September 12, 2011

Story of My Life #8 - The Princess Thing

If you look at my Movie List you'll seen that I've been watching a lot of Princess movies lately. I've gone back and forth with all these Disney ladies - From Enchanted to Aurora - and I've been thinking a lot of about The Princess Thing.

I was just re-watching The Little Mermaid, and I was struck with how much I still liked it. It's not about love because I just re-watched Cinderella and though I still liked it, I didn't love it as much as I did as a kid. But with Ariel and Eric it was love - the enduring kind. I first saw the movie when it was first released in theaters - yes, I am that old - I was about five years old at the time, and I loved it. I loved mermaids and magic and handsome prince.

ArielBut now, now that I'm closer to 30 than to 20, now that I look at the girl I was and the girl I am and the woman I hope to one day be (if possible, I hope to one day be as hot as Helen Mirren, but that's just me), I look back to Ariel and Eric and I still love them and all the represent. I love Eric who is kind and handsome and funny, and actually has some say in his own story; but most of all I love Ariel, I love how she's impulsive and rebellious but means well, I love how she knows what she wants and goes get it.

Courage and independence come in a many shapes and forms, and I see that in my princesses. For me, princesses have never been these languid beautiful girls who are just sitting around waiting for things to happen to them.

Even in the Disney pantheon, I never saw them that way. I saw Ariel saving Eric right at the beginning; I saw Belle going to great lengths to protect her father; I saw Cinderella deciding to go to the ball even though it could land her in trouble; I saw Snow White running away and making a place for herself among the dwarfs; I saw Aurora dancing in the woods because she feels like it, and giving her heart away to this guy who dances with her.

Those are the things I see when I open this corner of my childhood and look at my princesses, my companions, the girls I wanted to be when I grew up.

Of course, I also see Princess Leia holding a gun and fighting the Empire, but well, she has always been on a league of her own.

I can go back and forth, from Snow White to Princess Leia, and Belle, and Giselle and Rapunzel. I can look at them and see these brave girls who fall in love and have adventures and sing for the heck of it, and who, most of all, have enough courage to stay true to themselves regardless of what life throws at them.

And to me, that's the Princess Thing.

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