Sometimes I wonder what damage those fairytales we were told as children left imprinted in our psyches. Forget the idealized yet ignorant gender norms portrayed in every romance. Forget the blind hopefulness of always waiting for a happy ending. Forget the unbridled belief in magic and myth and mystery.

Maybe there’s a deeper damage to all those Disney dreams.

What about love?

Love is the force that brings light into darkness. Love burns through the beast and reveals his true beauty. Love is the kiss that breaks the un breakable spell. Love shields the hero from death and grants him immortality.

Love, and little else, reigns most powerful above all.

At least in Story. In Faërie.

But we love in Reality.

I am blessed, privileged, to have a life overwhelmed by love. I’m always running late because I’m always pulled aside by friends as we cross on campus. And not merely by other students! I was scheduling an appointment at the Counseling Center today and, on my way out, the director of the entire Student Health Center invited me to sit down and chat for a few moments. She even gave me info on a new massage program they have on campus! And my family is accepting and supportive, and the love in my relationship makes even these bright bonds seem like mere candlelight in comparison.

So there is love. Always an outpouring of love.

And then there are chains. Public policy. Laws. Governments. Time and money. Money and more money.

And love alone cannot surmount any of these. Love alone is powerless against these constructs that confine us. Love alone is not enough.

We can educate ourselves and open our minds to new ideas about gender and sexuality. We can find hope even in the face of knowing not every ending is happy, knowing that once it’s over, happiness no longer matters. We can even come to terms with the loss of magic and myth and mystery, finding beauty in science and math and poetry, wonder in the natural world and the immaterial ties that tether us to this planet, to each other, to our very bodies as well.

But what about love?

How can we reconcile Story and Reality?

When love is not enough, what is left for us to do?

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