It’s a familiar trope in fairy tales. Cinderella had her father’s estate. Snow White and Sleeping Beauty both had a cottage in the woods. Rapunzel had her tower with no doors. Belle had the Beast’s castle. In fairy tales, princesses tend to find themselves in isolation.
It’s not unusual. These stories were written in a time when most women could measure their worlds in the square feet of their homes. Men worked outside—women, inside. But even modern fairy tales hold to the same truth. In the Disney movies Jasmine has to disguise herself to escape the palace and quickly has to return, while Elsa has been in seclusion for so long her sister Anna can’t even remember the last time the gates to the castle were opened.
I’ve been thinking about these women a lot lately in light of recent developments. I hope Rapunzel had half the imagination of Anna or else she would have gone mad. Now, more so than at any other time I can think of, is when we rely on creatives to get over the sense of bewilderment. Maybe Snow White wouldn’t have let her stepmother in if she’d had Twitter to keep her company. Sleeping Beauty could have blogged about her weird kingdom without spinning wheels and started a Go Fund Me page for new clothes. And Rapunzel could have built a simple ladder from repurposed items in her room from a YouTube tutorial.
What I’m saying is, hang in there. Isolation isn’t as isolating as it has been in the past. There’s a lot of uncertainty, but there’s also a lot of creativity. And while I do want to thank all the brave women and men who are on the front lines of this pandemic, I also want to take the time to thank the women and men on the “homefront” playing music, writing stories, and doing the myriad other creative things that have made staying at home more bearable.
And a shout out to delivery people—you’re doing amazing work!