The thing no one tells you about being a princess is the blisters are out of this world.
I mean, think about it. You have Snow White, who wore the same ballerina flats every day in the deepest, darkest part of an enchanted forest, you have Sleeping Beauty, who wore her shoes to sleep, you have Cinderella who went from wearing no shoes to wearing glass ones and then you have me, Belle, who wore sparkly peep-toe mules in a Canada Day parade.
My feet could rival Shrek’s and it’s been over half a week.
To rewind, several weeks ago an entrepreneurial girlfriend of mine asked me to support the promotion of her company in the annual Canada Day parade. She invited me, along with 6 other females, to dress as Disney princesses and hand out stickers and business cards to little girls and their unsuspecting mothers.
Of course I said yes. If my Disney World training taught me anything it was I’m princess ready. Just because I was hired to punch buttons on It’s a Small World and emergency evacuate the Peter Pan ride doesn’t mean my real destiny wasn’t to kiss a fierce beast and wear frou-frou-y yellow dresses to dinner in a dusty old castle.
I was born for this.
So I woke up early and did my princess makeup. I channeled my 9-year-old synchronized swimming career and gelled my hair back so I could put the wig on. I sucked my stomach in so I could corset my sorbet-colored ball gown and I prepared to sweat like I had never sweat before — and remember, I worked in Florida.
The silk gloves slid up my arms like coconut oil after a hot shower and I was convinced that this was my time. I was Belle incarnate. I was the woman who inspired Walt to write that nose-in-a-book character in the first place. I was a cake topper — a lemon meringue shaded southern Belle — I was the one, the only, the original.
The parade was hot, but I smiled through the whole thing. I bared teeth — in a princess way — waved to my heart’s content and I hugged little girls who kept saying “Belle! Belle! I loved your movie!”
I was so authentic, so professional and so famous for 95 minutes that I forgot I wasn’t being tailed by a horse drawn pumpkin carriage.
When I opened the door of my apartment later that morning I collapsed in a heap of tulle onto my bed and slept, cold, for three hours. I ask you, what else would a princess have done?
When I awoke the next morning after my dreamy, pea-less sleep, I had a text message.
“Of course that’s the picture the newspaper would choose to print,” it said, and there was me, in all my princess glory, waving like a true Royal with a giant-ass tattoo showing on the inside of my arm.
I apologized to my friend profusely, out of fear I ruined her company’s authenticity.
“It’s OK,” she said, “Your smile is amazing. I’m trying to be more real, anyway.”
For years I have wanted to emulate the famous Disney Belle. For years I have thought that I would be the perfect fit and I had come so close only to fail, miserably, in the eyes of Disney law.
So I let it go, once and for all — maybe it’s time that our girls get a glimpse at what it really means to have a charmed life.
It’s not about being a snowy-skinned, unflawed, dime-thin mannequin dressed in custard frills smiling permanently through empty, brown eyes — it’s about joie de vivre, about saying yes to opportunities that both terrify and delight you, about flaunting your flaws and accepting hugs from strangers. Maybe having a charmed life is about dancing so hard through the streets you forget you have blisters the size of pumpkins and for a brief moment you don’t think being royalty would be any better than being yourself in this moment, in this body, in this parade.
— Since Andria omitted the link to the photo, the editor had to go find it.
— Andria Parker is an Instagram-obsessed idealist with at least 600 words to share on every topic, ever.