Instead of waiting in her tower, Rapunzel slices off her long, golden hair with a carving knife, and then uses it to climb down to freedom.
Just as she’s about to take the poison apple, Snow White sees the familiar wicked glow in the old lady’s eyes, and slashes the evil queen’s throat with a pair of sewing scissors.
Cinderella refuses everything but the glass slippers from her fairy godmother, crushes her stepmother’s windpipe under her heel, and the Prince falls madly in love with the mysterious girl who dons rags and blood-stained slippers.
Persephone goes adventuring with weapons hidden under her dress.
Persephone climbs into the gaping chasm.
Or, Persephone uses her hands to carve a hole down to hell.
In none of these versions is Persephone’s body violated unless she asks Hades to hold her down with his horse-whips.
Not once does she hold out on eating the pomegranate, instead biting into it eagerly and relishing the juice running down her chin, staining it red.
In some of the stories, Hades never appears and Persephone rules the underworld with a crown of her own making.
In all of them, it is widely known that the name Persephone means Bringer of Destruction.
Red Riding Hood marches from her grandmother’s house with a bloody wolf pelt.
Medusa rights the wrongs that have been done to her.
Eurydice breaks every muscle in her arms climbing out of the land of the dead.
Girls are allowed to think dark thoughts, and be dark things.
Instead of the dragon, it’s the princess with claws and fiery breath
who smashes her way from the confines of her castle
and swallows men whole.
1. Do not date a boy who does not care what your favourite song is. The boy who does not care what melodies ignite your heart strings with love and wonder while staring at passing street lights on the last train home, will not care if it’s 2 a.m. and your heart is breaking.
2. Do not let anyone fold you up like last winters tattered scarf and put you away with the others in a neatly labeled box. Even when there’s thunder and the sky is crying, you are your mum’s favourite summer dress. You are to wear yourself like you believe it.
3. We are all stories. Write yours how you want. Make today’s chapter about purposely taking the wrong bus and discovering a tiny blue tea shop, or folding origami paper hearts over and over on your window sill. Just make sure it’s something you’d enjoy reading.
4. I will always try to save you.
5. Someday you will be 19 and lost and heartbroken and you will think about a place you’ve seen on TV or heard or read about in a book or seen a picture of. You will feel your heart drop into your stomach. Go there. For a day, a month, forever, but it’s important that you go.
6. The world is so beautiful. Do not let the slumped over homeless man outside the convenience store or the stories of guns and bombs on the television let you believe otherwise. We are all so lost. All of us. We all show it in different ways. I write bad poems. Others start wars. There is no inherent evil, only good people searching too hard.
7. I love everything about you.
8. Money turns people into liars and emotional ghosts. School grades are an inaccurate representation of you. Measure your life’s worth in how many times you’ve nearly lost your life to laughter, how many books you’ve closed with happy tears in your eyes, people whose lives you’ve brought joy to, marshmallows eaten, or countries visited.
9. Don’t ever let anyone tell you to stop crying. Cry if you want to. It’s okay. You’re allowed.
10. My best friend once told me that the most important decision he had ever made was to love everyone and everything. He’s the only person I’ve ever known to have a viewable aura of light around him. Don’t forget to love this world, to love people. Be light. You are already mine.”