The Princess Shelf


I feel this is an appropriate post considering today’s events for myself – having a flat tire that I had to change all by my lonesome. Ugh, it would be so nice to have the knight in shining armor appear at ANY moment….

My "Princess" Feet

This past year of subbing has exposed me to new sides of education, and for the most part, I enjoy my excursions. A large portion of my assignments are Special Education class rooms for students with emotional or behavior disorders. I appreciate the days I get to see something totally new: the Elementary library, for example.

I was a little freaked by the tarantula on top of the seasonal and holiday books; the birds added a joyful song to break the silence. The day before me was a “light” day with only 4 classes formally visiting for story-time. Most of my free time was spent checking-in and re-shelving materials dropped off throughout the day or reading on my own. When straightening up after every class, I always visited “The Princess Shelf.” The librarian – sorry, library media specialist – in her wisdom knew her clientele. She made her own category in the Dewey Decimal System: 742 Pri. Each author’s name was disregarded and all the books on this shelf contained, in one form or another, the adventure of a damsel.

Every girl knew the location of The Princess Shelf. The girls separated into their clumps and giggled over the pictures. Admired the pretty dress. Swooned for the prince. If I wasn’t containing impending disaster with the other students, I could see it in the back of their eyes. One day it would be their beautiful face, pretty dress, admired demeanor, adventure, and dream come true.

The bell rings. Time to go. Leave the book. Get in line. Hands at your side. No talking. No dreaming.

One side of me wants to cry, “Why fill an entire shelf with life disappointment?!?” The other side wants the stories to be told even if armored knights on noble steeds no longer exist. Girls need to know that even if they don’t live in a world of castles, knights, perfection and ball gowns, at one time there were adventures, gentlemen, beauty, and dreams. So what if the Plague was running rampant. I call this my “Princess Dilemma.”

I wondered why I feel a need to break down the innocent desires for beauty and adventure at a young age. A female of any age can live in and fully acknowledge the reality of life while desiring adventure, admiration, pursuit. Is it wrong if I want to wear the pretty dress or have the shoe fit a size 11 foot? This is probably why I enjoyed adding, “The Simple Joys of Maidenhood,” to my vocal repertoire this semester.

I’m sure those in psycho-social disciplines have plenty to say at this time.

I don’t have many princess stories around my apartment, but I have some substitutes: Jane Austen and L.M. Montgomery to name a few. I would even throw a little C.S. Lewis into that mix. In some novels, you can read that life isn’t “happy ever after” even if a few wonderful events occur.

All these dilemmas and thoughts make me want to write my own sagas and stories for the library “Princess Shelf.” One will involve a maiden who had to leave her familiar surroundings and live an adventure full of pain and joy. A variety of characters will enter her life.

She will wear the dazzling dress.

She will have “un-princess” qualities such as acne prone skin and size 11 feet.

I’m not sure if she will live happily ever after with Prince Charming, but I hope to write that she learns through all her trials to be content and complete in her God.

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