Eleven years ago, I gave birth to a beautiful bright eyed little girl. And with little girls, (Well kids in general) comes the submersion into what kids see as life. Not only do I have a daughter, at the time of her birth, my sister already had a 1 ½ year old and was expecting baby boy number two. The songs they sing, the television shows and movies they watch, which means for the past ten years I have lived a life with princesses and frogs, sponges , tomatoes and Muppets as the background music to my life.
My daughter, like most kids, has an affinity to Disney/Pixar movies and in ten years I have seen and heard them all as I go about my daily life.
There has been a weird side effect to the constant of singing princesses and animals, toys and superheroes that inhabit these films. Their quotes and sayings, their little lessons have become my Tao of sorts without me being really aware of it happening.
The first movie that I can really remember leaving its mark on me, no matter how subconsciously, was Finding Nemo. We watched that movie so often that we all knew it by heart. I thought it cute and funny, as all Pixar movies are. But when I am struggling, when times get a little hard, I find myself humming
“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming,”
And suddenly, in my very best Dorie voice I sing and I feel better. That little mantra makes me feel that I could be drowning, I could be floundering in the deep end, but if I just keep going, I will make it to the end.
The first movie I took my daughter to was The Incredibles, which was a huge undertaking for a 1 ½ year old who could not sit still for more than five minutes at a time. When my daughter began walking, within an hour she was running and she hasn’t really stopped. But I bravely took her to the movie, a 2 and half hour long, movie for a kid who my mother called affectionately called Flo-Jo. After we saw The Incredibles, she became Dash, because …well… because.
Though the movie was about a family of superheroes, one line spoken by the bespectacled Edna Mode stuck with me,
“I never look back, darling. It distracts from the now.” — Edna Mode
Looking back is a waste of time, you can’t change what was you can only move forward, focus on now and everything else will fall into place.
Whenever the doubt starts to creep in I remember that and I move forward. There are dozens more I could go through, like the years I spent in Princess purgatory, listening as Cinderella reminded me that , “If you keep on believing, the wishes that you make will come true,” And Princess Tiana singing “Almost there,” Which ran on a loop for three months straight.
But even though these songs and movies, played over and over in my head, they act as a subliminal motivation of sorts. These movies that are supposedly made for children are the most uplifting and inspirational I have seen in my life. They stay with me, reminding me that there is always hope, that dreams do come true.
My favorite quote, from Walt Disney himself, was just blurb on a screen that my daughter asked me to read for her as Meet the Robinsons was ending. Being five at the time, she could read, but not fast enough to catch everything. The quote, which I feel sums up every message in every Disney, Pixar ,DreamWorks or any other movie since the creation of kids entertainment has stayed at the back of my mind,
“Around here, however, we don’t look back for very long. We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. “–Walt Disney
It’s the way I live and the way I think, it is my Tao, my path to success and happiness and a life worth living. Even when in my darkest moments, when I wonder if my writing is worth anything, is it worthy, am I as talented as I think I am, that keeps me motivated. Maybe I am not everyone’s cup of tea, but what I do has merit. My life is a life well lived and in the end, I want to look back and say, I did all I could. I lived a good life.
Even if I struggle and sometimes find myself sinking, I just remember that no matter what I will be fine.
As long as I,
“Just keep swimming, just swimming, just keep swimming, swimming swimming………