11 Reasons to Be Grateful for Once Upon a Time
It matters in ways I never imagined it would that first sunny summer evening when I sat down with Netflix to watch the pilot. Within two scenes I knew that this show had been written for me. Someone had asked the all important question: what does this world need most? Hope. I was sitting in my living-room with only the company of the pain of serious and debilitating injury and the loneliness that comes from being home bound. But then Prince Charming was charging across a lake on that gorgeous horse.
It was like he came for me in my own glass coffin, the one made up of the windows in my house, and he said, “I will always find you.”
As I healed, and continue to heal, I have come to embrace gratitude as an essential tenant of making happiness a reality. I made this blog as an investment in my happiness and hopefully to make other people happy too. Purposeful engagement with what we have to be grateful for brings those things into the forefront of our minds. Gratitude changes the focus away from what is wrong and toward what is right. I have begun to believe that gratitude is indeed a primary ingredient required to Make Happiness.
With that in mind, I think it is high time I told everyone who works SO hard to make Once Upon a Time that I am grateful for their work. Here is why Once matters so much to me.
I am grateful for Once because:
- Once lifted me up and away from my sorrows that summer evening. Suddenly, in a life consisting of little aside from pain and therapies (also known as pain), I had something amazing to look forward to. My mind had a place to go filled with imagination, love, creativity, an Evil Queen and a giggling imp.
- Once gave me homework. Because of Once, I started digging in my memories from childhood and wondering which fairytale was my favorite. I believe the first fairytale I looked up was Rumplestiltskin because my dim memories were not enough to satisfy. Because of Once I set out to acquire a copy of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as I came to realize it was my favorite fairytale.
- While on the subject of homework, because of Robert Carlyle‘s exquisite performances as Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold, I looked him up too. It was only then that I realized that I knew him from some of his previous work: Trainspotting and Angela’s Ashes. Trainspotting was terrifying and gave me nightmares as a teenager, and it terrified me again. Delightfully. Someday I will have a better grasp on Scottish so that I can understand more than sixty percent of the dialogue. *shrug*
- I am grateful to Mr. Carlyle personally for his bravery demonstrated in a career spent often playing downtrodden, broken, forgotten, and cast aside characters. What he gives of himself in these performances is breathtaking and beautiful (and/or terrifying as mentioned). That said, spending time with the quirky Hamish MacBeth is a pleasure indeed. His Rush is gritty and fresh. My questions about people like Rush (yes I know real people in my life who are much like him) inspired me to think deeply about them. Frankly, Mr. Carlyle reminded me why I have a literary degree and now he’s got me using it! I cannot say enough good about this man, or overstate my gratitude.
- Once makes me laugh. I was definitely short on laughs and smiles that first evening. That evening felt like being marooned on a sailing ship at sea in dead calm waters under sweltering heat. Once felt like a gust of emotional wind that started me moving forward again. I was laughing and smiling for real, and it had been a while.
- Once makes me cry. Why am I grateful for tears?? Like many fans, I am deeply engaged with these characters and this story. It is a living breathing part of my life. When it hurts, I hurt. But this, my friends, is a reward. Explosions and car chases are cheap thrills, don’t last and mean largely nothing much past the moment they happen. I’m a lady with expensive tastes. Engagement with a piece of fiction is much like the homework you did when you were a kid in school. The more you put into it, the more you get out. The writers have poured their hearts into this work, as have the actors and everyone else who works on the show. When I pour my heart in, I get to see what they are trying to show me. And when it is painful, it is a beautiful pain, it is a relatable pain, a pain that reflects our human connection. Emotional responses like these require investment and are thus, emotionally expensive. Experiencing pain through fiction reminds us, when it happens in real life, that we are not alone. So if I’m crying over Once, I know I am not the only one.
- Once has been an integral part of my therapies and my road to recovery. Without getting into much detail about what happened to me, Once helped me begin reading again. Once inspired fan fiction authors to take to the Internet and share their joys. This allowed me to read for pleasure instead of only for therapy. I will share a secret with you though, find what makes you happy and figure out how to make that into whatever therapy you need. When we enjoy doing something that is hard for us, we’re way more likely to keep doing it.
- Even better than helping me read, Once helped me begin writing after such a long pause. Once broke my heart in mid Season 4 and amid the leftover puddle of goo, the desire to write remerged from its long slumber. I began writing about Once nearly a year ago now because it hurt so good!
- This resurgence of writing is so important to my recovery. While I am, after years on the couch, able to work nearly full time, very little energy is left over for anything else. But Once inspires me to write. So, instead of being a passive couch potato after work each night, I am working on this blog. A little at a time, ever so slowly, my capacity for life is increasing because of Once.
- Once gave me this blog. Because of this blog, I have reached out to the online fan communities and begun using a Once as a bridge toward a certification I am studying for as required for my work. I am a budding scientist and have a lot to learn (no that process doesn’t end with college). Because of Once, I have designed a research study and will use it to practice the statistical and analytic skills I need to learn for work ahead of that big hairy certification test. You can help me with that here!
- Last, and I think most importantly, I am grateful to Once because it is giving me hope. It gives me hope because through efforts here on this blog, I am gaining skills I need for my future. I have a pathway forward because I have a safe place to practice and play with science. Once gives me hope for love too, because if a disabled Dark One can find love, surely a disabled scientist (who’s a heck of a lot nicer, sorry Rumple but darling, you’re prickly!) can too. Once inspires me to keep trying.
So thank you, writers of Once. I am certain you get an out pouring of grief from the fan community every time you cause their favorite character pain and cause tears, but I’m certain you know what that strong emotion means. It means we love your work. Fiction is such a powerful tool and you wield it well.
I live in the Pacific Northwest and I know what the weather is like. Actors of Once, stay warm, dry and healthy. We know how hard you work, and I know what being out in the rain in November is like. You bring the light to our eyes and make it real for us. You inspire us. Your work is important. Art always is. Thank you!
And the crew, let us not forget everyone whose faces we can’t see and whose words we can’t hear. Your love of this work is what makes it all hang together, as a tapestry. If the writers are the image and the actors the hues, you are the fiber holding everything together. Thank you.
We are each of us personally touched by Once, that’s why my 11 gratitudes above are grounded in my personal experiences. Why are you grateful for Once? Use the Twitter button below to tweet this at them with your own gratitude attached. Of course, I’d love it if you’d comment here so I can see your gratitudes too, but tweeting the creators your gratitudes is WAY more important. Let’s flood their Twitter feeds with gratitude, so share this with every Oncer you know!
How can you use gratitude to make happiness in your life? Here’s the Ted talk that inspired me.
Before you go, you can check out my research project! I have conducted a study of OUAT viewer preferences and you can check on my progress here. Yay for science!