Hey guys! I’m taking a Disney-themed English class this semester and am required to write Tumblr blog posts for it. Because I’m genuinely interested to see how Disney has affected my life and think it’d help me better understand myself as a writer, I thought the posts would be worthy of sharing with you all on here as well. Expect more to come in the following weeks!
Magnificent ball gowns and glittering jewels, horse-drawn carriages and charming young princes – this was the common Disney image I’d grown up with and adored, aspired to reach and constantly dreamed about. Pixie dust and fairy godmothers, glass slippers and happily-ever-after’s – who wouldn’t have wanted to believe in such a world?
For the longest time, I did believe. I watched all the movies and read all the storybooks. I saw the appeal in formulaic happiness. Disney films may not have been surprising, but they were enjoyable. They were reaffirming. Nevertheless, somewhere in the back of my mind, there festered a burgeoning resentment for the tried-and-true storyline. I felt that it didn’t account for life’s unpredictability, and I was devastated to be proven right.
In 2006, I had my first brush with death, started seeing a specialist for medical problems, and then, mere months afterward, moved to a different state. It was a whirlwind of events that left no time for reflection and impacted my young mind heavily. As a new kid in a new small-town elementary school, freshly acquainted with the horror of death and missing my former life, I could no longer identify with the glittering world of princesses and ball gowns. I had seen that there was more to life, and I wanted confirmation for it. I wanted to be better equipped to handle life’s complexities and unpredictability. As horrible as it sounds, I was fascinated by the idea of death and other life-altering instances, and I wanted to see their potential for destruction – if only to protect myself from letting them ever affect me again. I couldn’t describe what I wanted, but I had a pretty good idea of it.
In a word, I sought more.
And in 2007, I found more in Disney’s Meet the Robinsons.
Meet the Robinsons immediately caught my attention because of its inclusion of time travel. The subject had always fascinated me and I was eager to see how Disney would incorporate it. Moreover, I found myself instantly drawn to the main character. Lewis was a hardworking progressive consumed by an idea and determined to see it through – something with which I could strongly identify through every phase of my life as a writer. He was passionate and exuberant, dedicated and resourceful – but like me, Lewis had a tragic flaw. He was constantly obsessed with a single moment in his past; a moment that, he believed, had changed everything for the worst. This fatal obsession coupled with riveting plot progression and thrilling plot twists made for a fascinating tale that consumed me entirely and that, in my eleven-year-old opinion, ended terribly.
For many years, I wanted to hate Meet the Robinsons because of its ending. My unwillingness to accept it said more about me and my life than my fascination with the movie did. I didn’t agree with it at all – I wanted to know who Lewis’s real mother was, and I wanted him to want that too. The alternative was terrifying – let go of the past and “keep moving forward”? How does one do such a thing?
Unfortunately, I still have no idea. It just kind of happens. One day, you just wake up and decide that the future has more to offer than the past ever could. I believe Walt Disney himself experienced a similar realization at some point in his life, and that’s what makes the movie and its closing quote (which is prominently displayed in my dorm room window and has continued to inspire me all these years) all the more resounding:
“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” — WALT DISNEY