Mr. R and I have a trip to Disneyland coming up in a couple weeks. We’ve taken our kids several times, but this will the first time we’ve gone alone since the 90s (*insert me jumping here). Mr.R has a Disneyland addiction. Yes, that’s where ‘minnie’ (my name) came from. Before D/s, I never saw myself as a minnie, per se. She wasn’t any kind of a hero for me, or even a character I thought about. None of the Disney characters were, but I didn’t really know who they were.
When I was little, Disney was seriously out of our reach. Disneyland, the Disney channel, Disney toys, all of it. All that was for people with money. We lived on the other side of the tracks. The poor side. Actually, we lived right next to the tracks, where you could lull yourself to sleep -or not- from either the blast of the train whistle, or the nonstop freeway right next to it. You had options. Needless to say, we couldn’t afford to watch go to the theater to watch Disney movies. This was back when Disney movies could only be watched at the theaters. Walt himself refused to release them for home use. Which wouldn’t have helped anyway, since we didn’t have a VCR either. Of course watching movies and TV is much easier now.
But it wasn’t only my socioeconomic status that kept me from Disney. It was the princesses. All of them. And their stories. Especially Beauty and the Beast.
As an adult, particularly an educated, feminist woman, I saw many, many problems. I’m not an expert on the story of Beauty and the Beast, it’s origins, or the many retellings it has gone through. But I could see what the Disney movie was doing; that the price of a girl was equal to a single flower. I also saw that the Beast was absolutely horrible to Beauty, and she spent all her energy trying to get him to love her, and marry her anyway. Can we say stockholm syndrome?
My feminist side woud never allow me to like any Disney Princess. I even kept my kids, especially my eldest – my daughter – away from them. I have seen, first hand, the damage bad role models could do for you.
That was until I saw Brave.
I love Brave.
I literally watched the entire movie twice yesterday. Yes, twice. All the way though. I even bought a second copy, a digital one, so I wouldn’t have to keep the disc with me. There is something in that movie that speaks very, very deeply to me.
When I first saw it, we were hanging around nowhere town for a couple days as we waited for a rare, connecting flight provided by a small plane. It was the only thing playing at the local, two screen theater, so we took the kids. I knew nothing about what we were watching, and didn’t have any expectations. The story, the characters, their struggle, what I felt…
I was not ready.
That was the first movie I ever seriously cried at. Tears streaming, totally embarrassed, in a public venue, with my husband and kids watching me. Ugh. I couldn’t help it. Those characters touched me on so many levels. I am Merida. I am her mother, Elinor, The Queen. I am the argument between them. There is a moment right after Merida looses that last arrow on the tails of her mother’s commands not to, where Merida and Elinor are facing each other, noses a hair’s width apart, tempers’ fuming, both ready to tear each other apart.
Ohh, do I know that feeling.
I could go round and round with myself. My desire to achieve, to be perfect, my incapability of it, my need to have fun, to be human. It was an impossible battle, and one that I was destined to lose.
Merida was the first, and only, Disney Princess I ever saw myself as. Thankfully, she’s not the only one Disney has done better with, but she’s the first to speak to me. As a person, a girl, as someone I could bond with and look up to. Her and Elinor, both. Their personalities; the Queen’s desire to be perfect, Merida’s desire to be wild and free, their struggles against each other, Merida’s red hair (That’s me!), their predicaments, impossible standards… As I said, I am them both, and the fight between them.
No, I was both of them.
D/s has set me free of the dualities and struggles I had with being both of them simultaneously. I no longer have to be the Queen all the time. I can be wild, and strong. I can be free as the wind and climb to the top of the Fire Falls, and I know I will be caught if I fall.
I can also kneel at my king’s feet, and let him rule my kingdom.