Disney & Cheese


First, I must admit that I’m drafting this piece from the Columbia Gorge with an upset stomach that has lasted over 24 hours, self-inflicted by eating too much good ice cream, followed by too much bad cheese at a Mexican restaurant. Today is Day Two. Since yesterday, I’ve barely been able to eat anything at all. If you think these kinds of eating impulses are reserved for kids, I’ve proven that even thirty-one year-olds can make poor judgments in the face of dairy.

I spent most of last night with my face muffled into the pillow moaning, “why,” then switching to yogic child poses, then to fetal position, back to child pose, then rolling onto my back and massaging my stomach in concentric circles—nothing helped. And worse, I got a total of 4 hours of sleep.

Everyone knows that sleep deprivation can affect mood and thinking processes, and there are even scientific studies to prove so, but few people know the possible connections between gut bacteria and feelings.

Whatever it is, lack of sleep or my microbiomes running amok, or both, I ended up spending most of today napping in 1.5 – 2 hour increments, in and out of bed, floating around like a ghost in baggy pajama pants and an oversized cashmere sweater. In between moments of discomfort and sleeping, at some point I harkened back to a time as a child when I watched The Little Mermaid on repeat for what would be the only salve for a stomach ache, or a fever, or whatever sadnesses addled my 6 year-old thoughts.

I did not watch The Little Mermaid over and over again to feel better this time. But that doesn’t mean that I still don’t get excited about new Disney Pixar movies, or that I don’t spontaneously break out into sing-alongs with friends also raised in the 1980/90s, during (in my opinion) Disney’s animated feature-length film heyday, including such films as The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty & The Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994), Pocahontas (1995), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Hercules (1997), and Mulan (1998).

2D animation is hardly the same as a stage performance, so the fact that this era of Disney films has curled its way into my loosey-goosey thoughts brings to question exactly what type of performance I’m talking about.

What is it about growing up as a child watching Disney movies that makes us, who are adults now (some of us), still shamelessly willing to act-out, belt-out, perform “A Whole New World,” or “Hakuna Matata,” or (my personal fave) “A Part of Your World?” A perfect example of this Disney-fantasy turned real-life, is pop-singer Mariah Carey and her then-husband Nick Cannon’s fifth wedding anniversary, where they renewed their vows in a real Cinderella-themed celebration.

Happiness can be like chasing Alice in Wonderland’s white rabbit.

My parents were strict, and Disney films were the only types of movies they approved. Those films became the only images of color and the only lightness I felt in an otherwise too serious life for a little girl. Those movies, with their pretty Princesses, and cute talking animals, where everyone breaks out into song, became what I would use to s