Once upon a time, in a land, lush, and green; there lived a princess. Like many princesses of her time, this princess didn’t believe in sitting in her tower and waiting for her Prince Charming to appear. So instead, she worked hard, studied, and built her own castle. She embraced her freedom and traveled the world. She danced with frogs on table tops, jumped into the sky and swam with creatures of the ocean.
During one of her crazy adventures, she collided with her Prince Charming and madly in love, they got married. The prince was suddenly summoned to work in lands, far, far, away; so the princess left her magical kingdom and followed her new prince. This is when a powerful spell was cast upon the princess. As soon as she left her kingdom abode, she became invisible.
This was a very unique spell because it grew stronger with time. Whenever the princess moved to a new land or had another baby, she disappeared even further. The princess thought that she was being punished for doing something wrong. And so she tried tirelessly to be good. She thought that if she gave more of her self, more of her mind, body, spirit and soul, she could break the spell. It didn’t work and she eventually accepted her fate and lived her life as being unseen…
I recently took a break from Jakarta. With amazing love, and selfless support from my Prince Charming, he forced me out of the door and took care of our children (now this is during Idul Fitri with no nanny or maid! 😱) He gave me space to reconnect with myself and travel to Europe. On. My. Own.
It wasn’t easy for me to leave my family. I had never fathomed a trip away before. I accepted my life and role in our household, and for the most part, I happily embraced it.
The vacation itself had many challenges. I had constant feelings of guilt and sadness. Sadness for being away from my family and guilt for loving every second of it. Sadness for feeling like I’d lost myself. Sadness for feeling guilty for doing things that I loved, and for my own pleasure only. And the biggest sadness of all…is that I had fallen down into such a deep spell of feeling invisible and I accepted this nothingness as being normal.
Well, on this vacation, I let my emotions outpour, felt the highs and lows. I tried to be kind to myself and began to fall in love with myself again.
I did things that I never allowed myself to do at home. Like sleeping in a bed on my own without being interrupted by my kids. Eating a complete meal that I enjoyed, rather than picking on left over scraps from my family. Drinking my coffee while it was hot. Going out and socializing without worrying what time I should get home or whose needs I should tend to in the morning. Talking about myself as an individual person, with no relation to how many children I have, or what job my husband does. Sunbathing. Listening to songs that I liked with explicit swearing. Watching three movies in a row, on my plane ride. Being seen as a person, as me.
Although I can’t say that my journey to self discovery is complete, all of these things definitely helped me to get out of that ‘mummy and wife mode’ that I was stuck in. I felt like I was reappearing in the world again. And the most unbelievable thing happened when I returned home. I felt like my husband and children saw me differently, and I felt a positive shift too. An intangible change that I can’t explain but it definitely has been good for all of us.
One day, a hungry dragon tried to enter into the princess’ castle! The princess quickly leaped up with her sword and fiercely swung it towards the dragon. This scared the dragon away. That night, the princess couldn’t sleep. Something inside of her had awakened. Where did her power and bravery come from? How did the dragon see her? Wasn’t she invisible?
This was the night she realized that there was no spell. She wasn’t invisible! She had chosen to shrink. She was never unseen; she simply stopped slaying dragons and hid behind her prince. She took off her tiara and slipped on her crown. She took a sip of wine, kicked down the door to her castle and walked outside with her sword, ready to fight! And then she lived happily ever after.