Today, on our way to an appointment, my kids and I blasted Disney music and belted out the lyrics at the top of our lungs. I kept looking back at them and singing to them, grinning. I met up with my husband and he took the kids and I went into my appointment. But then, on my way home – in the car…by myself… I continued to blast that Disney music, windows down, even at stop lights surrounded by cars, singing Let it Go and We Know the Way with NO shame. For real.
Folks, I love me some Disney. I always have. My mother will tell you. She’ll tell you about the time she bought me a Disney princess birthday cake at the grocery store and the cashier asked, “Aww, how old is your daughter? Four? Five?” My mom grinned and answered, “Nope. Sixteen.”
And after all these years, I finally figured out why I love Disney so much.
From Elsa to Merida to Mulan to Moana to Tiana to Hercules to Aladdin – what these characters truly desire is to be themselves. To realize their dreams and to just be who they are. Tiana is “almost there” to the lifelong dream for which she’s worked so hard. Elsa says “let it go”, I’m gonna be who I am regardless of what you all may think. Aladdin says “there’s so much more to me” than how the world views him. Merida fights for herself, is “proud as an eagle’s scream,” and Moana – she declares to the world, “I am Moana!”
These are lessons I want my kids to embrace. Throughout the past few months, I have been working toward a new lifestyle that is more compatible with who I really am, and where I am. And today when I was driving in the car blasting We Know the Way I realized that Disney music had been my mantra through this journey.
The Stories of Disney
I am driven by stories. When I listen to Disney music and sing the songs, the stories behind them resonate with me. I think of Tiana and her long, hard work toward her dreams, and her singing “there’s been trials and tribulations, you know I’ve had my share” as I think of all the long nights and anxieties and fears I’ve gone through to realize my dreams. I think of Belle wanting “adventure in the great wide somewhere” when the world just wants us to settle and live a ho-hum lifestyle, whereas I want to live an adventurous life even in the midst of my married-with-kids urban life. Hercules sets off on adventure to find the truth of who he is, and goes from “zero to hero, just like that”, yet he discovers more about himself and what he is capable of than he expected.
I could go on, but I think you get what I’m talking about, if you’re familiar with these stories and these songs. You can probably add your own examples of how Disney characters have encouraged you – and your kids! Disney has persisted throughout the decades, they’ve changed and grown and expanded their storytelling, their animation, their characters, and the depth of their stories, and I can’t wait to see where they go next. They’re truly master storytellers and they express the depth of humanity. They’ve taught me so much, and I’m passing those stories and songs onto my kids, because they’re worth it.
So, tomorrow, when we go for a long drive, you can probably guess what music will be on our radio. It’ll be a whole new world…