I really Lived.

I have heard many times that we need to live life to the full. We just need to live. Period. I may actually be sick of hearing this message. The reason is , no matter how often I hear it, I never know quite how to apply it.

I want to live well, to use my time wisely, but how? How do I know what’s worthwhile?

And even if I know, what if I don’t want to do it?

And even if I want to do it, what if I can’t?

Why does this have to be so hard?

Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it just seems hard because we make it so. That’s probably not news to you.

There’s this song that I happen to really like, and it’s not a Disney sequel one. This one is by One Republic is I am not confusing my band names. Perhaps you’ve heard it, it’s called “I lived.” I read on Wikipedia that one of the band member wrote this song for his son, and such songs are typically the best, because though we don’t know what we want, we have much clearer vision for what we want our children to have. (Even if they aren’t our children, but just children we care about.)

But I love this song because of what it exhorts the listener to do.

Hope when you take that jump, you won’t feel the fall.

Hope when the water rises, you built a wall.

Hope when that crowd screams out, they’re screaming your name.

Hope if everybody runs, you’ll choose to stay.

Hope that you fall in love, and it hurts so bad, the only way you can know is give it all you have.

And I hope that you don’t suffer, but take the pain.

Hope when your moment comes you’ll say: “I, I did it all. I, I did it all. I owned every second that this world could give. I saw so many places, the things that I did. And with every broken bone, I swear I lived.”

I literally get chills just typing these words out, they are so good.

There’s a verse in the Bible that has been made into a song, (as many of them have) but also expanded upon. It goes like this “Teach us  to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

The song tweaks it to “Teach me to number my days, and count every moment, before it slips away. To take in all the color, before they fade to gray. I don’t want to miss, even just a second more of this.”

What these two songs are telling us is very true. And the reason they use the analogies they do is because we understand better that way.

The first song is talking about how we need to live. We need to take jumps of faith, and if our faith is in the right thing, we won’t feel the fall. We need to face the storms of life and build walls to protect ourselves and those close to us. Now, the crowd screaming your name thing can be see many ways, but the best light to put it in, is that we will do so much good that we will be cheered on.

It is so important to me that the writer of the song used the word hope. No parents can make their child do any of these things, they all involve wisdom on the child’s part, and courage, and faith. But it is what a parent should want and prepare their child for. But it get even better.

To hope that falling in love will hurt sounds strange, but it is wisdom. Love, when it is purest, strongest, and most unfailing, hurts the lover. It won’t hurt all the time, but the ability to love so much that it hurts is the ability to have perhaps the highest human connection. I speak of true love, not the pain of unmet desire, that is something else entirely. That kind of love requires you giving it all you have, and that is a great thing.

To stay when everyone else runs, to not suffer, but to view it as taking the pain. Why, that is encouraging bravery, and not being the victim but the hero.

Seriously, I love this father’s prayer. It is like a prayer.

In the chorus of the song we get to the end goal, that the child will one day look back on their life and say “I lived.”

There’s a movie “Secondhand Lions,” which I recommend. It tells the story of two men who had an  amazing life, and passed on what they learned form it to their nephew, Walter. At the end of the movie, the grandchildren of one of the two uncles old foes, a wealthy sheik, show up at their house, and one of them says to Walter. “So those two men form Grandpa’s stories, they really lived?” And Walter says the most powerful line of the movie “Yeah, they really lived.”

I hope that will be said of me when I am gone. Or that I will be able to say it of myself.

It’s not what you do so much as how you do it. If you put your whole heart into it, that is living.

But there is the possibility of living for the wrong thing, and that is where the second song comes in. We only live for a short time. And even if we have good motives, we can easily direct them into the wrong pursuit.

That’s why it’s so important for the Christian to live for God. To do what is right, and what is helpful, not just what we enjoy. I maybe just lost you there. “Another message about how I can’t do what I want, yada, yada, yada.” Well, sorry. I don’t pretend never to struggle with this myself.

But I think that is because I forget the message of these two songs, (and every other form I’ve been told it in.) You don’t give your life meaning, but you can make it meaningful.

See, God gives life. He gives it meaning. But what you do with it, that may be left up to you.

“I lived” get to this as well.

Hope that you spend your days, so they all add up.

And when that sun goes down, I hope you raise your cup.

I wish that I could witness, all of your joy, and all of your pain. But until my moment comes I’ll say…

When all your days add up it should amount to something. Read that again.

Let me repeat, God gives your life meaning, you make it meaningful. That is not saying you have to make an effort to be important. You already are important, and many of us actually wish we weren’t because we see how we negatively affect other people without intending to do so.

No, what I’m saying is, you can pursue worthwhile things, like making other people’s lives better, and even more crucially, worshipping God; or, you can live your life like it was a credit card given to you with no max. You may use it all up on conveniences, but in the end the credit means nothing because there is no such thing as infinite provision without you working for it somehow. You’ll only run up a debt of time.

If you owe something your time, and don’t pay up, you lose your soul. That’s because time is the medium through which we even come to know and grow our soul, it is what God has given us to use for this purpose.

We, as the songs say, need to allot time for many things. For love; for adventure; for serving others; for Faith, foremost of all; and for enjoyment; and for taking in the colors, the rich beauty around us, if we only have eyes to see it.

“That we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Yes, if we realize how our time is precious to us, we gain wisdom. I don’t know about you, gut that’s a kind of wisdom I’m still acquiring, I don’t think I have it yet. But I hope I will continue to learn it.

Maybe there will be some broken bones along the way, I am positive there will be broken hearts, but those can heal. So, when the moment comes when you’ll look back on your life, I  hope you’ll say “I really lived.”



Pixie Dust.

I’d like to start this post with the lyrics to a song that has struck me as very relevant in this day and age.

“I am not a child now, I can take care of myself, I mustn’t let them down now, mustn’t let them see me cry…I’m fine, I’m fine.

I’m too tired to listen, I’m too old to believe, all these childish stories, there is no such thing as faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”

This song comes from “Peter Pan 2.” Which is a horrible movie, I’m not plugging it. But surprisingly, sometimes these B-studio films have some great songs, at least to my taste. (Admittedly, my taste is not shared by many people.)

Anyway, because I was writing about classics and fairytales, this song came to mind. It just seemed to sum up the outlook so many people have. That we can take care of ourselves, and don’t need to believe in this nonsense that we heard growing up.

This strikes me as really sad. There’s a proverb “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” In our day and age, choosing what you believe is in, and that is fine, but too often that comes with a scorn for believing the same as your parents. I get that scorn myself. This post isn’t about that exactly, but let me just say this, if what your parents believe is wrong, then it is good to disagree with them. And a child who thinks for themselves will eventually throw off their parents’ beliefs if they are bad; but if the same child chooses to keep those beliefs, I would argue those beliefs may simply be correct. Or at least close enough to convince them.

See, a slave may serve a bad master as long as they cannot escape him, but a free man will only serve a bad master as long as he can tolerate it for his own good, but when it is no longer profitable or necessary, he will not work for such a master any longer.

I think following your parent’s belief is the same. If the children are truly free thinkers.

So, to get back to my point. We all are told we all need to believe in our own way. But though there is slight truth to that, most of the time that is used to justify complete irrationality on the part of young adults in regards to how they live.

No more faith, trust, or pixie dust for them. They have their own way. Even if that way makes little sense to anyone over thirty, they write it off as, all old people just don’t get them.

But interestingly, when we do this, we hit a roadblock when it comes to finding meaning in our, supposedly, liberated existence.

“I try, but it’s so hard to believe. I try, but I just can’t see where you see. I try, I try, I try.”

We try, but if we can’t accept anything old, or anything uncomfortable, we can’t get out of our rut. That rut usually means living for material things. Unable to really connect with anyone. Because we surround ourselves with friends who, like us, won’t admit to feeling lost, lonely, or sad.

This way of life ruins our relationships. We focus on darkness because it’s what we see and feel in our souls, but that focus destroys our ability to focus on anything better, that might heal us. I’ve been there. You probably have at some point, but imagine if you lived there, everyday.

“My whole world is changing, I don’t know where to turn. I can’t leave you waiting, but I can’t stay and watch the city burn. Watch it burn.”

The trouble in our life becomes too much for us. Though people in our lives love us and need us, we have nothing to give them, so we hide from them. We avoid them. Finally this happens:

“I try and try, to understand the distance in between, the love I feel, the things I fear, and every single dream…”

We are stuck. We have felt love, but we have felt fear. And our dreams seem separated from our lives by it. There was a time in my life where I gave up on my dreams because I knew I was too afraid of doing anything to ever accomplish them.

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust. What does it mean?

The way I see it is, Faith is hope, and belief in the unseen. The realest things in life are the invisible. When we lose faith, we lose belief that there is anything but the here and now, that we can touch, taste, or feel. And we forget that things may be real that are not in our feelings, or in our reach–yet.

Trust means our willingness to be open to love, to joy, to happiness. To crying with people, to celebrating with them. Trust means you face life with courage, because you know there is a Higher Power looking out for you.  But if we give up trust, we have to look out for ourselves. As the opening line of this song says.

Pixie Dust always used to puzzle me, but it hit me just recently that Pixie Dust just represents the things we can’t explain. The powerful things that are beyond our ability to do, but can be done for us. like being able to fly.

You may think I am stretching that last one, but in the movie itself, that is the case. Jane wants to get home her own way, but she can only get home, Peter Pan tells her, by flying. Which she needs Pixie Dust to do. But she won’t believe in it.

So, why have I shared this very sad song, in this seemingly sad post. Well, because it does not end that way. Jane comes to realize that she needs these three things in her life, to really live. And the final verse of the song puts it this way:

“I can finally see it, now I have to believe. All those precious stories. How the world is made of faith, and trust, and Pixie Dust.

I’ll try, because I finally believe. I’ll try, because I can see where you see. I’ll try, I’ll try, I’ll try…to fly.”

What children believe by instinct is usually fairly true. Before they get old enough to think they can figure it all out. Personally, I think a belief in Pixie Dust does a child more good than any materialistic point  of view ever will. At least they believe in something outside themselves.

Not that I justify them always believing that. Or that I plan to tell children it is real. That is not the point. It’s the meaning behind it.

Until next post–Natasha.100_4836-e1490637683752.jpg

Classic view–part 2

“Storybook endings, fairytales coming true, deep down inside we want to believe they still do.        In our secret-est heart, it’s our favorite part of the story…start a new fashion wear your heart on your sleeve, sometimes we reach what’s realest by making believe. Unafraid, unashamed, there is joy to be claimed in this world.”– Ever Ever After, Carrie Underwood.

People say that if you see life as a fairytale you are delusional. Like in “Enchanted.” Upon meeting Giselle, almost everyone thinks she’s loopy. And she is naïve. The only drawback to her outlook is that she is easily duped. She needs to be protected.

But in a sense, Giselle is protecting everyone she meets in our modern world from giving up on their dream. She makes them happier. She saves them from complete cynicism.

The sad fact is, few of us would be so receptive in real life to someone like Giselle. The advantage these movie versions of us have, is that they realize they are having a rare adventure, and though they doubt it will end well, something in them just has to follow it to the end.

We on the other hand, seem to go through life half asleep. We don’t have a sense of adventure, and we don’t dream that the quirky people who believe in that stuff might just be in our lives to help us.

Why would we even think it? Who are we? That’s the thing isn’t it? We just do not get it. Why would we be worth noticing.

Maybe that’s why we turn to horror and thrills. At least if we can feel the fear, we can relate to something different than our everyday lives; and sadly, that is what we believe we deserve. Fear.

After all, our culture is obsessed with fear isn’t it?

The biggest mistake we have made is thinking we woke up because we decided what used to be our nightmare was the reality, and what was our happy dream, that was just in our head.

That’s why when I clash with people because of my more Giselle-ish outlook, they always have a sort of bitterness when they tell me off. You may have–almost certainly have–hear the tone yourself. You’ve probably used it. I’ve used it myself. The “I can’t expect any better than this crud,” tone.

But the fact is, we’ve missed the point of fairytales entirely.

They always have villains. The heroes rarely realize they are heroes. There are evil spells. You think fairytales are always happy? My advice is to read the Ever After High series, by Shannon Hale. Some of them don’t actually end happily, but those that do, do so only after a lot of trouble.

Disney gets criticized even for this, (they get criticized for being too dark and too light, which proves that when something is actually good, it can’t please either extreme.) But I’ve never found Disney to teach anything unrealistic as far as trouble goes. Except that fairies don’t often appear to people and offer their help, but that’s not to say others do not help us. We just don’t recognize it for what it is.

What people really hate fairytales for, nowadays, is that they have hope.

We have dug our own pit with this one, however, because it is our morbid love of the morbid that has convinced us not to have hope. That hope is for suckers and losers.

How ever do you become a winner without hope?

It doesn’t matter how bad your life has been, the choice to lose hope is always your own. What baffles me is that the people who have the easiest lives out of the world’s population, they tend to have the worst outlooks. I guess they just don’t fight for hope.

I am not inconsiderate of those who truly have had the hardest lives, worse than I can imagine, but I maintain they need hope more than anyone, because what else keeps you alive?

I believe life is a fairytale. Because I believe fairytales were meant to teach us about life.

It may seem that my Christian faith would interfere with this outlook, or perhaps that this outlook is all you could expect from a Christian, but neither is true. Few Christians I know share this outlook, and it is not at all incompatible with the faith.

God actually often uses such terms as we would attribute  to a fantasy story. He speaks in metaphors. There is a clear reason for this.

The realest things we experience are the invisible ones.

You cannot see the wind, but it can uproot a tree. You cannot see germs, but they can kill you. You cannot see the things that keep the world functioning. You cannot see ideas, but they control society.

In the same way, fairytales really tell us about what we cannot see. By using things we can. A wise child will grow up retaining what he or she learned from these stories.

No one can convince me this is not true, though I know they will try, and I deal with that almost weekly. AS always though, what you believe is up to you. I only hope I have laid out my case in a  way that makes sense.

This blog is not necessarily about changing people’s minds so much as it is about introducing them  to new possibilities. I leave the exploring up to them.–Natasha.



Classic View–part 1.

I wonder sometimes if I write this blog a little too formally. If it comes across as lofty. I do have reasons to write the way I do, the main one is it’s how I write naturally and I feel comfortable using that style.

The reason my style is the way it is is because I spent my childhood (like it was so long ago, I know,) reading Classics. As a homeschooler, with a small social life, and no television, books were the best form of entertainment. Though I spent plenty of time doing other things mind you. Since I was immersed in the language of these books I picked up phrases, some slangy. I’ve got to be one of the only people who ever used bad grammar because of a book. That’s where I learned the word “Ain’t.” My parents never use it.

So, that said. I developed a love for books at a young age. And I particularly like fantasy.

Classical Fantasy, a. k. a. fairytales.

Surprisingly, I’ve never been a huge fan of traditional fairytales since I was nine or ten, to my memory. But I like retellings, and books written in the style of fairytales. I also prefer other types of fiction, nine times out of ten, to any nonfiction. My reasons are simple, I can retain more from a story, and it is much more fun.

I have been sharing my problems with the amount of darkness contained in a lot of modern fiction, in my recent posts. (A little disclaimer: I did not come up with the terms bent, and broken, for books. They are from “A Thomas Jefferson Education.” DeMille and Woodward.)

Since I’ve listed the problems I have with these types of books, I thought I had better give some positives in favor of others.

You may wonder why I’m bothering to write this much about reading when I usually tackle larger subjects. But in my book (haha) this is large. Which is actually part of my point.

Let’s start with the criticism levelled at reading only Whole or Healing books. (More terms from the book I named above.) Usually, these books have happy endings. Often if they are children’s books, they are not very suspenseful, and they have no in depth look at evil. This is perfectly fine for children, but teens often despise such ooey-gooey, sappy stuff.

A common complaint it that these stories (movies included) are not realistic.

But I would throw back this reasoning in its own face because these same people will defend watching horror movies or reading those works with the words “I know it’s not real.” Or “It doesn’t affect me.” We find then, that their logic is faulty. If they really intended to watch realistic stuff, they would watch no fiction at all; and they would not read it.

But if you are like me and believe that real or not, what you see affects you, then it is easy to defend my watching habits. (It may very well be true of the Romance genre that it is unrealistic, and I personally despise most of the modern romance novels and chick flicks.) Unfortunately, any movie more focused on heart than action can now be labeled a chick-flick. Therefore, it is unreal.

To bring all this to head, that itself is my concern. The Heart is being more and more ignored in entertainment.

Young authors and young readers have grown up not understanding this concept. They are used to everything being mental. They are used to deranged villains, and heroes with some mental issues of their own. They are used to meeting people who are bipolar and not big on reason. Perhaps it is no wonder that they don’t set too much stock on reasoning.

This is where Classics come in. They rely on reason. It used to be a precedent. If your book made no sense, it wasn’t hailed as worthy of serious reading. Writing a story without reason would be unthinkable. Not that it didn’t happen, but those books are long forgotten, whilst the Classics still remain. And if you’ll pardon my saying so, in a less stupid culture, the Classics would still remain a priority.

See, I meet kids all the time who don’t know how to judge a book by anything but its cover. Literally. They don’t know how to tell whether something is good or not. Their parents imagine them to be better off, because they are more easily contented.

Like in the Disney Atlantis, when Kida argues with her father about the people and their lack of knowledge. “A thousand years ago,” she says passionately “Our people did not have to scavenge for food in the streets.” “They are content” he replies. “They do not know any better.” She retorts. Later Kida informs Milo Thatch that the people do not thrive, though they exist in peace, their culture is dying.

And if not for Milo teaching them how to operate their technology again, they would have indeed died. In the end, their ignorance was more dangerous to them than their knowledge had been.

See, a really good parent wants their children to have the best life they can have. A good human being wants their fellow human beings to have the best life they can have. We still honor people who try to bring that about. We are not so far gone that we do not even give a nod to such efforts.

But we are delusional if we think our children can grow up content with Cartoon Network and Mind Craft and still have the best lives possible.  Frankly, we are mildly insane if we think our teens can watch horror and read trash and still have a positive outlook on life.

I stand by the Classics. They taught me what I could expect out of life. The good and the bad. They taught me that both things must be handled the right way if you wish to stay on the right track.

It is more realistic to admit our entertainment has taken a  downward dive than to pretend it is harmless or even helpful.

As always, my charge to you is to think it over and then act. Until next time–Natasha.


Reach higher.

Why a DP movie is my favorite part 2

In part one, I had just said that I felt cursed, as a child, with fear. The troll tells Elsa “Fear will be your enemy.”

When this happens, Elsa is at most 8 years old. I was younger than that when I realized fear was a problem. But like Elsa, I did not start off that way. I was a kid who liked to feel tough. I wasn’t afraid of trying things. I had my first debate about Christianity when I was four, people, I kid you not, (Four or five.) I knew my stuff too. How did Fear enter the equation?

Like with Elsa, except mine took more steps. When I was little, the idea that fear could control me, could make me feel ill and ruin my day, that was introduced through a seemingly insignificant incident, but it lasted. But the experience more akin to Elsa’s traumatic one came when I was 11. Basically it happened to me in reverse order. But what followed was the same. Except, my parents did not tell me to hide, and they did not die (thankfully.) Elsa has that to herself.

But I digress, I spent years learning how to hide, like Elsa; I became an expert at it. Like her, I developed tricks to keep my mind occupied, to cover up. She used gloves, I used books. If I were a different person, the similarities between us would have been scary. As I watched Elsa’s behavior more carefully, I saw the same looks in her eyes I used to feel in my own. Her hands shook under tension, and I used to become shaky whenever I had to sit through an experience that terrified me, which I had to do nearly every week. But after it was over I could act relatively calm, as Elsa does at the party, up until Anna pushes her, And if anyone pushed me, I would have the same kind of meltdown.

I can’t say for sure with Elsa, but I would always feel very sick, I’d go warm and cold, I’d tremble, I would want to curl into a corner and not be seen or talked to. If I couldn’t do that outside, I’d do it inside.

I can remember it all now, though it was awful, it got worse.

Elsa’s story really starts when she runs away, she is not running from her duties, as many have said, but from her fears. Seriously, how did that responsibility idea ever get started? You can see the fear in her eyes; in her ice and snow; she yells “Stay away from me!” Duh. She’s running from herself. But, as that Switchfoot song says, “Where can you run to escape from yourself?”

This of course, was my life. My whole life was trying to run from myself. Every waking moment. You think I exaggerate, I don’t.

But like Elsa, I had moment or two of peace along the way. It never lasted longer than a day. And come to think of it, her time of peace after her song lasts a day total. She begins at dawn, Anna shows up at dusk. The monster of fear can lose its grip for a short time. But the same thing that triggers Elsa back into it was what would trigger me.

I only needed to be reminded of it. this could be something someone said, or it could just hit me out of nowhere. In Elsa’s case, Anna shows up and Elsa holds out for like two seconds against fear, then it grabs her again.

I am now going to hurry through the rest of the movie until the climax. Anna and Elsa argue, as you know, Elsa accidentally hurts Anna deeply, though Anna tries to convince herself it was nothing. Elsa drives them away, (even the terms are symbolic.) They find out Anna is dying, and go back to Hans. He turns out to be a total jerk. And unbeknownst to them, he has already captured Elsa and thrown her in the dungeon. As the villains will do.

A word on Hans. There are two villains in this story, Fear, and the people who help it along. Hans and the Duke of Weasletown are really two sides of the same coin, the difference being Hans is obviously the head and the Duke the tail. So everything Hans does plays off people’s fears. Anna is afraid of not being loved, Elsa is afraid of herself, the people are afraid of, well, freezing to death.  The Duke also plays off the people’s fear, or at least feeds it. He and Hans both want Elsa dead. The Duke is still the lesser villain, being selfish but not intentionally evil. Hans is knowingly the villain.

I had my Hans too, but I always knew it was Fear itself. The spirit of it.

So, the climax. I have told this so many times, I am not sure what the best way is. But you have probably all seen or heard of it, so I’ll keep it short.

Even though True Love has been mentioned a few times, mainly by Anna, and Kristoff, and Granpabby, no one has actually defined it… until Olaf does. This is one of the many reasons I love the movie, it took the comic relief, and without changing his character at all, it made him on of the heroes. Just by knowing what love was. Olaf’s character it so in line with that message that it seems only fitting he would explain it.

I believe in my earliest posts “The Quest” series, part seven dealt with Love, and I talked about Anna’s journey with it. So I’ll just briefly recap: she didn’t know what love was, Olaf told her, but she only got it when she had to make the choice herself.

Anna saves Elsa. “In every way a person can be saved.” She saves her life, she saves her from being sentenced to death unjustly, she saves her from fear.

When I watched this, I was already saved. Honestly, if I hadn’t been, I couldn’t have understood what happened in the space of thirty seconds. The movie itself doesn’t try to explain it, either you understand the miracle, or you don’t. Most of us don’t.

Truthfully, it is not the people’s fault that they don’t get it. I considered myself fortunate to get a peek into the real meaning of what happened. But it has to have happened to you, or you have to be told by someone who had the experience.

Once I realized this, I could forgive the haters. I can even forgive the people who like this movie for the wrong reasons. They just don’t know. They don’t know that I lived that story. And I continue to live it.

Frozen doesn’t end where the movie ends. As the months of hype over it have clearly shown. I think my tone must show how entirely serious I am about this. I relive the story every time I encounter a new challenge in my life.  I call it my movie, because it is, in almost every sense, mine.

This is long enough.  I think I have explained it thoroughly. If you read this far, thank you, I appreciate it. Until next time–Natasha.

Why a DP movie is my favorite.

So, I mentioned doing a post about Frozen a few articles back. Though I am still not sure anyone but me is interested, I still wanted to do it because, frankly, I’ve wanted to do it since starting this blog.

With that pity plea out of the way, I shall begin. (Seriously, don’t keep reading if you really don’t want to, I get it.)

As everyone already knows the movie was a huge hit and after the first six months or so, people really started laying on the hate. Some of them were frustrated parents, most of the ones I knew were boys who hadn’t ever actually sat through the movie, a few were girls who hated the Disney princess image in general, or else just didn’t get Frozen and were tired of hearing how awesome it was.

I cannot change any of this with a post that will reach only a few people, comparatively, but I do have an interesting story to tell.

When I first saw posters and advertisements for the movie, I rolled my eyes, like many others. I thought “Here we go, another cliché Disney Princess movie with stupid jokes and a story I’ve heard a dozen times.” At this point in my life, I had not been often watching said Disney Princess movies. I will say, Frozen was the most poorly advertised DP movie I’ve seen up to date. But my sister checked it out, and practically forced me to listen to the song “Let it Go.” I almost didn’t bite, but when I heard the line “The cold never bothered me anyway.” And saw the ending with the castle, I was hooked. Even at this point, I only gave this song a B+ and possibly the movie. But I started watching clips, then more clips, and more, and basically, I saw the whole thing in clips multiple times before I ever saw it as a movie.

Though I liked Elsa, the movie didn’t really grab me until I saw the scene that made it iconic. My other sister and I remember this differently, but according to her, once Anna got frozen solid, I went upstairs in a huff. I think I probably just didn’t know what clip to watch to find out what happened next, but my sister found it in no time and I saw what happened. I was hooked before, now I was really in deep.

I became obsessed (see my post “Good Obsession” for how this happens to me.) When this happened I had just been reading a book about finding oneself (for lack of a better term for it. Captivating was the title.) and I soon saw the Frozen could have been made as a dramatization of the book’s message, but even more than that, Frozen was my life.

I am not kidding. Frozen was a movie version of my life story. In fiction form, which is my favorite, so it only gained points there. now, it rarely goes well when I tell people this, I suppose they don’t know how to react to someone claiming to be the subject of this film. Plus, a lot of girls felt that way, so what is my special claim?

Well, I’ve never met anyone yet who had quite the experience I had with Frozen. I have shared before how I used to be a very fear-bound person. Right off the bat, Elsa and I had that in common. But it was more.

Elsa had no common fear of being herself, she had the fear of herself. It is the crucial point that most  people missed when they watched it, and it changes how you perceive everything in the movie.

Fear is portrayed not as Elsa’s gift, but as the corruption of it, a very important distinction. Every time she is afraid, her ice and snow darken, and twist into ugly shapes, or else sharp spikes. But something I noticed at length was how, as the story progresses, the fear becomes less and less subtle. The spikes start to point at Elsa herself, they try to trap Anna inside the castle even when Elsa is no longer in it herself and would personally have no reason to trap anyone, and her storm starts to blind her as well as everyone else.

Fear is the monster in this film. But what does Elsa think? That the monster is her.

I think of what Mrs. Valiant says in “Hinds Feet on High Places.” “She is a Fearing herself, and has Fearing in the blood, and when the enemy is in you that is a very hard thing.” There is a difference from a having fear inside you and being the thing to be afraid of, but it is not a difference people know by instinct.

C. S. Lewis called the fear of oneself the worst fear of all. He was right. I used to have it, I was afraid, literally, to look in the mirror. There is only one point in the movie that Elsa looks at her own reflection, it is when she and Anna are arguing about whether or not she can fix the Winter. Do you know what Elsa says as she looks at herself? “There’s so much fear.”

Mirroring plays a huge role in that story. When we see Anna’s reflection, Anna is always singing or talking about love and being there for Elsa. When we see Hans’es reflection, he reveals his true colors. Hans himself is a mirror for everyone’s worst fears or most vulnerable emotions. (I have to give SuperCarlinBrothers the credit for clueing me into this, they are a YouTube Channel.)

Elsa is never once unaware of her problem. from her childhood she is told “Fear will be your enemy.” And I was, I felt, cursed with the same thing as a child. No one told me it had to be that way, but I kept being told I was worrying too much. I was being a worrier. I was shy.

I am going to continue this in the next post, this is long enough. Until next time–Natasha.

Drip, drip, drop

If this title immediately made “…little April shower” go through your head, then welcome to my childhood.

Disney movies get a lot of flack don’t they? Maybe not where you live, but where I live people can be pretty hard on Disney. Mainly because it can be “dark” and teach kids bad things about life.

Personally, I look around at what the Public schools are doing, and I think is Disney really the first place to lay blame?

But I digress. In my last post I talked about making things too dark in fiction and movies. But I ran out of time before I could explain what I meant by dark.

Well, the title song of this post is from Bambi, famously the saddest Disney movie ever. And that’s the first point of contention about this subject.

Does Sad = Dark?

Typically, the complaint is that the main protagonists loses one or both parents early on or at some point during the movie.

As I understand it, dark means that there is a lot of angst, anger, hate, or depressing ideas expressed in the material in question.

Sadness is just sad, but it is by no means unhealthy if it’s in the proper amounts. Sadness attached to losing a parent is perfectly all right, and it there wasn’t any, it would seem disrespectful.

Also, loss does not equal dark.

Can we just be real with ourselves and our kids? Up until the past 70–1oo years, losing your mother at a young age was fairly common, and losing your father could be just as common. In many countries it still is. The kids who went through this did not turn out monsters, or depressed and antisocial. They learned to accept grief and move on. If a movie tries to walk a child through this at a level they can understand, that does not make it dark. Let’s hope it teaches the child sympathy. I’m pretty sure Bambi was the first movie character I ever sympathized with, and that was a good thing.

Losing things does not make a movie dark. Unless it is one of the two things I’m about to discuss.

  1. Losing yourself.

This can make a movie dark, and that is perhaps why Frozen is accused of being dark, because Elsa goes through some major struggles with finding out who she is.

But Elsa is not, despite what some people will say, rebelling or pouring on the hate toward her past. She is trying, in her own words, to “Let it go.” And though she is a bit naïve about how easy it will be, in the end she is able to do just that, while retaining the most important things in her life. That includes her kingdom, which she is a better ruler to after she stops worrying about it so much. Elsa, if anything, gets a better happy ending than any other Disney Character, because her happy ending includes finding healing. To me that is a very good message and the opposite of dark.

But here are movies and books that depict people who are slowly unraveling themselves. A good example would be “The Devil Wears Prada.” In that movie, Andy starts to lost track of who she is and what is really important to her, she is snapped back to her senses at the end, but not until after doing some things that she will have to live with for a long time. But that movie is not particularly messed up.

A sadder example is Harlequin from the DC comic universe. There are variations of her story, but they all involve her slowly losing her grasp of morality, reality, and ultimately her sanity.

That brings me to my second thing

2. Loss of morality.

In my opinion, this is the only thing that is always dark. Someone can lose track of who they are and bounce back, so long as they never lose this one thing: Truth.

The most infuriating thing to encounter in fiction is a bad conclusion. The kind where the author shocks you by telling a compelling story and then ending it completely wrong. It may even be a happy ending, but it’s happy for the wrong reason. No one really changed, no one really learned their lesson. But when the ending is unhappy, then it is not just bad, it is dark.

See, a bent story is a story where good is evil, and evil is good, and evil wins. Every bent story is inherently dark. It is because the author themselves did not understand good and evil, or worse, they did, but they liked evil better.

Some stories are broken, good is good, evil is evil, but evil wins. These stories can be dark if it is stressed that evil won because there just wasn’t enough good to overcome it.

The main components that make up a dark story are these:

  1. A lack of light. The main character has no truth and they either find some by the end, or they get crushed  because the weight of what happened to them is too great.
  2. Endless suffering. This can happen either to noble or ignoble protagonists. But the noble ones tend to survive it, but no unscathed, and you feel so bad for them that you walk away depressed about life. Or, they are ignoble, and the suffering corrupts them until they ruin their own lives by making bad choices. Sometimes they start off noble and are made ignoble by what happens.
  3. No hero. Perhaps the worst kind, there is no real protagonists, there are just villains doing horrible things to all the decent people. Or there are no villains, and bad things just happen inexplicably.

The third one is rare I’ll admit, but it is not as rare as it used to be, lots of Young adult fiction books, and horror movies feature this kind of story. There is not a worse thing to waste your time on.

To go back to my title, little April showers do come. There is thunder and lightning, people do get scared. Darkness is scary to most of us until we learn how to face it. But a sad story can teach us that, a happy story can often teach us it better. A bent or broken story cannot usually teach us that. At best, they spur us on to not accept the ending as our ending. True healing and acceptance will never come through a broken or bent story. It just won’t. You can do better than that.

Until next time–Natasha.100_3137

Not real?

I had a new experience since my last post. Somebody online got a bit aggressive in a discussion and I felt somewhat like it was a personal attack. Thankfully, it got no worse because I did not respond.

I’m well aware  I may be the only person on this blog, ironically, never to have had this happen before, so I’m not going to act like it was a big deal. It is actually the topic we were discussing that bothered me, because I’ve known many people to get defensive about it.

Well, specifically, I’ve known many people to get defensive about how they like to watch horror movies, or read what I would call horror novels, though I believe they are mostly known as Young Adult Fiction. (Yeah, burn.)

Seriously, the amount of times this conversation has happened is a bit scary to me:

Me: You like to watch so and so?

Person: Yeah, I love that (show, movie, etc.)

Me: But it’s horrible.

Person: ( a little less enthusiastically) but I like it.

Me: But stuff like that leaves images in your brain…

Person: But I know it’s not real.

Me: just because it’s not real…

Person: Well, it doesn’t affect me.

It doesn’t always happen in that order, but I can almost guarantee the words “I like it”,”It’s not real”, and “It doesn’t affect me”, will come up.

I should fill in a little bit more of that online debate. See the debate was about books and writing, not movies. That’s mainly because the people I was having it with are readers, and likely not as big on movies as the people I debate movies with. I used to assume that people who were readers didn’t have the same problems (content-wise) as people who weren’t, but I have been disillusioned.

I find to my shock that many teens of about my age or younger write mainly one kind of story. You know the type if you’ve ever browsed through the Young adult section in a bookstore or library. (I avoid that section now.) It’s dramatic, it’s about teens, it usually involves mutants, vampires, zombies, or a post apocalyptic setting that might have a combination of two or all of those choices. The narration is usually in first-person. There is a lot of fear, confusion, and fighting back happening in that person’s mind, soul, or surroundings. On top of this, the person tends to be either incredibly immature, or incredibly callous and cynical. And they can be as young as 12 or as old as 16, usually.

My point being, these books are almost always garbage. Even if they are well-written, there are still several inherent problems with them.

The first one would be they are extremely dark. And that is what my debate centered on, how dark can a book be? (And still be healthy? I presume is the implied question.) Most of the people in this online thing thought it was all right to put a lot of darkness in a story, if, in the end, good overcomes it. Others cautioned against putting too much, and one or two thought it was perfectly fine to get in touch with you inner-villain and go all out on your characters.

Something you guys need to know about fiction writers: our characters become real to us.

The evil characters are not like real people to me, personally, but the ones between good and evil can be,  and the good characters always develop a lot of personality.

But the good ones suffer the most, and that is why the darkness question centers on them. But it also centers on the reader. And on the movie watcher, because movies and books have this in common, they make you, the participant, part of the adventure. They have you rooting for the hero and getting upset when things turn out badly. At least this is what a movie is intended to do. A book does even more in that it can leave it up to you to judge what should have happened. A book gets your mind involved, a movie may only get your emotions. Either way, you are meant to get something out of it.

If there is a lot of darkness in a book, that is what the reader will walk away with. I once got a nightmare from such a book, and I am not a person who usually gets nightmares relating to what I read. When I read such stuff, something inside me just says “This is not right.” But personal feelings aside, I think there are biblical reasons not to focus on darkness.

Suffering, evil, and all that goes with it are a part of life. But going to great lengths in your imagination to see and create such things is unhealthy. We are not meant to live that stuff on purpose. As evidenced by the fact that actors who played too many psycho characters have committed suicide, and many bands that have music centered on darkness are not composed of very stable people.

All I am stating is common sense. If this is where darkness leads then don’t go there. But it makes people angry when I knock their favorite material. Which to me is more evidence in my favor. If someone knocks my reading and watching habits, I’m not going to get super defensive unless I personally have misgivings about it already. When I am confident it’s good, I don’t give a rip what anyone says.

But if a part of me were saying “maybe this isn’t good for me.” I would be defensive, or, I’d choose the better option of considering that this person might be right.

That’s what I ask of my readers, who may already agree with me, or maybe only read all of this because they were mad. I can’t know for certain.

But I know that this stuff is important. The fact that it is fiction only means that it represents what people will learn to expect instead of what they already have; and if you expect bad things, you will get bad things. That’s all I have to say on that. Until next time-Natasha.100_4316

My Report Card.

How do you handle disappointments?

I’ve had a lot of them over the past couple of months. They always center around people doing things differently than I was expecting, and not just different, but badly.

As everyone knows I have high standards, and they may be too high at times. I don’t see myself failing as much as I can see other people failing, and I feel let down. Sometimes I do actually have a legitimate reason to expect differently, but not always.

Can you relate?

Well, I can not write some inspired post about how to fix disappointment once and for all. If we were to grade our lives like a report card, how many Ds would we give them? D for a disappointment, D for feeling discouraged, D for despairing of change.

What about some other letters, hmm? How do I personally handle the first D so I don’t get the other two?

Well, I always think about my problem for a while, I weigh it. I may decide I just need to move on, I may decide I need to do something, but the main thing is that I have to give myself an F.

F is good on this report card. F means Forgiveness. Forgive the people who let yo down, forgive yourself for getting discouraged or upset. Forgive God even for doing something you cannot understand. (Not that God needs it, it’s for us.)

Then you might want to give yourself a C for comparison. Compared to bigger issues, this may not really be important, but if it is, C is for Conversation and Companionship. I find it helpful to talk to people about what happened, let them point out things I hadn’t considered, and provide comfort, and then be grateful that they listened to me.

B is for Be Real. It’s not all about me, and the people who let me down often have mistaken ideas about what I want, or they just forget, or they are truly wrong but still need grace. I’ve probably done similar things, so don’t be too harsh.

A is for acceptance. Stuff happens, but often it can end up being a good thing. Never forget that God might be using you in this to help someone else, or that you might be learning something important that you couldn’t otherwise know. At the end of the day, just accept that people will never make you completely happy anyway. It is partly a choice, and partly God’s gift.

You know, I just made this up off the top of my head, but it is what I do to beat disappointment, and  I think it’s pretty good advice. (I might want to copy this list for myself.)

So, how was your report card and do you have any other ideas about not letting disappointments discourage you? Feel free to share them below.

Until next time–Natasha.003zhaoshaoang-flower-bird

Are We Starving?

So, I don’t really think I’ve brought up the controversy if homosexuality yet.

I am going to refrain from giving my opinion on it at the moment. My reason is that after hearing something related to the issue on one of the YouTube channels I watch, my mind got going in a different direction than just the right-wrong question.

As important as that is, there is a forgotten man, so to speak, when the issue is discussed.

The mindset of accepting the gay or lesbian lifestyle has formed a cage around people who don’t accept it. I don’t mean that they get called haters, I mean the cage no one talks about. The issue is simply a kind of stigma that is growing among people against showing any kind of affection to your friends of the same sex, without it being read as sexual.

I don’t know about you, but I am noticing an increasing emotional starvation among the people of our culture. It seems to center around the fact that no one shows any affection for us.

This is the thing, a pat on the shoulder, a kiss on the cheek, holding hands; those all used to be something friends could do. Not guy friends generally, but girls could. Men used to greet each other with a hand shake or a slap on the back. Some still do. In our generation, guys have (wisely) taken to inventing their own hugs and handshakes that are clearly defined as being strictly bro-things. Girls actually could take a cue from that idea.

It may seem weird that I am bringing it up, but it’s high time someone did. Human beings need physical touch. They need to hear words of affection. And they need to hear it from everyone, everyone they are close to. No matter what age, gender, or relation. And we are meant to exchange embraces with all the people we care about. I know plenty of people wouldn’t argue with me on this, and would even think it was obvious, but people my age and younger are starting to wonder.

If I am completely blunt, they are starting to wonder if the fact that they like getting hugged by people of the same sex, does that make them homosexual? They are wondering if they are gay because they like even the most innocent of touches. Even the word touch has some very ugly connotations attached to it now, you probably thought of some of them when I used it, or you didn’t. Good for you.

No one is telling kids that it is normal to want physical contact with people. It is just a way of feeling that they see you, if that makes sense. It is easy to feel ignored when someone glances at you and that’s it, they won’t give you a hug or any acknowledgement. But if they had their eyes closed and still gave you a hug, you wouldn’t feel ignored at all. Think about it, touch is powerful. A person can look at you, and hear you, but not really be seeing you or listening to you, and you can feel invisible or unimportant. But a simple hug or a pat on the shoulder, and you feel noticed. Some people who don’t like to be touched don’t like it because they feel too seen. Some people dislike PDA for the same reason.

I won’t deny there’s always some respect due when you’re using touch as a way to show affection, but there’s respect do no matter what way you show it. The point is I see this taboo touch thing as a direct attack on love.

That may sound nuts, but hear me out. Friendship is a difficult thing to maintain, and it is hard to have a deep, meaningful friendship nowadays because people have forgotten how to do it. There is an uncertain balance among millennials and Generation y-ers over how important friendship is.

Most kids, it must be admitted, will dump friendship over romance. There’s a counter movement that protests that any friendship between girls is more important than any boy. And it usually is between girls, because if the guys say that, they are labeled gay. Ouch.

This is not fair to the guys mostly, but not to the girls either. For one thing, you cannot tell a girl that a guy may never be more important than her girl friendships. That is just not true. When she is married, her husband is going to be more important. And if it is a case of doing the right thing, or if the guy is just the better friend of the two, it is not fair to give the girl friend such preference.

That is another post right there, but what I am saying is, well intentioned as it may be, glorifying friendship is not the answer. I have heard many sides of the question, and my solution is more complicated than just having friends and not being afraid to hug and stuff.

We are getting separated from each other more and more as every mode of affection is getting frowned on with suspicion, or cheered on as progressive. I have realized that everyone is meant to love every person they come in contact with, not through words and  physical touch of course, but in the way they treat them. It has never been a reality to have everyone earth love each other since Adam and Eve fell, but that should be the mindset of everyone who wants to do right by their fellow human beings.

And it turns out, love is different in different situations, but it is the motive and not the actions that decided what kind of love it is.

Squeezing every expression of love more and more into the sexual category is not just stupid, it’s flat-out wrong. It is disrespectful and flippant, and I am heartily sick of it.

I really hope the tide starts to turn in this, we need it to.

Until next post–Natasha.