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What I Learned From Rumpelstiltskin & Sea Squirts

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Dallas Boyd
Dallas Boyd

Every now and again I have a wee identity crisis. Among the multitude of questions I ask myself, the two that always come back to haunt me are:

  1.  "Am I doing the right thing?"

  2. "For that matter... what am I even doing?"

The tortured artist that I am, I reflect upon life and find the most deep and meaningful bullshit in the most mundane of things. 

Lesson 1: Maturity & Self-Improvement 

Facebook, the bane of my existence, helpfully reminds me that all the other girls I went to school with are graduating from Law School and picking out flowers for their wedding bouquets. And I haven't even figured out what the hell is going on with my hair. If you ignore my frequent "haircuts are for losers" affirmation, the truth is, I have secretly tried quite hard to have cool hair. I brought a hair care product which promised to turn "straw to silk" and I found myself wondering, (after it didn't really work) "What kind of deceitful Rumpelstiltskin fib is this?"

As little girls, we are seduced and comforted by those sneaky fairy tales, which as adults we smugly analyze to reveal particular roles or warnings for women in society. Then we say, "Thank God we are smart, independent women now." It seems fitting that as adults, the same lines are regurgitated to us through marketing for beauty products, and we are seduced all over again. The miller's daughter could not spin straw into gold. Rumpelstiltskin bribed and manipulated her to make it appear as if she could - which made the handsome (but also sort of greedy and mean) King want to marry her. If a hair care product can turn my dry straw-like hair into silk... will I get a rich, powerful boyfriend too? To date, the answer has been "no."

No wonder I'm confused. 

Lesson 2: Sea Squirts - Bums of the Ocean

If you pay attention to Mother Nature and the world around you, you will realise there are other little lessons everywhere. Sea Squirts - also known as Sea Grapes - illustrate this point. Beginning life with some sort of brain, a sea squirt will float around the ocean looking for a rock to attach itself to. Once they find a good rock (or maybe any rock will do, I don't think they're choosy) they stick to it, never to move again. (You can totally Google it.) And to cement the fact they're not going anywhere, they digest their own brain and nervous system as if to gleefully proclaim, “I wont be needing YOU anymore!” They are also very tolerant of polluted water. I would like to point out that I've had boyfriends just like this.

It's never a good thing to get too comfy and digest your own brain.

But of course life lessons and the odd identity crisis are all about perspective. After all, a dog may reflect upon the care and love shown by their owner and reason that their master must be a god. Whereas cats are more likely to take the same information in their stride and assume that they, the cat, is a god. 

At least if you can see both sides of the coin, you are reasonably free to make choices. So I've decided, bad hair days, lack of law degree and marriage to powerful king aside, maybe I'm not doing too bad after all.

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