Back to You

In “Colors of the Wind” by Disney’s Pocahontas, she sings, “We are all connected to each other, in a circle, in a hoop, that never ends.”

And despite the movie not getting literally anything right beyond that, I’d like to say that this line is too true.

I think our lives are circles. Like ripples on a pond, never-ending and never touching the one before it. I think time is a circle, where there is constant pressure to repeat ourselves.

But I think one other thing exists in a circle: happiness. I think happiness comes in a circle because there’s always a time when you’re happy and there’s always a time when you’re not. And like a wheel, it just spins in equal measure. Everything balances out. The time you are happy is equal to the time that you are not. At the end of your life, you can see this clearly but it’s a little hard to see when you’re staring at the circle up close.

So, if you’re unhappy right now, just wait for the circle to turn. It will. And you will be free to be happy again in a little while.

Love,

Bailey

On Hakuna Matata

Hakuna Matata (it’s a wonderful phrase), but what’s not necessarily wonderful is what it means. Yes, of course, it means no worries for the rest of your days. (Update: Disney sued me for using that line even before I published this blog.) But Timon and Pumba also say that it means putting the behind in your–I mean, putting the past behind you. And that’s pretty sound advice, as Simba finds out…until it’s not.

And that’s what I’m finding too. For me, looking at a date in the past (especially if it’s in my childhood diary or in my inbox) makes me break out in hives and a cold sweat, mostly because I worry that 1) I haven’t done anything with my life or 2) I forgot to do something/follow up on something. The past is just a source of anxiety that I try to avoid at all costs that grows bigger and longer everyday, just like my guilt for not doing stuff does. And time itself is something that I’d simply prefer never to acknowledge at all. So, Hakuna Matata it is because I am just a large version of teenage Simba (but with less cooler hair).

But like I said, that’s not really the right way to go about it, and Simba figures that out pretty quickly (in the span of an entire song, but you get it). I mean, if you follow the philosophy of Hakuna Matata I’m guessing that you won’t have any worries, but then again, you may not be doing much of anything else, either. Except eating bugs and grubs. Or you know, ignoring your problems while your uncle plots to rule the world.

I’m pretty much saying what every 90’s kid already knows. Disney can predict what will happen to you in your adult life, and luckily, they already have the answers: face your fears and your past, and you’ll come full circle (of life).

We’re All a Little Like Tinkerbell

In the lore of Peter Pan, it is said that the small pixie Tinkerbell needs applause to live. If she is believed in, she continues to exist. Legend also says that when the story was adapted into a play, the audience were instructed to clap for Tinkerbell by Peter Pan. In case the audience wasn’t so inclined, the director made sure that the pit would fill in if needed. Luckily, that wasn’t required, as the audience applauded uproariously for Tink. It would seem that she would live to act another day.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we’re all a little Tinkerbell. We all want to feel loved or adored, and we want to know how much people love or adore us. In fact, we all like to be applauded into existence. What do you think the “like” button is? It’s just silent applause. What do you think a pat on the back is? It’s just a one handed clap. We’re all looking for acceptance in our life. We’re all pixie dust and self-esteem issues.

And so, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that sometimes we don’t always get the applause that we need to “survive.” Sometimes, we get the tomatoes. Sometimes, we get the “hook.” And sometimes, if we’re really lucky, we get crickets, the only thing that punctuates the silence that engulfs us.

The secret is that you are not a pixie, although you are a magical being, I’m sure. You won’t die if you aren’t approved of (even though it may feel like it when you are living on social media.) In fact, you will live in spite of not being accepted. How? You will continue on. In other words, you will keep going. We only begin to falter in our journeys, we only start to question our path, when we look around to see what everyone else is doing, when we try to compare ourselves. If Peter Pan is any testament, all we need is belief to be able to do anything we wish (even fly).

So, don’t stop just because you haven’t received your daily dose of applause. Rise up because there is still time left to earn it from yourself. With a little magic, you are possible.

I Don’t Like to Be Picked Up

They say you can’t help people who don’t help themselves. They say you have to pick yourself up by your own bootstraps. And, most importantly, they say when you get knocked down, you should get up again (because they’re never going to keep you down).

So, why do people insist on trying to pick you up themselves?

Have you ever had someone tell you to calm down when you’re really angry? It is the most frustrating, infuriating thing in the world, right? Almost as bad as stepping on a Lego. And how many times have you heard “there are plenty of more fish in the sea” when you’ve had troubles of a romantic nature? Yeah, okay, but what happens when you want that fish, who has not only swam away, but is moving up the stream? It’s all so horribly futile.

Well, it’s the same when someone says that it’s going to be “A OK” when everything seems like it has just blown up in a large mushroom cloud that used to resemble your life. I mean, when it feels like your house is crashing down around your ears, it is really not helpful to have someone tap you on the shoulder and make a joke about not having to pay rent anymore. Okay, call it petty or childish that I’m not able to look directly at the cloud with the silver lining when something bad happens, but when the gloom and doom has arrived, the bright side is a little blinding.

Which is why I don’t like to be picked up. I don’t like to be told that things will be alright. I don’t like to be told that I should be more optimistic and grateful. In the end, I like to discover these things on my own, and only then, do they have true meaning in my life. When I realize that my own situation isn’t as bad as it seems, well, that’s a lot more freeing than being told that time heals all wounds by someone else. Plus, your comment is like putting a band aid on a bullet wound: it does nothing for the immediate woe.

Here’s an example. Today, I suffered a generic loss. On a scale of 1 to Maroon 5’s latest album, I was about a 6 on the disappointment scale. So, I sought my typical creature comforts, food, warmth, and finally music. You see, no one was going to be able to bring me out of that slump but me.

Sure, the condolences from my family and friends helped, but they didn’t take away the pain. Do you know what did? Just Around the Riverbend by Disney’s Pocahontas, on repeat. After the 5th time I heard her ask if she should marry Kocoum or if her dreaming was at an end, I realized that everyone questions their decisions and choices, and that this is a universal feeling, even in the Disney universe. I didn’t tell myself to get over it, but I was able to ease myself over it anyway, like slipping into a tub of hot water, one toe at a time.

Sure, humans are gregarious creatures in that we like to be social, not that we travel in packs (although, if you go to a mall on a Friday night, you may see that some teenagers in dark clothing will band together like water buffaloes). However, when it comes to healing, we already have everything that we need. We already have the peace and solace inside us that we can use to scab over our wounds. While sentiments from others are nice, it is up to us to take action.

In the end, seek support from your friends, but don’t ask them to do all of the heavy lifting when it comes to picking you up when you’re down.

Don’t “Let it Go.”

Frozen was a well-calculated Disney formula, full of frosty fun, sisterhood, and, of course, hit songs to listen to until your ears bleed. And the entire franchise has not been so invasive (although their merchandise is even in drug stores, an obvious link) as their mega popular, tour de force, ridiculously catchy melody, “Let it Go.”

But if you aren’t singing Elsa’s solo because you have children and its their favorite, you may be humming it under your breath due to the simple fact that it is a common, calming phrase. How many times have you told yourself to simply “Let it Go,” when you’re angry or upset? And now, how many times do you sing the song after trying to soothe yourself? I thought so. Unfortunately, Disney is the inventor of “ear worms,” and it’s not a coincidence that “Let it Go” is such a popular phrase in our lexicon.

For me, while I love the movie, I see the song as cheapening a lesson that more people need to embrace in a non-Disney environment and on their own time (and in their own pitch).

So, I think we all need a new catchphrase for when things don’t go our way. Instead of letting it go, I try not to pick up anything at all. One of my favorite mantras is to “resist nothing.” Even though I didn’t make it up, I still think it’s the bees knees.

Think about it: any change in your life, any opportunity you are given, any challenge you may face, you simply don’t need to resist it. Just let it happen, instead of trying to “let it go” after you’ve already become upset or anxious about it. Try to take things as they come, one at a time, and be comfortable in the knowledge that you don’t need to be afraid of any of it. If you feel overwhelmed, it’s because you are letting yourself feel overwhelmed.

Now, if only Elsa could have taken a bit of this advice. (But I guess “resist nothing” simply wasn’t as catchy?) Luckily, you can. And you can free yourself from having to perform a musical number every time you need to recenter yourself. I think we should all try “letting go” from “let it go.” Believe me, your mind (and ears) will thank you.