When I wrote An Empty Cup, I was pulling from a lot of my own experiences. A middle-aged woman is used to giving and the people around her became used to taking. She lost her voice—something I have not been accused of in my life, at least not often.
Next week, Ella is releasing. This is my Amish adaptation of Cinderella who, as most of you will know, is the ultimate giver living with her stepmother and stepsisters who are, of course, the ultimate takers.
Like Roseanna Yoder from An Empty Cup, Ella doesn’t have a voice and that just helps feed the cycle of abuse from her stepfamily. She gives. They take. And yet, whenever Ella might hint at the unbalance and dysfunctional nature of the family, she gets attacked. In fact, when the stepsisters see that Ella’s hard work is getting her more attention from a certain young man, they respond like many people do today: with jealousy and self-serving actions. Ultimately, the stepsisters can only cry so often about how unfair life and how horrible Ella is to them before people start to see through their charade.
I see this a lot in the world today. As a writer, I observe people. Some of what I see is pure ugly. Like Ella’s stepsisters, takers take and users use. Then they discard her when she serves no more purpose for their success. Still, she keeps trying…wondering why they shut her out, put her down, shun her from aspects of their life when all she wanted was to be their sister…or even their friend.
Fortunately, Ella finds a way to overcome the wrongs done to her. Part of it is time. Give anyone enough time and they will burn enough bridges that none of them can be repaired. But she also takes a little of the situation into her own hands. Literally.
Yay for Ella! She knows when she is being taken advantage of and somehow finds a way to fight back. Eventually, as in life, it all works out. Those who use and abuse others find that their foot just does not fit into the glass slipper.
There is a bittersweet justice in that. Sweet because Ella, like Cinderella, comes out victorious. But it’s also bitter because the stepsisters could have had a good friend and supporter in Ella, if they had only learned to think about someone else besides themselves.
I wonder how many young people are missing out on good friends and supporters because they, like the stepsisters, think too much about themselves and how the world has wronged them when they should be looking in the mirror to see what they have done to contribute to the situation?
Oh wait. The mirror. I suppose that might be a lesson learned in another fairy tale: Sadie, my autumn adaptation of Snow White. We’ll just have to wait to see how that lesson pans out. 😉