Royal Dreams

The human brain is a wonderful creation. Probably the single most wonderful creation ever. Our brains are like private cinemas that present us with all kinds of stories, images and sensations.

August 2019

We feel through the nerves that connect like Nano-highways, all leading to the brain. From shyness to sadness, happiness to anxiety, what makes us humans is the capacity to feel emotions and articulate outside stimuli in the form of feelings, wishes and, of course, dreams.

Human brains are hard-wired to love stories. Throughout thousands and thousands of years, storytelling has been the way to pass on our legacy, our identity and, of course, it has tickled emotions of love, affection and care, as well as those of dread, impotence and anger. In many occasions, with tremendous results. Sometimes, all this comes from stories that we actually do not know if they may be true or, on the contrary, become what we call “myths”.

Generation after generation of storytelling can modify, twist and change a specific event or set of events. We all remember the story about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and the deeds and wonders performed by Merlin, the Magician. We listen to stories and we see ourselves in most of them. We empathize with the characters. We feel their feelings, so to speak.

Storytelling is also mighty inside us. We go to bed, as children, hearing tales about epic tales, great adventures and love stories, and we fall asleep with their words. In our sleep, we dream of these stories and tales, and with the help of our brains, these stories become part of our wishes and desires, even if we are not aware of it.

That is why stories, tales, legends and myths are so cool and we like them so much, because they tap into that part of our brains where our imagination lives. Have you ever felt sad for a fictional character in a love movie, or the rush of adrenaline when the police is chasing some bad guys? Well, there is a reason for that, in the same way there is a reason for why we crave for “feel-good” stories; and it is because good stories – the ones that last through time – carry what is called “the cognitive effect”, which is nothing more than the impact a good story has on us, whatever that impact may be. This impact could be fear, or it could be hope or terror. You name it.

We all have dreams. We all have the capacity to fabricate alternate and better futures for us, because dreaming comes, precisely, from hearing or reading about good stories, or stories that make us wish we were their main characters, because as children, we looked up to those characters in the stories we listened to, or read about, or watched in movies in television. We wanted to be them.

Therefore, perhaps, a boy’s dream is becoming a sports athlete, or a superhero; and, maybe, for the same reason, a girl somewhere dreams of being a princess and meet the love of her life.

But then again, maybe not. Maybe girls do not dream of being princesses anymore, and that is okay too. Modern times allow each individual to chase his or her particular dreams and aspirations in life.

Sometimes, life itself alters those dreams. Sometimes, the dreams we once had, suddenly become smaller, or different, or even more grandiose than those we could ever imagine of dreaming. Sometimes, normal girls turn into princesses, without even wanting it.

Well sure, this only happens in movies, you may say, but history is full of stories in which regular women became royal princesses. Such is the case of American-born actress Meghan Markle, who married Prince Harry and became the Duchess of Sussex; or the story of Kate Middleton, who married Harry’s brother, William and thus became the Duchess of Cambridge. Both these women were not royals, but “commoners”. Do you want more reality in royalty? Both princes, Harry and his older brother, are the sons of Diana of Spencer, who, albeit being a noble was not a royal, married prince Charles and became Diana of Wales.

However, as all these real women found out, being a princess is a lot more than wearing a tiara and waiting in line to become queen one day. A princess life is full of new and unknown responsibilities and duties. Sure, there are ball dances and luxurious nightgowns, but there is also the understanding that a royal title like “Princess” is also an attitude as well as a job, and it is a real and serious job.

Meet Mia Thermopolis, a shy girl with a geeky look and a funny last name, who is the protagonist of Disney’s “The Princess Diaries” (2001). Starring a teenage Anne Hathaway as Mia, Julie Andrews as her royal grandmother and Hector Elizondo, as the gentle limo driver.

Now, out of all the people on the planet, Mia would be the last girl you would think is fit to be a princess, right? Well, that is the funny thing about destiny: it can change someone’s life overnight, and in the case of Mia, transform her from a girl with thick glasses and funny hair, into a real princess with a small kingdom to rule, with just with a visit from her grandmother, who happens to be a queen.

In the same fashion that real-life girls like Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton or many others went through, Mia’s transformation is a journey inside newfound emotions and unexpected situations, but above all, is about courage, and how its understanding can render benefits not only for a girl who never dreamed of being a princess, but for all the people around her.

Because, after all, some dreams do come true, and some girls turn into princesses.