Annotating Fairytales


We can’t all be princesses…

Someone has to clap

when I walk by.

Girl Two Doors Down



Among my favorite treasures is this photo of my daughter and her Disney equivalent in matching costumes, both dark haired and wide eyed, beaming broadly in recognition of a kindred princess. She wore her Snow White costume for much of the year she was four years old until it grayed and frayed around the edges. Fast forward fifteen years later, she begins to find that honoring her own needs isn’t always high on the agenda of a prospective Prince, so it might as well be on hers.

While Meghan Markle‘s dilemma has provided entertaining distraction from our prolonged and heavy real world concerns, it is high time we edit the fairytales we’ve innocently fed our daughters’ imaginations so that they might stand a better chance at the elusive “Happy Ever After” they have been told to expect after every grand wedding.

Food for thought for our young–and not too young–to consider:

Entitled women need not suffer royally. Fairytales have scientifically proven that the best brides for a prince are those used to being invisible slaving away at the hearth, grateful to wear rags and hand-me-downs, and have a knack for diplomacy around the varied temperaments of (s)even very short men or a couple of wicked stepsisters. Such brides never talk back at evil stepmothers or in-laws and would never dream of demanding that her prince make the heart-rending choice between her own happiness or that of his family.

Every parent wants their son/daughter to marry up. What sane parent–even those whose blood isn’t blue–will want less than the best for their own son/daughter? When a royal family concedes to an “unexpected” match, should we then assume that they will happily surrender all other stringent protocols and stifling roles that have governed everyone living under their palatial roof throughout history? Is there to be no price to pay for entry into that magical kingdom of fancy ballgowns and dress up parties?

No one is a victim. This is a tough sell with our culture firmly hooked up by (social) media onto the IV drip of glorifying victimhood as the surest way to more thumbs up and shares, fame and publicity, book publishing and movie deals. May we strive to be adults who: (1) take responsibility for our choices and acknowledge the quid pro quo in getting what we want; (2) embrace dark emotions as natural and necessary human experience, fertile ground for growing our own understanding, strength and resilience; (3) open our eyes to the fact that no matter how much we chafe at the injustice of reality, the caste system is alive and well even in first world nations–only made difficult to swallow under the egalitarian spell cast by democracy. Oprah herself covered this with her bookclub choice Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson.

A true modern princess wields her power over social media responsibly, aware of the influence her example sets on young minds. Knowing the animals, prince, and system she has to live with, she seeks to bring together nations, using her understanding of the rules that govern the terrain to navigate her way with dignity, never pandering to other people’s pity nor glamorizing helplessness.

Click “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add your tips on how to keep feet squarely on the ground while making our dreams come true.







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© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

Text 201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

The Graduate

The unfortunate, yet truly exciting thing

about life is that

there is no core curriculum.

The entire place is an elective.

Jon Stewart


My not so little Drummer Boy is marching off to college–hopefully without lugging his drum set. Sniff! Have I told him everything I wanted to say? Will he remember to dare failure and never give up on himself? Will he get some sleep despite internet being on 24/7 at the dorm?

Because a mother’s wisdom may not always appeal to a teen, a favorite Powerful Goddess blog fan helped cull this collection of books that might be lifetime companions for someone starting out on life’s brave new solo adventures.

The Evolution Man or How I Ate My Father by Roy Lewis

Have the travails of teens and man changed much since our cave dwelling days? Human evolution explained as a domestic situation comedy.



For all hopeful tinkerers and creatives who suspect creativity is the domain of a select few.  Might genius simply be the fruit of learning from the next failed step that you persist beyond?

How To Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention and Discovery by Kevin Ashton


The Aladdin Factor by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

Life could be much sweeter (and sooner) when we ask for the help we need. Here’s why and how.


The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter by Meg Jay

For the generation of indulged youth, a friendly reminder that it’s never too soon to plant the seeds of relationships, career and finances.


To honor my Drummer Boy’s Asian roots while impressing young ladies with his culinary skills:

Mangoes and Curry Leaves: Travels Through The Great Subcontinent by Jeffrey Alford


Because he was born in a land that he has not visited since…

Frog In The Well: Portraits of Japan by Watanabe Kazan by Donald Keene


To make the ladies swoon…

John Updike’s Collected Poems 1953 to 1993


The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz

Easily the smallest book of the lot, it is powerful in its specific practices  on how to live in peace with oneself, with the least worry and regret.


The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat (Young Reader’s Edition) by Michael Pollan

If what we eat is what we are and think, shouldn’t we be more curious about our food–or what we consider food?


The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

A non-fiction thriller lest science and obsession carry him away, leading him to forget he is a piece of nature’s whole.


And whether you are have comfortably discussed the myriad aspects of the topic that simmers in their mind…

S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College by Heather Corinna


Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to add your fave to this list. And give yourself a giant pat on the back for being the best parent that you are!


Give the women you love the most unique gift of elegant and timeless portraits

with a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

 Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

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