I was born in 1960. Just when television was really getting its legs. The staged-for-TV movie, Cinderella, starring Lesley-Ann Warren, who was herself a child of 18 at the time, was a wild success among little girls, a classic of my generation. It played year after year, and we would never miss it, curling up in our p.j.s, with our popcorn, gape-jawed at the most beautiful Cinderella, in the most impossibly beautiful gown and cape, that we could possibly hope for.
Most American women my age can close their eyes and see the sooty Cinderella being bossed about by her very wicked and crazily be-hatted stepsisters. We see her lifting the ladle of water to the impossibly handsome prince. When we think Cinderella, we think of this one. This one true Cinderella.
For me, the greatest moment of the movie, aside from the breathtaking waltz, is when little dirty Cinderella sings her dream-song. With music and lyrics by Rodgers and Hammerstein (never been bested), little Cinderella retreats to her sooty little corner where she tends the fire and imagines a better life. The song, “In My Own Little Corner,” drives my point today.
Borrowing from the refrain, friends, in your own little corner, in your own little chair, you can be whatever you want to be.
If you haven’t discovered the power of using a journal to move your mountains one little muddy stone at a time, I recommend you begin today. It’s Monday. It’s a good day for beginnings.
Make your little corner any food-free zone. You are allowed tea and water in this place, in this comfortable chair with good light. There you can type or write to yourself, telling yourself what things you want to achieve. Is it weight you want to lose, a size you want to wear? A disease you want to correct or avoid? A race you want to run, a dress you’d like to zip? A job you’d like to get, a height you’d like to reach? A skill you’d like to pick up, a goal you have in mind?
Don’t be afraid to say what you want. This place is yours, and you should spend some quiet time there every day. Even if it’s just a few minutes. Even if it’s to tell your journal you don’t feel like writing today, sit down and write that. Just get in the habit.
When you write, tell your journal what you want to be, who you want to be, how you want to be. Plan baby steps to move from life now, to life there. Imagine being there. What will it be like then? How will life be different? What needs to change in your world to make this dream come true? How can you achieve those changes? Bit by bit? Name the bits.
That song, in 1965, was more empowering to young girls of the time than a newly-minted feminist might imagine, looking at the lyrics. It’s the refrain. The refrain is what we remember. I’d like you to remember it too. Make plans for your future, buddies. Especially during those moments when a different future feels like a silly fairy tale.