The story of Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy leaves you yearning for a happy ending. Tess is undeniably lovable and sadly... relatable. When I embarked on Selkie's journey it was from a place of trauma and loss, knowing that many women do the same I understood the brand could be a sort of uniform for healing. Our battle scars, if we are lucky, can sometimes help shape new and stronger versions of ourselves. We can try to use pain as a guide towards finding light. Selkie embodies confidence - the ability to delve into our inner selves and present a version that exclaims, "Look at me! I'm here," whether it's in front of a mirror, or among others, it's about being seen. We deserve to love ourselves, embracing every inch of our pain and deepest regrets. We deserve to feel like princesses for a day, and so did Tess.
Throughout Tess's story she is absolutely courageous, never too shy to stand up for herself, and in the 19th century this was a radical idea. Hardy wrote her abuse with a sympathetic tone, and this made critics (all male) furious. But there is one thing that Hardy never gave his beloved Tess- self forgiveness. A crucial part of a survivors story! She never perceives herself as the rightful victim, or forgives herself enough to walk away. She remains steadfast to her lover, Angel, even though he never deserves her.
I envision a new ending, one in which Angel abandons her and Tess says "No more." Her and her resilient milkmaid friends join forces, utilising the money Angel left to start their own countryside Bed and Breakfast. They rise early, finally employing their incredible farming skills for their own benefit - milking cows, tending to the garden, painting their charming little hotel, and preparing a hearty breakfast of eggs, toast, potatoes, and herb salads for their guests. In the evenings, they laugh, oh do they laugh, relaxing by the fire knitting shawls and reading from their healthy library of books. They sew their own gowns, weaving fabrics and painting intricate prints onto fine silks. They sleep soundly under cozy comforters, with matching luxurious drapes over wood frame windows. They wake up to the sound of their own dreams- a little farm where animals are best friends, cats lay on the windowsills, dogs steal food under tables, and newspaper clippings of reviews about their charming hotel line the kitchen wall. Here is a place the morality police are never welcome.