Overcoming Disney

First let me explain that the title may be a bit confusing. I am not saying that we have to overcome Disney, I am pointing out that the Disney stories we grew up with, taught us that living our lives requires us to be able to overcome difficult, sometimes heart-breaking situations.

            I was in a conversation with a loved one about the difficulties in our lives. She came to a point where she said, “Life can’t be all like Disney characters.”

            I replied, “But Disney characters are all about living and coming back from difficult moments.” Think about it. Go back to your earliest Disney experiences. Bambi loses his mother and yet comes back to be the prince of the forest. Simba loses his father and has to battle Scar to regain his father’s kingdom. Cinderella is living a life at the control of her stepmother and evil step sisters, on her knees scrubbing floors well before she dances with a prince. Then there is Sleeping Beauty where she takes a bite from an apple and goes into a coma, cared for by 7 little people until she is kissed by another prince. And talking about the dwarves, how would your life be if you had to go through life named Grumpy or Dopey? How about going through life with the name Goofy or Dumbo. Now Dumbo, besides the name issues, is made fun of because of his ears only to overcome the ridicule by learning how to fly with those same ears.

            We all saw comic books with Donald Duck raising his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie. Well what ever happened to their mother? How did Daisey Duck fit in to all this family controversy. Let’s not forget The Beast in Beauty and the Beast. He was put under a spell where he was to remain an ugly beast until loved by the beautiful Belle. How about the poor apprentice Mickey Mouse being abused by the sorcerer in Fantasia? Aladdin, Shrek, Peter Pan vs. Captain Hook, 101 Dalmatians, the mermaid battling with her self-image. Even the feature length movies of our youth showed us the need to deal with difficulties. Old Yeller dies in his movie, Toby Tyler runs off to the circus, three animals are lost and find their way back in Homeward Bound.

            The writers and artists at Disney never offered up a rosy world. Instead they fed us story after story of the importance of never giving up, of overcoming any obstacle that happened to cross our path. For that, we should be eternally grateful. I don’t suggest we wait around for a princess or prince to save us or for a glass slipper to fall our way. Disney’s solutions might not always be available to us in that way. What I am suggesting is that we have been surrounded throughout our youth, of stories that remind us to never give up, to fight for what you believe in, to take on all enemies, slay every dragon until your path is clear again.

            I can assure you, if my life is any example, that the Captain Hooks, Cruwella DeVils, and Ursellas of the world may be waiting for you around every corner. Just know that they have been famously overcome in the past and will be overcome by you if you never give up. As David, the main character in my books The Shepherd Chronicles, once wisely said, “As long as you’re get ups exceed you knock downs by one, you are still in the game.”

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