess understood more clearly how to travel the path to Financial Stability. They set out with clear eyes and conviction. But they quickly discovered that this path was significantly less easy to navigate. So they kept looking for the solution that would make arriving at their destination possible.
They found a new solution, tried it, and failed. Tried another new solution, and failed. Over and over. With each new attempt, each new cycle, the princess lost a little bit more of the light inside them.
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up,” said Thomas Edison, indirectly, through meme after meme.
And so, they try, tried again. And again and again.
Until one day, the princess, robbed of every ounce of light, finally understood why every new solution, no matter how promising, never delivered them to the end of their path. As it turned out, the path the princess was traveling was defended by a hideous monster, so large they couldn’t fathom its full size, named Late Stage Capitalism. No one could get to Financial Stability, except through it. This monster, deployed by the 1% most wealthy, was responsible for every foul thing the princess had ever encountered or seen. It had destroyed every path for people like the princess to reach the promised land of Financial Stability, reserved entry for only a few.
The princess felt powerless--was powerless, largely. They had been chewed up, spit out, and composted by a monster that seemed foundational to the turning of the earth. The monster had tainted everything, all the heroes of their past, all the goals they had aimed for, all the promises made to them. The oracles were wrong and Thomas Edison was a thief and a liar. They lived in a dystopia that hid behind violent ignorance.
For a moment, the princess believed this might be the end of their path, that they might die as the light inside them had. But as they sank deep down into the vast darkness where their light had once been, they saw something remarkable.
A spark. A flicker. Their light, though unbelievably dimmed, had not, in fact, gone out.
“Well, now what?” They collapsed, exhausted, in front of the tiny flame. “I’m so glad you asked,” said the flame. “I have some ideas.”
Together, the two of them sat there scheming. Charting out a path to a brand new destination, one they created inside themselves, called A Life Well Lived. They knew they would have to deal with Late Stage Capitalism and those who used it to guard their homogenous promised land. They knew there would be sleeper agents for the monster they had to overcome, some of those agents still living inside the princess. But, most importantly, they knew that their new destination and the flame that illuminated it, A Life Well Lived, could never be destroyed by Late Stage Capitalism, try though it might.
Now, the princess doesn’t worry about paths so much, because they carry their promised land with them everywhere. With no destination shrouding their view, they can clearly see what needs to be done.
They must slay the monster. Late Stage Capitalism needs to die. First inside themself, then everywhere else.
Okay, cards on the table, I did not expect to cry as much as I did writing the fairy tale origin story of myself. But, cry I did--big ole tears running through the makeup I inexplicably put on today. Contemplating the dark times feels very raw as I'm just barely on the other side of them.
I, like most of us, had a rough last….. Fifteen years? Fucking hell I’m tired.
Also, did I say “princess”? Because I definitely meant “gremlin”. But the rest is the same.
Getting to my point eventually...
Why am I writing this blog?
I’m so glad you asked, says the flame inside me.
Because this is my debut as an Anti-Capitalist Author!
For my entire life, I have been drawn to books. As a source of escape, learning, grounding, and everything in between, stories are how I engage with the world--how I sense it. From the first book I ever read to the 6 books I currently have checked out from the library, reading has always been my favorite way to spend time.
Later in my life, the joy of books revealed itself to be a joy of story-telling in general with newly discovered loves in theater and film. Now, I could inhabit the stories I escaped to, make their words come to life, and help others escape into them too. Stories became the air I breathed, the food I ate, and the bed I slept in.
But then that fuckin' monster showed up and ruined it all. Most of you reading this will know what happened next, either because you know me and were there for that part, or you know what the monster did to your own passions. Regardless, I don’t need to go into detail here, because y’all already have vivid images of that motherfucker.
I tell you all of this so that when I say, the tiny flame inside of me is my love for story-telling, you will understand. That is the spark I’m fanning into flame so I can lead a Life Well Lived.
I don’t exactly know HOW that will happen, or what the future will hold. All I know is that I’m writing my first novel as we speak and I still have to pay my bills. Refusing to let the latter ruin the former is my new guiding star, but they are both still true. (Well, technically, I could stop paying my bills. But then I would be homeless, and hungry, my pets would die, and I would have no access to any kind of quality of life. I have decided I don’t want that.)
For the past several years I have been slowly withering in a series of “day jobs”. I say “withering” because we live in a society that is so rigidly controlled by a tiny subset of people, that completely normal neurotypes--like mine--have to be labeled as a “disability”. Because I don’t think like the neurotypical brain, which is apparently the ultimate truth we must base society on, it’s a disability.
The kind of disability that can get you fired for not understanding office politics but that you can’t sue them for (yes I tried).
So here I am: unemployed, enraged, and unclear about how I’m going to pay rent in a few months when the savings run out. But I’m also, for the first time, I’m free. Free to think creatively about how to sustain my existence. Free to take this unplanned halt and use it to change my story. Free to take a leap of faith that the flame inside me can sustain me with the help of my community.
My wish, my heartfelt desire, the flame that burns inside me, is to write novels and sustain myself from that. To tell stories that convict and uplift. To tell stories where fat people do heroic things. To tell stories that inspire us to rebel.
But, I’m no longer on a rigid path, so if it doesn’t look exactly like that? That’s just fine! The flame is still there, guiding me.
It’s all part of the plan to live A Life Well Lived.