As a young girl, I grew up with all of the classic Disney fairy tales, pre Pixar era. Life was good.
I liked the original tale of Cinderella and how she represented kindness, courage, humility and patience. Cinderella is gracious and has an inner beauty that shines as much as her outer beauty. Qualities which are rare today.
When the movie remake premiered in 2015, I rushed to the cinema to relive my childhood.
Which was why I was excited to review George Helou’s book Cinderella’s Secrets which re-tells the story of Cinderella from a different perspective. Revisiting this story as an adult has brought a completely different meaning and its parallels to my own life.
A Quick Summary of the Book
In summary, the elements of the story remain the same – the glass slippers, the pumpkin, the fairy godmother. What has changed though – is Ella’s character. How she responds to the adversities that she faces and how it has transformed her.
On the cover, Cinderella is not wearing the traditional blue gown, but a dress that resembles a monarch butterfly – symbolic of the metamorphic process that the caterpillar goes through from its cocoon to becoming a beautiful butterfly.
George Helou has given his character Ella more complexity than in the original tale. His version of Cinderella is not one dimensional, passive or even a damsel in distress.
After being severely bullied by Ella’s stepmother and stepsisters – we see Ella as a person who has a fear of rejection, is a people pleaser and has no self-worth. After experiencing a dark depression just before the ball, Ella experiences a revelation of her behaviour and emotions which led to her breakthrough. Her self-awareness helped her to be at peace with her weaknesses, grief and what it means to have a healthy and loving relationship with herself and others.
Moral of the Story
Currently, I am in a transitionary period at this stage of my life. As of a few months ago, I no longer work in my corporate job. When my job ended, I did not look for another job either, despite everyone telling me that I should. Instead, I took some time off to travel and do a bit of soul searching. This was essential for the sake of my mental health.
My experience in the corporate world had me up in arms with bullying and workplace politics. Yes, there are laws against workplace bullying, but to be completely honest with you, we all need to confront bullies at some point in our lives – just like Ella did.
Like many others; I have had lies and negative words spoken against me, which I believed and acted upon over time. Like Ella, I was insecure, afraid to step out, and had approval addiction.
It all begins with your mind
It took me a few years to get out of this destructive mindset. There was a lot of healing that needed to take place. I had to change the way I think. This process takes time.
“Be very careful about what you think. Your thoughts run your life” – Proverbs 4:23
“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” – Proverbs 23:7
So you see, it all begins with the mind. If you can change the way you think, you will change your life.
I am NOT what other people say about me.
I am NOT my mistakes.
I can achieve whatever I put my mind to and I am worthy of receiving love.
Eventhough it felt horrible at the time, my experience has helped me to develop a thicker skin. Now when people say negative things about me, it doesn’t sting as badly and it’s more manageable.
Because – I am NOT what other people say about me.
After fashion blogging for a year, I discovered how mental resilience is SO important in this industry. It is just how it is – you will meet difficult personalities (regardless of industry) and you need to be able to handle it. I’m very grateful for my experience, I don’t think I would have been ready for it years ago but I’m much better prepared for it now.
Stay true to yourself
After some time off, an opportunity has come my way and it involves a career change. It is something that I have always wanted to do. There will be sacrifices that will need to be made temporarily – but I guess nothing worth having ever comes easy. Following this new and uncertain direction causes friction with my loved ones at times.
How do you know that you have made the right decision when your loved ones don’t seem to be on board with you?
In the book, Ella was advised by the fairy godmother to remain true to herself and by her dying mother to put herself first before others. I don’t believe this was in the context of being self absorbed but on not compromising oneself in order to please others.
I realised that for a long time, I have always been afraid to rock the boat with my loved ones over this – but we just need to be able to go through this and ride this out.
I trust the process and I have never been happier being true to myself x
You can purchase Cinderella’s Secrets here at http://onceuponaview.com/order/. 10% of all sales go towards Princess Margaret Children’s Hospital.
For more information on the Once Upon A View series, please go to :-
Disclaimer – Cinderella’s Secrets has been gifted to me for my review, but my opinions are all my own.