personal essays, relationships

To My Unexpected Knight

Most of my late teens and early 20s have been centered on relationships – the majority of which ended badly.

I had this hopeless romantic mindset, thinking that someday my knight in shining armor would show up and help me fight the dragon that has me trapped in my tower. I pictured myself as the damsel in distress, desperately awaiting her prince. Metaphorically, of course.

Many knights attempted to come to my rescue, but they all turned out to be a bunch of losers in tin foil.

One actually made it to the top, but when we tried to leave in search of our happily ever after, we didn’t even make it out of the castle. So I sat in my tower, growing cynical of love and the notion that any man would be capable of saving me.

That’s when it happened.

A small pebble struck the window, and when I looked out, I saw you. You weren’t dressed in chainmail, and you didn’t come riding in on a great steed. I don’t think you even wielded a sword. I laughed to myself wondering what kind of ordinary man thought he could do what others who were far more prepared hadn’t. The others came fully dressed for battle, ready to fight a dragon for me, and there you were just casually tossing stones to catch my attention.

But you did something the others hadn’t done, something that changed the story and my idea of what a fairytale should be:

You asked me if I needed your help.

All of the ones before you had just assumed I needed them. They assumed I wasn’t capable of slaying my own dragon. They assumed I had been locked up against my will. None of them had questioned how I got into that tower. They didn’t ask why I was being guarded by a dragon. None of them made me think. But you did.

I considered your question for a few moments before I gently answered. No, I didn’t need your help. You didn’t need to save me, because the only person capable of saving me was myself. The tower I put myself in was to test the courage and strength of those who sought after me. I placed the dragon myself, to ensure it was a challenge to retrieve me. I made myself out to be a prize for their hard work, rather than an equal partner.

You understood that courage and strength didn’t mean much if you weren’t intelligent enough to apply them correctly.

So you used your courage to show yourself in your most vulnerable state – no armor, no getaway, no weapons. You used your strength to show that a woman who is independent enough to save herself doesn’t endanger your masculinity. Your intelligence and ability to connect with me mentally redefined everything I thought I knew about fairytales and love.

In that moment, the entire foundation began to crack.

The tower crumbled beneath me, and the fallen castle crushed the dragon. All of the walls I had built around me came down. And when I climbed out from the piles of stone and brushed myself off, you reached out your hand.

The ideas I had about love were based on outdated fairytales, but you showed me that a fairytale can be whatever I want it to be.

There aren’t set rules or standards to follow – you just have to be open to taking a chance and following your heart. You taught me that being vulnerable is the best way to let someone in, and you showed me that love takes effort from both sides. You proved that love is truly patient and kind, never boastful.

For empowering me to break down my walls and defeat the dragon, I am grateful. You gave love an entirely new definition. Thank you.

kristangible

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