“I want to be where the people are..”
Admit it, you’re probably singing along right this second if you’re a fan of “The Little Mermaid” soundtrack like me. Sometimes it takes the slightest version of a stimulus to trigger a deep and powerful memory within us.
Unlike most people, I don’t shy away from or try to cloak my love for animated Disney films. Especially the classics like “The Little Mermaid,” “Mulan”, “The Lion King”, just to name a few of my favorites. I admit, that when I’m feeling particularly under the weather, I don’t hesitate to watch these films that had me believing in talking animals and enchanting forests in my childhood.
As I grew up, I was told that, factually, this magic does not exist in “real life”. As if facts are the only foundations on which one has to base his/her life on, and quite foolishly, I believed everyone.
Until I saw the color bleed from my life and trickle away like runny watercolors dripping from a canvas, leaving it damp and blank.
That was when I came to a very important conclusion.
Of course magic doesn’t exist in the external environment because I’ve been harboring it within myself since God knows when.
Before you accuse me of being too idealistic or gullible or whatever, I assure you that what I claim to be true will make sense to you once you hear me out, all biases aside (and I’m not referring to the kpop ones, those who know, know.)
“Part of Your World” has been a gem of a song in “The Little Mermaid” soundtrack and I’ve been humming and singing it since I was six. I vividly remember getting entranced by Ariel’s voice and trying to mimic the high notes she sang as I found myself getting sucked up in her world. I also remember wanting to be a mermaid with a tail as shimmery (if not more) than hers. It couldn’t fathom why such an extraordinarily enchanting being would want to be an ordinary human like me. It didn’t make much sense to me, then.
But I’ve figured it out now (kind of).
We beings always yearn to be someone, or someplace where we are not. As if contentment or the promise of eternal happiness lies in another person or a place that seems to draw us toward it. Things always seem so much greener and prosperous on the other side. Particularly on the side where we are not present. And we police ourselves into believing that if we could just become that or buy this or move there, our smiles might not be so empty anymore.
Granted, new things and experiences are exciting. But are they really worth it if they result in you letting yourself go? Aren’t you all you have?
You can upgrade it or downgrade it or sugarcoat it any way you want to but it’ll still be a stark truth.
You are all you have.
Let that sink in.
Sometimes we forget simple things like this because we get caught up in the whirlwind of life.
“I’ve got gadgets and gizmos..”
“I want moreeeee…”
“She’s got everything….”
For those of you wondering if the writer has finally gone off the bend (which, admittedly, may or may not be true), these are some bits and pieces that are swirling around like ocean waves in my head as I am writing this article.
The point is, Ariel wanted something that we humans already possess. Seemingly trivial luxuries like legs or the privilege to reside on this earth and walk on it. Your lifestyle, however problematic you think it to be, is probably the object of someone else’s dreams. Someone may be willing to carry your burdens for you if you exchange your problems with theirs. Your mother may roll her eyes after listening to whatever you were ranting about to her and tell you to “quit whining” because she “had it worse” than you.
While she may be teaching you a lesson of gratitude but her calamities are not a get-out-of-jail-free card for you.
Just because she felt compromised during her time (past or present), that does not strip you of your right to feel how you feel. You do not need to justify your feelings.
Your feelings are simply not logical, you can’t make a graph out of them or add them to statistics. However, that does not mean that they are insignificant.
Because they are. If not for anyone, then for you, definitely.
It’s not your fault someone else struggles more than you or less.
It’s interesting how we construct these colossal sculptures of faults in us that aren’t ours to possess after all.
Honey, why don’t you put them on display in a museum instead? That way you’ll actually benefit from them.
We forget in pursuit of perfection, that perfection lies not in the absence of faults, rather in the acceptance and firm belief that yes, even though we are scarred and our flags are torn and worn out, that will not stop us from waving them without shame.
You may be in a position of your life right now that may make you want to curse your life.
Well, Ariel wanted to be you.
She wanted to live your privilege.
So what exactly is the problem? Does one take a shot at optimism because of some Disney character?
If the answer does not lie in the perceived perfection of others or standards of society then where is it?
In a place where you do not care to look.
No place or no body will seem worthy or “enough” if you do not find the magic within yourself first.
But what exactly is this “magic”? And how does one find it in oneself? And why is it so important in the first place?
It’s simply leaning your head back, taking a deep breath and relishing your perspective. Finding fulfillment within yourself. Your little secret against the world.
So what if it’s different? Or weird?
It’s yours and that’s all that matters.
You are the lead character in your life so why bother worrying about what the extras think of you? If they were as good as you, they would’ve gotten the lead role in your life instead of you.
Learn to appreciate the first chirps that break the early morning’s silence, the gradient in the sky, the harmonious melody of silence, your mind’s constant chatter as it tries to preach sense into you or just talk to you.
Believe it or not, silence has its own music and it’s not as haunting as it seems. It’s just a question of listening closely.
You don’t have to know all the answers, you just have to appreciate those that you do have and never stop searching for the ones you don’t. It’s okay if you accept the lack of answers in some cases too.
Not every pair of socks has to match, you know.
Sometimes you have to appreciate the beauty of what isn’t and concoct your own personal version for it.
For yourself and nobody else.
You’ll realize that you have more colors flowing you than the rainbow itself.
And even when it rains, you’ll learn that the sky isn’t sobbing at all because these raindrops look like little crystal gems falling from the sky that sound like marbles and melt as soon as they land somewhere. Or maybe that these tears weren’t because of sorrow but because of joy instead.
And you know what?
Spoiler alert: You’ll be alright, because even though finding your magic isn’t as easy as it sounds, that doesn’t mean that it’s not there.
I’ll be honest with you, the journey to finding your magic and self acceptance is no walk in the park, it’s difficult and an uphill task but the destination will make you glad that you went through that arduous journey, because once you do, you’ll realize that what you have within you is so much more than an illusion or sleight of hand.
It’s true that you can’t control the world or even your feelings. But you do control how you choose to look at things. Your perspective is one thing you can control. Most of the time, it won’t be easy to look on the upside when things are, clearly, going downhill but it’s not impossible. If there dares to be a thunderstorm, then those clouds also have a silver lining, no matter how you convince yourself otherwise.
And that makes all the difference in the world, and consequently, in yours too.