I bought my first People magazine ever when I saw Katie Holmes’ escape from Tom Cruise plastered across the cover. This marriage had always been symbolic to me of that precipice where the fairy tale leaves off and Happily Ever After is a free fall.
While I’ll never know and am not too concerned about what actually happened between those two people, I found their public trajectory representative of one of the most primary themes (for women) that gets played out in a romantic relationship–moving from enchantment to entrapment to escape.
We think a man is going to give us something necessary to complete us or even save us. We don’t understand the kind of helplessness and hopelessness this agreement establishes. We don’t understand that we actually already have what we’re looking to the man to give us. It takes walking in heels for a decade to get over his idea of beauty and our willingness to sacrifice to achieve it.
When I learned of Katie’s secret plot, her secret phone, her secret little pilot light of a self still flickering deep within her–despite the light that had gone out of her eyes–I felt fierce. For all of us women who literally had to kill ourselves off in our marriages to get ourselves back, wizened, tattered, in divorce.
I’m sorry Tom Cruise, but my answer is no. You can jump on Oprah’s couch till the cows come home. You can stun the world with your exponential romantic gesture. My cup is full. I’ve arrived with both feet on the ground at Happily Ever After. I’m not buying what you’re selling.