I have grown up on Disney movies, tv shows, concerts, trips, toys, etc. Even now, as a woman of twenty-nine, and especially as I am pregnant with my first child, I am in love with Disney. Whenever we pass the Disney Store in one of the bigger malls in Indianapolis, I have to pull my husband inside to look around. Of course, Disney now owns practically everything – from Power Rangers, to X-men, Captain America, etc., but I still find extreme pleasure in moving around the store, smiling and admiring the loveliness of the costumes, dolls, toys, and clothing that are laid out. So much more intricate and elaborate now than when I was a little girl and longed for such pretty things. But now I find that it is far more nostalgia for me and a sweet nostalgia at that. This past Christmastime, we went to the Disney Store and, when I spied a cute little Stitch in his Christmas pjs and bed slippers. I picked him up and he was so soft and adorable that I fairly started to cry as I held and cuddled him. I didn’t purchase it, however, as the hubby had already bought me a lovely Cheshire Cat and Stitch for our 5th wedding anniversary.
While Disney has sanitized many of the old fairytales, placing in happy endings where traditionally there were none, only fearful, heartbreaking, and sometimes bloody lessons to be learned, I still find a sweetness and joy in watching them. I enjoy remembering when I was a little girl and longed to a heroine. Not necessarily a princess, I think, but a heroine nonetheless. I remember when “Beauty and the Beast” first came out and I watched Belle with her books. I marveled that there should be a heroine so much like me, with a love of books comparable to mine, as I knew no one in school or in my community with such a love and obsession. Therefore, I found a comrade in a fiction when there was no such one in life. Also, like Ariel, I felt that my father didn’t understand me and I longed for experiences, for places to explore and discover. However, along with that, came a rather romantic spirit but I soon puzzled out for myself that the sort of princes in the Disney fairytales were not the sort of prince I wanted. I didn’t want someone to save me but someone to work alongside me, someone who would get to know me, understand me. Honestly, in all the Disney stories, I do think that “Beauty and the Beast” is the relationship closest to what I wanted. Belle and the Beast were together for a long time, perhaps close to a year, getting to know each other, helping each other, learning each other. None of these whirlwind loves like Ariel and Eric (three days, really?) but a true friendship start to their love. A friendship that fostered understanding and loyalty. That is what I wanted. And that is what I received with Ben.
So, in a way, I suppose, Disney has helped me decide what I did and did not want out of love and relationship. So, thank you, Disney. Thank you for that.