The not-quite-princess backed away slowly into the centre of the room. The words were everywhere; above, below, all around, and most unsettling, in her heart. How could she possibly escape them?
How could she ever be free?
If she were a real princess, held captive by a villain in a tower not made of words, she could rest assured knowing that someone would come looking. Her hero, her prince would arrive; swooping in on his handsome steed, ready to ride her off into that perfect sunset.
But she was a not-quite-princess. And her enemy was not a wicked step-mother or a disgruntled wizard. Her nemesis was the thoughts in her own mind; the lies she had given way to. And how did one battle themselves?
The not-quite-princess sat and pondered her predicament. In one day, she had realised that the seemingly perfect life she had for herself, was in fact, a prison of her own making. And that beyond that prison of self-doubt and hatred, there was a beautiful world full of freedom and possibility. She had known about the world, but never understood it. Now that she was starting too, there was no way she could ever be content in this dungeon again. For that is what it surely was now.
It occurred to her that when she had let her lack of worth consume her, the builders had come, building the tower higher. And yet when she had spoken the truth, the castle had sunk into the ground. Perhaps, instead of waiting for Prince Charming (who likely wasn’t coming), and instead of hoping for someone to arrive to make her feel better about herself, she could start loving herself.
Surely, she was worth that?
Being average, was, in truth, a beautiful kind of value.
Armed with determination, the not-quite-princess found herself the only kind of weapon she owned, (a humble screwdriver) and set upon the walls. Chiseling through the stone, that became increasingly malleable the more she worked, she set upon changing each and every word she found.
Leaving her name until last, she cut through every stone consistently for what appeared to be a very long time, until finally, she was able to change not only what she was known as, but also who she was.
Removing, once and for all the words ‘not-quite’ and leaving ‘Princess’ in their wake, feeling, as she did so, the tower settle on the grassy meadow as the walls fell around her in a crumble of clay and sand. And the princess, for that is what she was now, stood surrounded by the red poppies and the dancing deer and the whistling swallow, breathing in the freedom.
Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, a perfectly ordinary, not-quite-princess was born. She was a beautiful kind of average. A perfect kind of ordinary. A magical kind of ‘every day.’
For a long time she thought that made her not so much. For a long time that held her captive. Until the day she realised that was exactly what made her extraordinary. Not every girl is captured by the trolls, or raised by fairies or born in a palace. Not every girl is tortured by feelings of inadequacy or held tight in a dungeon of their own making. Not every girl stands out from the crowd; not everyone is noticed. Not every girl even wants to be.
But all of them have worth.
All of them, have value.
And all of them, not-quite or not, carry the name princess.