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If Cinderella Ditched the Nickname and Shoes (Lessons We Can Learn)

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that little girls in possession of barbie dolls and heads filled with cotton candy dreams and sugar plum bed stories must be in want of a cheap tiara, plastic taffeta, and the desire grow up to be one person...Cinderella.

Don't get me wrong, I like the story (who doesn't?). The poor, miserable "Cinder"ella gets transformed by a quirky fairy godmother into an exquisite dress (complete with even more exquisite shoes) and goes to a fancy ball, winning the heart of the rich, handsome prince. And yet...there's that little voice inside me saying maybe we shouldn't be teaching our children (especially our girls) that a make-over is the only way that people with more power, money, or even good looks will give you the time of day. That wearing the perfect dress or suit or make-up is the only way to escape a bad situation in your life. That marrying a man or woman after spending one night (or heck, let's be real...5 or 6 hours) is fine, no celebrated, as long as it gets you your "happily ever after"...which totally exists...but only if you get your revenge on your evil stepsisters and stepmother once you're queen.

Again, not hating on Cinderella.........just...sayin.

Thankfully, I thought of a few "lessons" that we can all learn from Cinderella if we just tweak the story a little (lessons that don't include deep-rooted insecurity and unhealthy dependence on others).

1) CONFIDENT IS CUTE.
It's OK to be yourself. That means if wearing your ratty sneakers or clogs or even, God forbid, your bright yellow rain boots is good enough for your "family," it should be good enough for the man of your dreams. I'm not being cheeky here. If your prince is really "in love" with you after having a conversation, he should be able to handle you in your "regular look" after the clock strikes midnight. No running necessary.

2) YOUR CLOTHES AREN'T YOU, YOUR PERSONALITY IS.
Don't get me wrong, I love a good makeover as much as the next person (I have a fashion blog to prove it: themakingofraven.com), but if you only "pull out the stops" fashion-wise in order to temporarily impress someone instead of expressing your identity, something's wrong. Your name, your personality, your identity, the way your eyes light up when you laugh...that's who you are. Not your clothes. And if you have to trade the Manolos for a pair of worn down Sketchers for a day to remind you, then do it.

3) SOME PEOPLE, BLESS THEIR HEARTS, MAY BE CLUELESS (LEARN PATIENCE).
Prince Charming never asked, in his exhaustive search for his potential new bride, if anyone knew of an incredible girl with "a great personality," "forward political thinking," her specific body or facial features, or even...I don't know...her name. No, the only thing the man could distinctively remember about the girl after spending an entire night with her was what shoe she wore...and that was only because he physically had one. And while I held out hope for the new portrayal of the story, in which the prince actually met her first before she was "transformed" into an exotic princess, he still went back to the shoe as the only way to find her...really, dude? Really? ("My name is Ella. Say it with me...ELLA.")

4. PEOPLE WILL STOP PUTTING YOU DOWN WHEN YOU STOP LETTING THEM.
Come on, you all thought this. Why, oh, why Cinderella refused year after year to waltz into the foyer of her farmhouse, look her stepsisters and stepmother squarely in the eye, and say, "I'm not lifting another finger to wait on you hideous people who only put others down until you actually call me by my real name. I'm kind and courageous, not stupid" is beyond me. Now I understand that standing up for yourself is harder than it looks, but, honey, if you don't, there's a good chance that no one will. My advice? Slip on some shoes that give the end of your "R.E.S.P.E.C.T" speech some extra oomf as you confidently strut away.

5) IN ORDER TO LIVE "HAPPILY EVER AFTER", YOU HAVE TO LIVE.
You have to live. Not some idealized version of you in glass slippers. Not some you with an awful nickname inflicted upon you. You. Your "happily ever after" begins with you. So go live it, and tell your kids a new princess story, with you as the hero.

(Cambio Col[lab] is a lab for young creators to showcase their passion and develop their voice. Like what you're seeing? Share it to support their effort!)

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