“All our dreams can come true” or what Disnay taught me

I’ve always had a soft spot for Disney, one of my earliest memories is me and my brother arguing over Aurora dress colour at the end of Sleeping Beauty. I not a huge fan the Disney Princess thing; I was always more of a Jungle Book, Lion King, Lady and the Tramp and everything Pixar sort of girl. Now I’m older, despite the problems I have with Disney, I find the films undeniably beautiful, I went to watch the Lion King in 3D and found that as a child I had missed how visually stunning it was.

Like I said I have problems with Disney, as a child I always felt they had ruined many of my favourite stories and fairytales by not being faithful to the original material I was familiar with. Nor I could ever really relate to Princess who all seemed desperate to find love and be swept off their feet. Then I got older and found a whole new set of issues (got to love age and cynicism.) There is however a couple of things I learnt from Disney.

  1. If nothing else I have learnt that love is important and that it comes in all shapes

    This was on my 10th Birthday cake I had in America, I have kept this plastic decoration all these years as I can’t bear to let it go.

    andsizes. Lilo and Stitch has a small and broken family but it’s “still good” and Belle only has a father. I watched parents do anything for their children; it helped me understand my own. I watched friends in Disney help each other, I watched lovers heart-break and then rejuvenate with a kiss. Love and relationships are pivotal in Disney, because it is the thing that gives us most joy in life, our family and our friends make us happy but it’s more than that love is also about the sacrifices you make for the people who mean the most. The older you get the less you take love for granted.

  2. From the moment Mufasa died it dawned on me: Life is hard. None of the characters in Disney have it easy, Cinderella, Hercules, Pocahontas, their lives are difficult, they are faced with arduous decisions and challenges while trying to do the right thing and make their lives better. Disney has the lives of their characters change and often it is beyond their control and they are simply trying to do their best and keep their head above water. The older I get the more I understand this feeling and how much harder it can become.
  3. Hope is a very powerful thing, it is the only thing that can defeat pain. Hope is everywhere in Disney:  101 Dalmatians, Fox and the Hound, Aladdin, the characters and the audience never gives up hope for a happy ending. Hope is the thing that characters hold on to when all else is lost, it is part of them that never dies, the last candle in the darkness. The older we get the harder it is to keep the hope while in life I’ve learnt that the candle doesn’t always stay lit; Disney does a pretty good job of showing how significant it is in life. H.O.P.E : Hold On, Pain Ends.
  4. There is such thing as magic, the world pretty awesome place and if you take the time to see it ,magic is alive and well and if not…. your toys come to life when you leave the room. It is also in our dreams and wishes, Snow White wishes in a well, Geppetto on a star and Peter Pan fills Wendy’s dreams, these are thing that these character hold on to and fuel their life. They are a source of amazing strength and that is magic.
  5. The greatest thing I have learnt from Disney is that you are your own hero, you can save yourself. The characters fight and despite all the Princess having Princes they do a pretty good job at fighting for themselves. They fight for what they want, they fight to have their wishes and dreams and to protect their hopes and the people they love. Love is important so fight for it, life is hard so fight for the life you want, hope is important so fight not to lose it, fight to keep the magic in your life. Simple.

The thing about growing up is that things become less black and white and become more about different shades of grey. Disney may not be the shinning white sceptical I remember it being, but that doesn’t tarnish the lessons I’ve leant. Mainly everyone can exist, the good and the bad, but you have to fight to live the life you will be proud of, you will have to believe in yourself even when others don’t and you have to dare to dream and go after that light no matter how dark it gets.

The Disney Princess at their film ages by Taijavigilia

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Great Gatsby

I have a list of books in my head that I’m desperate to read or think that I should read. On the list is the Great Gatsby which I finished about a week ago. It has taken me a while to figure out what I thought and feel about the novel. It was never going to measure up to the magnitude I had built it up to. I suppose that will always be a problem when you pick up a novel that is so renowned, by an author as admired as F. Scott Fitzgerald. Words and phrases such as ‘classic’ and ‘loved by everyone’ will always mar you opinion for better or worse before you even read the first line.

I felt that the novel was dull, like 1984 I felt nothing really happened for a long time. I felt no emotional investment; I didn’t care for Nick, who did nothing but watch the world he happily inhabited with cynicism, I didn’t care for Daisy and after the intrigue of waiting for the infamous Gatsby to appear on the written page I no longer cared for Jay. And I was waiting, always waiting; waiting for Fitzgerald to say something, less obvious than, look at the moral decay of our time, look at the decay of the American dream. I wanted him say something subtle, through all the negative, all the putrid and festering commotion, something positive. I wanted there to be an understated acknowledgment that there was still beauty in life, however much the good hearts and dreams are doomed to die and leave little mark on a glittering materialistic world. There are many things I could say about the novel but I could never say it wasn’t beautiful, I kept reading because it was aesthetically so pleasing.

This carefully crafted piece of art is at heart a thwarted love story of star-crossed lovers and while keeping to the traditional separation devices of money and status, the fact the lovers aren’t perfect makes them easier to relate to. Romantic idolised lovers are untouchable; however, it is their flaws that make Daisy and Gatsby interesting. It is the flaws in the lovers and in the wealthy that leads to their destruction, the society and morals around them are decaying. Both of these verge on being romanticised but are dragged back to represent the dark dangerous world that was developing in the 1920’s. It is the disillusionment that Fitzgerald presents to the reader that is so striking, the 1920s is a world presented full of greed and the pursuit of pleasure that is an all top accurate illustration of our current world, a world despite it rotten core will remain outwardly stunning.

Fitzgerald speaks to the readers fears that good hearts like Gatsby’s seem doomed to die but isn’t that just because we remember? No one will remember Tom, Daisy or Jordan but we will always recall the one who is great long after they are gone, believing they left too early. It is the fear that our dreams will die that speaks so well to the reader, no one wants to believe that the American or Gatsby’s dream will die or worse, in its essence is untouchable. Fitzgerald does raise the question, do we idealise and perfect dreams to a point that renders them unattainable and effectively doom them to die in a materialist world?

Gatsby may have been trapped in the past by status and background but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t capable of recreation. Yes I wish Gatsby wasn’t chasing a past summer but who is to say he wouldn’t create a better summer when he caught it? What I love about Gatsby is that he believes in the green light despite what he has seen in war and how cynical the world has made him. He still believes in his dream of the better world he wants to create. The belief that people will choose to dream of something better in a dark world is wonderful and one I believe in whole heartedly.

So yeah, I still think it was dull and there were things I didn’t like about The Great Gatsbybut I doubt that is what I’m going to talk about when someone asks me if I’ve read the book.

The cover of the first edition of The Great Ga...

Haunting presence

I’ve had an odd day, I mean really odd. You know that feeling, when without having heard or seen a person, you know someone is standing very close to you; you can just sense their presence. It’s an intolerable feeling that makes you whirl around desperate to relieve the abhorrent feeling of uncertainly, to know who is there. That is how I have felt all day like there is someone horrible haunting my right shoulder, their head hovering just behind my right ear. It is an insufferable feeling; someone is almost breathing down my neck and ruffling my hair, but when I turn around there is nothing just indecipherable air.

This morning, lying contentedly in bed, I floated between dreams and consciousness; I was mundanely playing with the idea of getting up. The edge of my bed sank as someone gently sat on the mattress, for a moment I assumed my Mother had come in to my room to talk to me. She remained silent and I didn’t move, hoping to achieve a few more winks of the doze I was enjoying. The burden slowly rose from my bed and I decided I was dreaming and so could remained lying on my front with my head buried in my pillow a little longer. The weight then returned and this time oppressively clung and clung to the air around me. Something/someone lent over me from the left side of my bed, over my body to hang its head between mine and the wall. I immediately lurched up bewildered by anyone doing this to me; I struggled up frantically the atmosphere around me pushing down. There was no one there, I was met with a nonexistent presence, I was alone in my room lit by pale morning light and my own heavy breathing.

I spent the rest of the day being followed. My every move watched intently, every action and stride manically observed and met invisibly and silently. At work, several times I spun around, certain that if I moved fast enough I would see…. something. I could not alleviate the harsh impression that there was something haunting my day. Every sense seems to betray me because I felt there was something lingering I just couldn’t see or hear or touch. It’s just there, only it exists in the corner of my eye when it thinks I’m not looking and it thinks is safe.

I am completely rattled, disturbed by this absent company. I am preoccupied by the troubling sense of an angel, ghost, imagined spectre has taken to squandering time in my presence, just beyond appearance. It is finding a foul amusement agitating my nerves and unsettling me in the twilight of my cold room. I can feel it just behind me, toying with the wind chime in my window, with long blacken nails, on a twisted mottled hand. It is tinkling leisurely with the slender metal, waiting and watching for something, I just don’t know what. I think it wants to teach me that you are never too old to be frightened by nothing.

Wishing on a star.

Starlight, star bright,

An artist's impression of Sirius A and Sirius ...

The first star I see tonight,

I wish I may, I wish I might,

Have the wish I wish tonight.

For as long as I can remember I have only ever wished for one thing on a star or at any other wish making opportunity. It is the same wish every time; it is ever constant and faithful. This unbroken wish has to this day always come true, ever since I was little. I’d tell you what it is but I’m afraid that it will stop coming true (seriously!!  I do not care how childish that is) and my wish upon a star it is an important part of my life and who I am.

I chose it because when I was younger I believed I understood the value of a wish, if you wasted a wish separately on lots of different things the magic would be divided and less potent. I thought about it very carefully, very particularly and chose one wish that I believed was achievable and would make life wonderful now and forever. My wish is about something I worried about (and still do,) something that was so big, so huge that I knew I couldn’t manage it all on my own and would need help. It wasn’t frivolous like wishing for a horse and it wasn’t silly like wishing for good grades (you could work hard in class for those or ask for help), it was a very important big person wish. It is the wish I work hard for in my life every minute, every hour and every day; determined that it will always come true.

I’m not going to ask what your wish is, but I will ask if you have ever had a wish come true?