But, *I* want to rescue the Princess...

I wasn't a typical child, by any stretch. I've heard the phrase "born grown" or "born raised" and frankly those fit me quite well. I didn't need to be told what not to do, or to brush my teeth before bed, or to rinse my plate before putting it in the dishwasher. I helped with the washing up, and setting the table, and all those things, no problem.

I also didn't need my parents to amuse me. From a very early age I was a voracious reader-- still am. I am a born and bred bibliophile; however, while my parents tend to read sparingly-- I can't think of another way to put that, they read maybe one book a month, or one every two-- I can rip through a thousand page omnibus in a week. I devour books, words quenching my thirst for the story like a perfectly chilled glass of lemonade.

I never laughed at "poop jokes", never thought the words penis or vagina or butt were hilarious. I never told Knock, Knock jokes or laughed at someone passing gas. I was a very strange child. I was reserved, where my siblings were loud and boisterous. I was quiet, content to do my own thing and I didn't need anyone to direct my play time-- as parents today are told to do, in order to maximise our childrens' pre-school learning. (Which is a load of bull shit, and a sign of an over-managing parent).

I loved to colour; admittedly, I still do. There's something magical about opening a brand new box of Crayolas, the smell, the bright colours, the waxed paper! And that magical something gets bigger when you open that colouring book, and start filling in the spaces, blue-ing your sky just so, greening your grass, making your flowers whatever colour your imagination tells them to be. Yeah, I'm 34, but I still love colouring; it's soothing for me, and I don't do it nearly often enough... [Note to self: buy some damned coloured pencils and Crayolas and get a colouring book! We'll call it "therapy"!]

I loved watching cartoons, too; and B movies with my Dad. At the time, most of the B movies were 1970's exploitation films or badly dubbed Kung Fu movies (yes, the dubbing was stereotypically bad!) I remember one time we watched a Kung Fu flick on the satilite (no cable, we lived in the middle of nowhere) and it was dubbed in Spanish, with Chinese subs up the side and German, I think, subs at the bottom! It was hilariously bad. It was so bad that one guy would kick, and hold his leg out, while several more ran into him and flung themselves off-screen.

That started my life-long love of bad movies, though. You can blame my Dad for my periodic Bad B movie reviews! Of course, as I got older it was less Kung Fu and more bad monster films.Of course, I watched old black and white films, and silent movies with my mother, too. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for silent movies! I love the over acting, the facial expressions that are so exaggerated! And I always loved the women-- really shaped like women! They were beautiful.

But the point of this blog isn't to reminisce about my love of bad movies, or colouring. I discovered Grimm's Faerie tales pretty early on, as my mother bought me a copy of them (which fell apart years ago, so my sadness and dismay), and I devoured them! I'd borrow books of faerie tales from the library, too; anything with a prince, or knight, or swashbuckling hero, oh it was awesome! I read The Three Musketeers, Robin Hood, even Robinson Crusoe, although I didn't like the last one at all. The way he treated the native was pretty horrific. I read Plato, Homer, and any "classic" I could get my hands on; but my first loves were always faerie tales, always tales of knights fighting dragons, and rescuing their fair maidens.

I used to roam these castles and countrysides in my imagination. I knew I couldn't be an enchantress, although that would have been so awesome! I figured when Merlin transformed into the stone, that probably magic was dying, as no one did that any more (I was a kid, cut me some slack). I still wrote imaginary epics in my mind's eye, travelling the multiverse on the back of a nightmare (a la Morgan le Fey). I knew it was pretend, but it was marvelous, and I enjoyed it very much. Even now, if I can't sleeping, I'll some times remember the spirit of that long-ago imaginary trip and fly in my mind off to some exotic local complete with faeries, sorcerers and mysterious strangers telling of treasure in some far away place.

What I really wanted, though, was to be a knight. You thought I was going to say princess, didn't you? Surprise! I wanted to be a brave knight, and travel with my trusty steed through the land, rescuing princesses and fair maidens from evil dragons and sorcerers. I knew not all dragons were bad, and some actually helped people, so I didn't figure I'd have to kill that many, just shoo off the bad ones... rather like a stray cat. Then he'd leave his horde, I could rescue whoever he'd stolen away, take his golden horde and set off to find the next one.

I knew I could be just as brave as any knight I'd read about; I could get a sword and shield with a horse on it (or something) and some chainmail and head off into the sunset.

There was a decided lack of knights roaming the Michigan countryside, so I figured there would be plenty of room for someone like me to freelance it. I didn't know if I could find one of those "knightly societies" or a monastary (they all seemed to come from a monostary) but I figured that there had to be some knights without them. I mean, there were so many different knights, from so many different places, I thought there would be more than enough room for one more.

I wasn't sure how long I had to wait before I was grown-up enough to leave home on my knightly quests, but I didn't think I had to be that old, maybe 14 or something. Then I could find that treasure map to the dragon's lair, and be off to find that princess who needed saving.

I never thought I'd want to be a princess, though. The idea of being stuck in a tower waiting to get rescued wasn't appealing. When I found out, later, how bad things were for modern-day princesses and princes, I was doubly determined not to be one-- you know, because there are princess-spots open all around the world, and I all I had to do was apply-- or something. I also didn't want to get married off to some random guy I'd never met so he could rule the country/land/kingdom. If I was going to get one of those royalty spots that were scattered all over the faerie books, then I wouldn't settle for anything less than King or Emperor. None of that consort shit for me!

I would wake up at the Inn, where all good knights sleep as we ranged through the hills and some local person would tell me they need help!

"Our princess has been captured by the evil Sorcerer/Enchantress and it being kept in that ugly tower! Please save her!"

Oh, that's all I needed to hear! I'd eat my breakfast, and ask the nice Innkeeper if he could pack me some lunch, too, because all knights set off with bread and cheese and fruit. Then I'd get my horse from the stable and we'd be off, to the Tower of Evilness that was holding the fair lady.

Some times there would be goblins, or skeletons, or ghouls defending the tower. Some times golems. Always something difficult to fight, but I'd always triumph in the end!

Then I'd stagger up to the top and push open the throne-room door-- because all evil sorcerers have a throne room. I would find my strength and stroll into the room, just in time to see the evil kidnapper lording over the shackled princess, telling her that help would never come! Oh, but he would be so wrong, because here I was! Yes, they'd monologue, but that's what evil overlords are supposed to do. And then we'd fight!

Oh, the battle would be titanic! They'd use their magic to change shape and size, to fling fire and ice at me, to create spears and swords of sheer ethereal stuff, but I had my shield and my sword, and my armour. Back and forth we'd would each other! Back and forth, across the floor, swinging from the chandeliers, and jumping over the decorative pillars. The battle would go on forever, it seemed, until we were both so exhausted that it seemed we would both die.

Then, with one more whisper of strength, I'd slay the kidnapper and free the princess from her shackles! The princess would help dress my wounds, because all princesses know how to do those things, and we'd make sure there weren't any other slaves or captives-- of course we'd set them free, too! And all his money would be given to the poor people, the people he'd terrorised for sooooooo long-- like six months! (yes, really, he's dead, remember? and I'm a fair knight, it's what we do, robbing the rich, to give to the poor).

When the princess was safely back with her family, and after the banquet, that all knights get as a reward, I'd be off again. Have to find, and save the next princess, after all, and a knight's work, is never done.

If the king ever asked me to marry his lovely daughter, I'd have to say no. Not because she wasn't lovely, and sweet, and kind; but because knights don't get married, see. We have to be ready to protect the entire country, and that's very hard when you have a family. Besides, I figured I was too young to have children with the princess, I mean, we needed to grow up a bit, first, so we could be good parents. So I'd bid them all farewell, and wish them the best of luck. (I'd wink at the princess, too, hoping she finds a good person that she wanted to marry, later on.)

I hoped that I'd find a princess, or fair lady, some day who wanted to go with me on my journeys. One who would be my very good friend; because everyone needs good friends on the journey of life.. She'd tell her parents that she wanted to see the world, and would saddle her horse, gather her armour (because everyone has a set of armour in the stories) and get a bow, or sword, and we'd be off!

We'd adventure together for years and years-- a very very long time, and maybe, when we were all done she'd go back to her family, or maybe she'd settle down with me. Of course we wouldn't retire from dragon slaying until we were really old, like 25, so we'd have plenty of time to have fun and exciting adventures before then. We could open our own little Inn for the Adventuring Types, and have children, and train them to be knights and ladies and gentlemen, so they could set off adventuring, too, some day.

Yes, I knew two women would need help from a doctor or man to have children [I knew about infertility early on because of my mother's brother-- they went through it, and it was heartbreaking for them]. And yes, I knew that people would think that was weird, but why wouldn't you want to marry your best friend?! My mother told me she married her best friend; and I'd heard it over and over from people, how awesome it was to be able to say your spouse was your bestest friend in the whole world! So, my bestest friend, and adventuring buddy, she and I would probably get married when we retired from dragon-slaying and princess-rescuing. I'd let her wear the dress, if she wanted to. I would wear my shiny armour, because that's what knights, do.

It wasn't until I was somewhat older that I realised most girls don't dream of marrying a woman, after spending a long long time as a knight. When I learned that women who are knighted are called "Dame" I remember thinking, "That is so stupid! Sir is so much cooler!"

When I learned that I was a complete odd-ball for dreaming of being a knight, roaming the kingdom, I shrugged it off. I thought people didn't dream of such things because we had electricity now, and so it probably didn't occur to them that dragons were out there, some where, lurking and just waiting to snatch up a pretty lady.

I grew out of the fantasy before anyone could disabuse me of the notion, and I'm glad for that. Being able to dream those dreams, and imagine those battles really helped me out later when I was exploring myself, and my gender, and trying to figure out exactly who, and what I was. I never felt like a girl-- at least not like the girls around me. But I never felt like a boy, comparatively speaking, either. I was in between, neither one, nor the other, and that can be really hard when you're being shouted at to be a girl, and only a girl, and why don't you put this pretty dress/shirt/skirt/outfit on and actually look like a damned girl?!

I never wanted to be rescued. I never wanted anyone to swoop in on that chandelier, like Errol Flynn did-- well, not unless that that some body was me. I wanted to be the one doing the swooping. It never occurred to me that the heroes I saw on television and film, that I read about in stories were all men-- the thought that I would be excluded because of my gender never even crossed my mind. It was much later that I heard those damning words, "You can't do that, you're a girl" and I am very glad of that.

Even now, I have moments where I'd give anything to have a sword and shield (with a horse on it, or something heroic!), a trusty steed (never actually called a horse), and to be setting off on an adventure. I never grew out of that, and I hope that I never do.




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