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Saturday, April 26, 2014


Years ago when we were all still single, a girlfriend of mine developed a humorous theory that women follow a dating template based on their favorite Disney movie relationship.  Girls who loved Cinderella were hardworking optimists who were not opposed to being swept off their feet.  Girls who loved Little Mermaid might change who they are to suit their man.  Girls who loved Belle from Beauty and the Beast were fiercely intelligent, brave and willing to take on a challenge.  Ladies who loved tramps…well, you know who you are. 

She had a lot of fun questioning all of us about our favorite film without revealing her premise until AFTER we had explained the attachment.  And you know what?  In her small case study, women did pretty consistently conform to their favorite Disney heroine’s path.  At least, until she asked me.

You want to know what my favorite Disney movie was growing up?  The Sword and the Stone. 

When I made this response to her inquiry, I saw real concern develop in her brow.  “But why?” she asked, genuinely perplexed, “I mean, what is it that appeals to you so much?”  I answered with complete enthusiasm, “It’s about a kid who lives with his Uncle and his cousin and they treat him like a servant and call him Wart but then MERLIN teaches him magic and he pulls the sword out of the stone and becomes the KING OF ENGLAND!!!” 

Now, if you don’t know me, you might think this blows her theory totally out of the water.  But while I will not speak for any of my ex-boyfriends, I am pretty sure my husband thinks not only that I might have some magical powers, but also that he is, in fact, married to the King of England.  Ha.
Albert Einstein once said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”  The stories that resonate with us as children are the stories that speak to our souls, to who-we-really-are, and to who we hope to become. 

As a Mom I have had the pleasure of re-reading some of my favorite childhood books with my son and it has been a powerful and moving experience to be sure.  I loved “The Wind in the Willows” as a child, but as an adult I am going to posit that it may be the greatest children’s book ever written.  It hits all of the right notes, from self-acceptance and self-expression to cooperation, sharing, taking risks, knowing God as all-encompassing…but to a child, it is a charming adventure of animals living on a riverbank.  I was in awe reading it again as to how it spoke to my life path and the many relationships and other “adventures” I have experienced.

I will tell you what got me thinking about all of this: the post “How Disney Sabotaged Our Love Lives” on the HuffPo.   It compelled me to write this as some kind of rebuttal.  First of all, other than the title, there is barely a mention of Disney, per se, and how can one blame an institution for high divorce rates and then provide such scant evidence?  The real title of this article should have been “How the notion of a soul mate sabotaged our love lives” and I say PHOOEY ON THAT!

Soul mates rock!!!!  And most of us have a plethora of them, not just that antiquated notion of a one-true-love.  Soul mates are people you recognize instantly; you have that shock of “Oh, there you are!” with a total stranger.  And it is not only NOT exclusively a romantic attachment, it is USUALLY not…most of my best friends in the world are people with whom I had an instant click, a sense of home, of belonging.  The notion that hoping to marry a soul mate is somehow destructive to your romantic dreams is kind of mean-spirited, IMHO.
A thing that speaks to your soul, whether it be a book, movie, song, painting or person…these are the things that matter most in this world.  Without them, we are lost.  These are talisman, markers on our path that tell us we are headed in the right direction, that keep us on course, that remind us to hope for the best but also know we have the resources to handle the worst. 

Your soul is that most amazing and resilient piece of you, both highly individualized and yet connected to every living thing on earth.  When it is activated by anything…your work, your play, your relationships, your religion…this is a very, very good thing, the best possible thing in fact.  Disney does not sabotage us any more than any other piece of art, if it resonates with us. 

Just, as I am living proof of, not all girls are destined to be princesses.  Some of us are kings.


  1. I love that click. That sense of belonging. It was an instant intuition with my husband. Instead of fairy tales, I tend to look through the lens of ancient mythological stories. The themes are similar. That's what makes an enduring myth and an enduring fairy tale.

  2. Mine is The Lion King. What does that tell you?