The latest retelling of Cinderella (which you should see for yourself) brings to life to a fairy tale that most grew up watching. In the closing minutes of the film, Ella softly steps down the worn steps from the attic. The narrator whispers words of wisdom. (That forced me to reach for my phone least I forget them.) Keep in mind, as she slips down the steps, she no longer wears a beautiful ballgown floating in a cloud of glimmer. Rather the faded remnants of the dress, her mother made her, hang dirty and torn. Her feet tread soft and light, perhaps the fear running through her head causing her pace to slow. Will he reject me since I am dressed in rags? Will he reject me since I am not a princess? Or maybe it is just because she no longer graces slippers made of glass?
Perhaps the greatest risk any of us will ever take is to be seen for who we truly are – whispers the narrator.
Ella no longer graces the stairs with dazzling beauty. A blue ballgown glimmering with magic does not brighten her smile. The beauty is found instead in her heart and on her lips. She curtsying before the prince offers, “can you take me as I am”? Standing before the prince in rags, she stands as she is. All at once, a ragged servant and a beautiful princess. While most would scoff at her rags, the prince has seen her heart. He has seen the courage and kindness that direct her steps.
It was this scene that still resonates with me. I went expecting a familiar tale, beautiful gowns, an entertaining movie. Instead I drove away with a burning thought.
While some are quick to discredit this film since it does not fit a modern feminist role. This is exactly what (cinder)Ella stands against. She does not allow herself to be sidelined by those who would make her something she is not. If anything the moral of the story is that kindness and courageousness are rewarded in the end. It takes immense courage to stand before others as we truly are – in rags no less.
Truthfully, the very thought frightens me. Am I ready to be seen as I am? My life reads like a portfolio thanks to modern technology. My words are drafted, reworded, and then texted. Selected moments of my life are collected, edited, and uploaded in a square window for others to glimpse through.
This is the paradox. Do we live pretending the clock never strikes midnight or as we truly are?
*Image is not my own, copyright retained by original owners.