But the next day, when Iris woke, she said, “Rapunzel looks different today. She’s beautiful!” & I thought it was wonderful, how love works, how something can be not so beautiful, or not as we expected, but when we love it, it becomes beautiful!
When I made Rapunzel, I made her with brown skin and dark wild curls because we are raised to think that is maybe not your typical faerie tale princess.
But let us look beyond these superficial descriptions of European girls: Rapunzel is nearly every teen. Ugh, that awkward age when we deny that our parents are our parents— No! I was abducted by some sorceress when I was just a babe! And maybe she was fine for a while but now it is— This woman does not let me do anything! Rapunzel is every teen with too many pimples or hair that cannot be subdued or too much fat here and too much skinny there or too dark or too pale— or maybe she is stunningly beautiful. But she is a teenager, and therein lies the problem.
The child is lost in daydream. The mother tries to keep her child safe. Somehow, the outside world breaks in. The child is cast out. Or the child casts herself out. She stumbles, lost. She looses her love. She is alone. Suddenly she is an adult, piecing her life together, making sense of all that has happened to her. And in growing up, she makes the world her kingdom.
This is Rapunzel. This is every one of us. And this is my Rapunzel, perfect in her imperfection, making her own way in the world. And before I send her off once more into the world, I say— Be wise, my love. The world is a ferocious place, and you are my only Rapunzel.