Okay ladies, it’s time for you to meet Rapunzel – you know, the one with the long and very strong hair who grew up locked in a tower? Now you’ll remember from last week that we agreed upon a very important point: we are the heroines in these fairytales, they are based on our lives as women, and not the fantasies we may have held as little girls. So with that in mind, let’s turn our attention to our Rapunzel . . .
There she is in her tower, looking out the window at the forest all around and occasionally glancing down toward the ground, scanning the shrubs and bushes for her adopted mother (the enchantress). This young woman has literally been locked in one room for years. What does she do between her visits when all alone? Does she brush her hair a 1000 times? Does she floss her teeth meticulously? Does she read her favourite book and act out the best scenes? (She’s currently enjoying Fifty Shades of Grey, the poor dear.)
Well maybe she does all that for an hour or two a day, but do you want to know what our Rapunzel really gets up to while trapped in that tower? I am 100% positive this is her main pastime. Why? Because I was once locked in a tower of my own making, and like Rapunzel, I had the means to escape, but not the confidence to follow through.
Simply put, Rapunzel (much like myself when life was at its most difficult) dreams of a better life.
What is a better life to you? Everyone has their own personal ideals and notions of what would make them most happy. For some it’s success in their career, for others it’s to take more personal time, and for even more it’s to find a love that gives as much as it receives.
And everyone, at some point, will encounter their own tower. In ways the tower can offer security from the unknown: Rapunzel, as she stares into the forest below, occasionally glimpses wild cats, giant bears and bright red snakes . . . there is danger beyond the comfort zone. And in other ways, it is our prison rather than our comfort; circumstances seem to hold us in our misery, and the idea of breaking free is so overwhelming that it may as well be impossible.
Except, if you look again at Rapunzel, and if you were to somehow fly up that tower (maybe on the back of a goose, since we’re talking fairytales) and actually shake her hand and get a really good look at her room, you’d see, and you could point out to her at that time, that she is fully equipped to escape. There on her bedroom dresser is a safety razor with which she shaves her legs. And you should ask her this simple question: “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, won’t you cut your own hair?”
Why doesn’t she let down her own hair? Snip. Snip. Snip. And suddenly she’s free to live the life of which she’s always dreamt. Why does Rapunzel choose to stay locked in her tower? Why did I choose to tolerate an emotionally abusive relationship? Why do we not follow our dreams of a better life?
It all boils down to fear, doesn’t it? The question here is how do we overcome our fear – whether it’s fear of disappointment, fear of failure, fear of change . . . how do we overcome our fear?
Wouldn’t it have been awesome if Rapunzel had had a friend looking out for her? Let’s say that she had a girlfriend named Kizzy who lived in a tower on the other side of the forest (a tower with an elevator, so Kizzy was free to come and go as she pleased, unlike Rapunzel) – and they communicated via their cell phones, raking up a thousand texts a month in chit-chat. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if Princess Kizzy (who in real life would be your friend, your coach, your mentor, etc) just said: “Rapunzel, you’ve got the means to escape, but you’re just too afraid to act.”
What would have happened then? You have to wonder, don’t you? The truth is that that’s a game-changing kind of support. With a friend like Kizzy, the story would may gone much differently for our Rapunzel.
So what about you: How do you let down your hair – how do you rescue yourself, how do you live the life of your dreams, how do you chase after your happiness? (Comments go here on the right! Just click through.)
More on the tower, the enchantress and the fairy tale next week. Stay tuned for more adventures, leadership challenges and character confrontations!
Till next time,
Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, bringing herknowledge of resilience, perseverance, and changing perception to others. She aspires to help women explode their success. For more posts and experiences, join Camille at her Sister Leadership page, connect on Twitter, and follow on Facebook. Welcome to the Sister Leadership community!