The Prince Charming Complex
Written by Sarah Fine | February 24, 2015
Sleeping Beauty was one of my favorite princesses as a child. She was always the prettiest princess and arguably had the most Oscar-worthy dress, but I’ve grasped something about her since I’ve grown up: She’s hardly in her own movie.
You might as well rename it Prince Charming, because he had way more screen time and character development than Sleeping Beauty ever did.
And then there’s the whole “defeating Maleficent and waking her up with a magical kiss” thing. I mean, shoot. What girl doesn’t want an attractive guy to single-handedly slay a dragon possessing all the power of Hell for her?
Where can I get a guy like that? Is there a line I need to be in? A waiting list? Sign. Me. Up.
What stands out to me about that scene is something that stands out to all girls as they watch it. It’s not that he’s big or brave, or strong or handsome, or one heck of a closet ballroom dancer—it’s that he fought for her.
Seriously. Was this chick worth all that trouble? Fighting a dragon, dodging fire, risking his life? He was a PRINCE, for goodness’ sake! Girls had probably been throwing themselves at him his entire life. It would’ve been easy to forget the blonde narcoleptic in favor of a little less…drama? Yeah. Let’s use that word.
(It would also be easier for me to stop overthinking this and remember that it’s also a Disney movie with singing animals, but where’s the fun in that?)
It’s because of guys like him that girls like us are constantly made aware that we have a serious Prince Charming complex. It’s a thing. I’m certain of it.
We all want our doors opened, our meals paid for, compliments provided. As women, we’re constructed to be fought for; it’s in our nature to be wanted, even when we don’t admit it. A girl can only go so long without being pursued before she begins to wonder if her life produces anything worth pursuing.
The questions arise…“Am I smart enough? Pretty enough? Capable enough? Good enough?”
Key words there? Enough, enough, enough.
At various stages along our endless quest for perfection, we realize over and over that we’re just not enough. Despite our greatest efforts or how clever we are, or how good-looking we try to be or how gracefully we portray ourselves. It’s a goal that leaves us busy, yet constantly dissatisfied. We all want the approval we feel we may never get.
In a lot of ways, I feel like I’ve never been fought for. I’ve never had that Hollywood-style moment of being chased in the rain and told that I was desperately wanted—as a friend, as a daughter, as an anything. That insecure part of me kicks into high gear when I walk away and nobody starts running after me. Part of me wonders what it would feel like to have somebody hunt me down and ask me to “WAIT!”, to hear those footsteps running behind me, to know that I was needed.
I’m a pretty “all or nothing” type of a gal. This can be a strength or a weakness, depending on the circumstance. I have a hard time finding the balance between holding on and letting go. In those instances, my Prince Charming complex kicks in the heaviest. I hope someone, anyone, would be willing to fight the demons for me, make me feel as if I have worth beyond my witty comebacks and good hair days. It’s the main reason I fight so hard for others, despite how much I constantly fail them. I try to be everyone’s someone—the door holder, the meal buyer, the compliment giver—but I’m finding now that you can only give so much of what you don’t have.
You can’t play a part in a story of redemption when you yourself feel depleted of hope, no matter how good you are at faking it. We’re obsessed with making ourselves the victims of our own choices.
I place a great deal of my worth in how others view me. So much so that when it comes down to the most important opinion, that of my Heavenly Father, I accuse Him of being a liar. “Surely He can’t love me that much. Who would?”
Everything He does is unlike anything I’ve ever known. The way He recklessly fights for my heart is foreign. I’m drawn to Him like a moth to a flame, yet so scared that if I get too close, He will eventually give up on me. I’m a bride with a harlot’s heart. Most days, I lift my veil for everyone but Him, and I wonder why I’m constantly left searching. It’s a backwards perspective I possesses, a struggle I can only hope to conquer this side of heaven.
Quietly, I cling to those small moments where I’m reminded how persistently He chases me. Like when I find the $5 bill on the ground when I’m worried about bills that week, or the sherbet sunset in the sky when my brain is saturated in grey, or the morsel of truth in His word on a day when I’m yearning to be satisfied. These are the divine nudges that tell me to give my breathless quest a break, quit running and just rest in His love for me.
Maybe the chase we crave isn’t quite as theatrical as being followed in the rain or an epic sword fight. Maybe it’s as simple as just being desired by Someone who wants all of us, as imperfect as we are. Maybe that’s the worthiest pursuit of all.