Paper Bag Princess Syndrome

Paper Bag Princess

One of my favourite books ever written is a children’s story.

The Paper Bag Princess still sits on my shelf today, waiting for one day when I have a daughter and I, or her father can read it to her as she falls into a gentle slumber.

For those of you who didn’t grow up in Canada with the infamous Robert Munsch to narrate your childhood, I will give you the quick recap.

Princess loves Prince. Evil dragon takes over the kingdom, burns it down and kidnaps Prince. Princess goes to rescue the prince, outsmarts and outwits the dragon, rescues Prince. They live happily ever after…not. Prince tries to fit Princess into stereotypical box and Princess tells Prince where to go.

Not your typical fairytale. I grew up loving it for all the right reasons. Be who you are. Be smart. Don’t let someone talk down to you. Do not allow someone who does not respect the woman you are to have even a bit of your heart. All good.

However, somewhere in between the bedtime stories and creeping into adulthood my motivations for loving this book have changed.

Somewhere in those years I have gone from someone who wants an equal relationship where we love and respect each other, to desiring the very same, but someone not allowing anyone to take care of me. I liked that the princess told the prince where to go because she couldn’t get hurt.

You see, though I have lived a blessed life, there are a couple of factors that have led to a place where allowing someone to take care of me is difficult.

Whatever societal or cultural conventions may say, I want to be chased…and to be taken care of.

Each relationship will look different in how this plays out, but often the desires are the same. I will take care of you, if you take care of me. Mutual love, respect and desire. No mothering or control. A love that desires the best for the other.

But I have a problem, a problem that I am working on and why I am writing about My Paper Bag Princess Syndrome.

It’s without knowing it that the scars of past relationships, absent fathers, circumstances, well-meaning friends, too much “good advice” and not enough leaning on the truth that has gotten me and many others to this same place.

It is easier in life to take care of ourselves than to allow someone in. It is what so many of us struggle with that has become what I think is an epidemic in society. Vulnerability.

The love we want, the good fights, the better making up, the having someone to share those awful moments, someone to help with the chores, to make you laugh when you just want to cry, all of that…

So easily disregarded because it takes vulnerability and one other thing…

Making room for someone else.

I have never had a problem making decisions for myself. I go to the movies when I want, I move countries when I want, I buy what I want, I give money to the charities I want, I do whatever it I need to do without asking anyone’s permission.

And yet, and I know it’s not just me, I would trade that to have the other…to allow someone in my life.

As I write this I hope that my intentions with this are not overlooked. This is not about wanting to get married or desperation…it’s about understanding something far more powerful.

It’s about a daily surrender to me. It’s about literal taking up the cross and remembering that despite all that has happened to me and all that will, that I have truth in my life. I have been rescued, given freedom from all that our broken world brings and in that I can be secure that, if it’s meant to be, I will be able to allow someone to take care of me here too. I will be able to drop my guard, at the right time, and all someone in.

No excuses. No victim mentality.

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:37

I am not my past, though I have to deal with it. I am not my circumstances, though they have to be lived through. I am a Child of God who’s value is worth more than rubies and that is enough.

A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman—who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls. proverbs 31:10

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