Monday, August 14, 2006

my original myth

Frances, in her blog and in emails, has talked about the idea of an original myth, the story that we subconsciously use as a guide for our lives. I originally told her that I thought my original myth was "I'm fat and ugly and no one loves me."

But the more I think about it, the more I think my original myth is the Cinderella story, that I am the poor underappreciated girl toiling in the background, waiting for someone to come along and recognize my true worth. I love all the variations of the Cinderella story and I like the modern-day version too -- the makeover story where Stacy and Clinton show up, whisk a woman away to New York City, and send her home to be oohed and ahhed over by all her friends and family.

Notice that the story has a lot of egotistical charm to it -- here I am, working hard and underappreciated but yet secretly better than everyone around me. Someday the prince will come along and see me as more beautiful than all the rest and take me away from all this.

This story has never lost its charm to me, and despite being happily married, it still is in the back of my mind that someday someone will come along who truly appreciates my real value and sees me for what I really am. The prince in this sense is metaphorical rather than literal -- the sense of being special and chosen and finally being recognized for that fact. So "I'm fat and ugly and no one loves me" is really about "No one really loves me the way I deserve to be loved."

It's weird that as I spent the morning thinking about this and what it meant, I find Anne's blog post about feeling like the ugly stepsister. I think that feeling like Cinderella or like the ugly stepsister, or like the Evil Stepmother as I commented on AFG once, is the idea that maybe no one ever gets external validation that, like waving a magic wand, finally settles the idea that you're special and good enough and makes everything all right.

Caroline Myss said: "Give up the myth of the Promised Land because Moses never got there and look at the metaphor. Perfection is not the goal. Recognize what life is and let go of the’s time to live—in present time."

So I'm trying. I'm trying.


  1. Hi Jen - Yes, it's weird that we both are thinking/posting about myths involving the same fairy tale. But you are Cinderella and I am the evil (not ugly - I am beautiful) stepsister.

    Why wouldn't we think we are wonderful, special people that Stacy and Clinton could just wisk away to NYC and transform with a wave of their $5K Visa card and the hated 360-mirror? Everyone I know watches that show and talks about it - probably because we all believe some element of that myth about ourselves.

    Giving up our myths is damn hard. Just recognizing that we have them is a huge step and giving that up sounds like an easy thing but it's just not. But no one said that life was gonna be easy.

    Keep trying, little sister.

  2. Jen, I was wondering what this 'original myth' stuff was that I see come up here and there. I thought this post was really interesting and it makes me wonder what mine light of recent events I'd have to say "I work so hard and noone appreciates me."
    I think I may have more than one though...if that is possible.

  3. Fat Girl Camp (Michele) said:

    "The thing about addicts is: We have low self-esteem and big egos. It's a deadly combo. "

    I don't know how this fits in, but I have been thinking about it for days . . .

  4. I have been thinking about that post in Fat Girl Camp too.

    I agree, Anne, you are beautiful, and not evil, maybe just a little wicked in a fun way.

    Rowan, I guess the original myth comes from The Artist's Way, but I haven't found it yet.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07