Sunday, October 19, 2014

InkTober Week 3

Because Tigers are Cool... 

The Nine Tailed Fox is a creature from Chinese mythology

"Buster Jackalope Joins the Bunny Mafia"


My kind of math!

Long day, late night, and no energy. Therefore:
"Polar Bear Blinking during a Blizzard"

One of my favorite movies

Sunday, October 12, 2014

InkTober Week 2

Jim Hawkins from "Treasure Planet"

A velociraptor riding a bicycle

Some word art

A fox dressed as Clint Eastwood

An alternative take on another Haunted Mansion portrait

An Owl

Self Portrait

Sunday, October 5, 2014

InkTober week 1

This year I've decided to do "InkTober": The challenge to draw one picture each day during the month of November using an ink pen.

Here are the results of week one!

 Preparing for InkTober

InkTober Day 1- My version of “Blown away Man” -the iconic photograph by Steven Steigman.

Day 2! My attempt to recreate the logo from Sid Meier's Pirates. The skull is waaaaay too happy, but at least the ship looks decent.

The pirate kick continues... Nostalgic times with my sister.

Day 3

Had some difficulties with shading, but I'm rather pleased with the result. Inspired by the cover of the 2006 version of "As You Like It".  Day 4

A portrait from the Haunted Mansion, Tim Burton style. Day 5

Monday, February 10, 2014

Growing up at the Movies: The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid

I have a funny story about this movie. Indulge me for a moment... 

When I was quite young, my parents took me to see “The Little Mermaid”. Shortly afterwards they decided to go to Red Lobster to celebrate my mom’s birthday. In retrospect, this was poor planning.

My mom loves to eat crab. As soon as she placed her order, I began to cry, begging her, “Please, don’t eat Sebastian!”

Perhaps the funniest part of this story is that I don’t remember the incident at all...

Apparently my parents soothed me, and “ordered” something else. I guess I never questioned the fact that mom’s “hamburger” came in an exoskeleton.

There really isn’t a point to that story, except to say that “The Little Mermaid” has been dear to me so long, I can’t even remember when I first saw it.

Because I’ve never known a time without this film, I kinda assume everyone else has seen it too. It was brought to my attention much later that several of my friends weren’t allowed to watch it- mainly because mer-people aren’t very modest in their sense of fashion, and because the main character is quite disrespectful and disobedient to her father.

Those are some valid complaints to be sure. I guess my parents didn’t find that to be a huge problem.

I get that on one level Ariel portrays the typical rebellious teenager, but I guess I never really saw that. I only saw a girl who wanted to be part of a bigger world.

I identified with that. A lot.

Only one difference. Ariel wanted to be human. I wanted to be a mermaid. 

It’s probably apparent to you, dear reader, that I can’t simply watch and enjoy a movie. If I like it, I have to live it.

During the mermaid phase, which probably lasted between the ages of four to eight, I devoured any book I could find about mermaids. I would pretend that I was under an enchantment, and that as soon as it wore off, I would be able to return to the sea.

I once read a picture book where a mermaid had legs when out of the sea, but as soon as her toes touched water they’d transform into fins.

After that, I would spend hours in the bath, but the only thing I acquired were prune-like wrinkles. 

Here’s the kicker. I just knew I was supposed to be a mermaid- but I was afraid of swimming.

We lived next to an irrigation ditch, and my parents decided that for safety’s sake I should have a couple swimming lessons.

I hated them. I hated water in my nose. I hated how it stung my eyes. And I could never really figure out how to swim and continue to breath at the same time.

That didn’t keep me from my mermaid dreams though, I figured if I could only find the magic enchantment, all that uncomfortableness would go away. I’d be able to breath, I’d be able to move, and I wouldn’t get muscle cramps in cold water.

Where am I going with this?
Just like Ariel in “The Little Mermaid”, I wanted to be part of a different world. The problem is that I wasn’t made to actually live in that world.

In the book by C.S. Lewis, “Mere Christianity”, Mr. Lewis uses the analogy of a tin soldier to describe how our sinful natures must die in order to become more like Christ.

Here are his words: “Imagine turning a tin soldier into a real little man. It would involve turning the tin into flesh. And suppose the tin soldier did not like it. He is not interested in flesh; all he sees is that the tin is being spoilt. He thinks you are killing him. He will do everything he can to prevent you.”

Now, I have a hard time imagining what it would like to be turned from tin to flesh- but I’ve often looked at my misshapen toenails and wondered what it would take to turn them into sparkling scales.

I can only speak for myself, but I’ve never felt like I actually “fit-in” here on earth. I’m thinking I’m not alone in the longing for “somewhere else”. Somewhere better.

After a lot of thought and pondering, I’ve decided that perhaps I wasn’t made to live in the sea either... 

So, that leaves.... well, somewhere else.

It is my belief that our souls are eternal, but our bodies are mortal. That’s a weird combination, and the longing I often feel, I can only describe as; “My soul remembers the eternal place and wants to get back there.”

In the Bible, God is described as a perfect being and Heaven as a perfect place. I’ve thought a lot about Heaven, and I’ve decided that it probably isn’t all a bunch of people sitting on clouds wearing white and playing harps.

I’ve got nothing against harps, but listening to harp music forever and ever sounds terribly boring.

There’s not a lot of good descriptions of Heaven in the Bible. Mostly we’re just told that it’s indescribable and beyond human imagination.

That means it better be good, cause in the words of Han Solo, “I can imagine quite a lot”.

And if it’s beyond my imagination, that means that I cannot fit in it as I am now. I’m an imperfect being, so I cannot exist in a perfect world. But I long for it, oh how I long for it!

Reading “Mere Christianity” I finally realized that when God says he will save us and give us new life, he literally means new life! Different life. Life that we can’t even imagine.

And when I read about the tin man, who is horrified at being turned into something he is not, I realized that I too will be turned into something alien. And that process might not be pleasant.

C.S. Lewis talks a lot about human nature, and how it is easier for us to be bad than to be good because we are sinful creatures.

Being good- well, being perfect- goes against everything we know. That explains why it’s so hard to be good. It’s like turning tin into flesh, and that can be downright uncomfortable.

I have since learned to be okay in deep water. I can swim enough to keep myself from drowning, and I won’t freak out if you splash water in my face. However, I doubt I’ll ever be completely at home in the water. Even if I became the greatest swimmer of all time, I still wouldn’t be able to live there. I still have to breath air to survive.

Yes, I’m turning “The Little Mermaid” into a redemption story. 

You can see where I’m taking this, Ariel has to be changed before she can live on land and be with her prince.

My love of “The Little Mermaid” led me so far as to read the original fairytale. Disney definitely changed a lot before they turned it into an animated feature. In the real version, every step the mermaid takes on land is as painful as stepping on shards of glass. Even through the pain, she is happy because she can be with the one she loves.

Being a Christian can feel like that sometimes. Often, I feel quite uncomfortable trying to be unselfish. It doesn’t feel nice forgiving people who’ve hurt me. I keep trying though- failing, falling, and picking myself back up to try again.

There are many things that keep me going down the ol’ straight and narrow. One thing is the desire for Heaven. 

I can’t get to the Somewhere Else, that I long for. Not yet. But someday I’m gonna get wings, or fins, or whatever it is that I need so that I can go live there.

Someday I’ll be “part of that world”.

Yeah..... I had to stick that in somewhere.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Growing up at the Movies: Disney's Mulan


   When I worked at Walt Disney World, people would ask me which Disney princess was my favorite. I always answered Mulan- even though she’s not a princess. She’s my favorite Disney heroine, and has been long before I developed an interest in Chinese culture or started learning the language.

   I’ve never been a princess girl. Don’t get me wrong, princesses have good qualities too, but come on, Mulan doesn’t just break a curse or marry the prince, she joins the army and saves her country!

   Mulan is also one of the few heroines who actually has a good relationship with her father- or even has a father! The whole plot set-up is that Mulan loves her father so much, that she would rather take his place in a war than watch him go away and presumably never return.

   Her dad is a pretty awesome character too. He loves Mulan and wants the best for her. He’s angry when she takes his place- what dad wouldn’t be? But the moment she returns he has his arms around her telling her he’s proud of her.

   That relationship means a lot to me, because I’m very close to my own dad. 
   My dad is okay with me not being a princess girl.

   Around age thirteen, I finally mustered up the courage to declare to him that I didn’t want to get married, and I wanted to go into filmmaking.

   My dad just laughed and said he figured I’d want to do something like that. He’s okay with me being unconventional, and that means the world to me.

  I wasn’t going to bring gender identity into this... but it couldn’t be avoided.

  The truth is, Mulan was a touchstone for me during a difficult time. You see, for many years, I wanted to be a boy.

  I can see the eyebrows rising now...

   As a young teenager, I hated being a girl. I wanted to be a boy. I wanted to be strong. I wanted to fight, and just like Mulan, I would look in the mirror and not recognize the face staring back at me.

   That was complicated enough, but pretty soon I started liking boys. Wanting to be a boy, but having crushes on boys at the same time is just... confusing. And pretty embarrassing.

   I wondered what was wrong with me. I wondered if God had made a mistake  and that I was really supposed to be a guy. 

   During that difficult time, I latched onto the story of Mulan. She was cool. She dressed like a boy and she fought.

   I could never figure out why I wanted to be a boy, and it was so weird and awkward I was never brave enough to try and ask someone for help. So instead I watched Mulan, and felt somewhat comforted that maybe somewhere out there, there was another girl like me.

   In my early twenties, my mom stumbled across a phenomenon known as “Vanishing Twin Syndrome”. She handed me a book on it one day and said I might find it interesting.

   Very very interesting.

   The basic idea of Vanishing Twin Syndrome is that one out of eight people start out having a twin in the womb. The weird part is that fewer than one of eight people are actually born with a twin.

   Very early on in a twin pregnancy, for whatever reason, one twin may die and the embryo is absorbed into the mother.

   And you thought I only studied movies.

   This can happen so early that no one, not the doctors or even the mother, are aware that another baby existed. The surviving twin grows normally and is born alone.

   Sadly, even though it happens so young in a person’s existence, it can leave some deep emotional scarring.

   There are some very interesting studies done on the survivors of VTS, and one of them has to do with gender identity.

   If a person’s twin was of the opposite sex, then the survivor might “take on” the dead twin’s identity unconsciously. They will try to live two lives at once and end up being totally confused and upset.

   There are a lot of other symptoms that VTS survivors may experience as well. I won’t go into them all, but it’s suffice to say that the psychological profile fits me like a glove.

   Suddenly things started making sense.

   I was probably a twin, and my brother died. When I looked in the mirror, I saw his face not mine.

   At long last I began to go through the process of finding my own identity. I stopped cutting my hair super short. I realized I didn’t really want to become a car mechanic. For the first time in my life, I thought about a new and scary concept.

   What is it like to be a girl?

   No, seriously! Gender roles and gender identity can be really touchy subjects. Also, depending on which culture you live in, they can be unrealistic or even contradicting.

   I tend to have close ties to two cultures: the conservative Christian homeschooling community and well... American Western culture. 

   Both of those have some pretty strong messages about what being female means. Sadly, I almost went back to wanting to be male again, because some of those messages are really not appealing.

   Hollywood portrays women as either super girly or super tough. They’re emotionally unstable or they have no emotions at all. However, they all have perfect bodies and poofy lips.

   On the other side, some Christians expect women to wear ankle length dresses and never cut their hair. The most advertised careers for conservative ladies are either: Missionary’s wife, Woman’s counselor, or Pastor’s wife. 

   Obviously those are two extremes, and the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

   Still, neither of those extremes gave me much direction. I struggled a lot with anger and resentment towards both.

  I started wondering if there was another viewpoint out there. Something that would resonate with me better.

  One day I wore a T-shirt embroidered with a phoenix on it to my Chinese class. My teacher commented on it, and asked if I knew what the phoenix represented in Chinese culture.

   I shook my head, and she told me.

  “The phoenix represents female energy.”

  Really? Weird! Cool!

  Up till that point the only representations of genders I’d been exposed to, I disliked. 

“Blue stuff for boys. Pink stuff for girls” 

I don’t like pink. 

“Pirate costumes for boys. Princess costumes for girls.”

Why can’t I be a pirate?

   “The Dragon represents male. Phoenix represents female.”

   That was a totally new concept for me. I went home and brushed aside the articles on being a confident career woman and the books that said things like “You are God’s Princess” on the cover.

   A lot of my dissatisfaction with my gender came from always comparing myself to guys and thinking I was on the losing side. You can’t really compare dragons and phoenixes.

  Is one stronger than the other? Is one better looking than the other? They’re totally different! They both have something to do with fire, but other than that...

   I thought about phoenixes a long time, and finally decided I like the metaphor.

   The special power of a phoenix is it’s ability to be reborn. Every time it dies, it comes back to life. I don’t know about other girls, but I feel like I’m changing all the time. I go through different phases- short hair, long hair. Unicorns, pirates. I could identify with the “many lives” of the mythological creature.

   With a new metaphor in hand, I set out to think about what kind of woman I wanted to become. I started looking at the women around me, and what about them I admire.

These are some examples I found:

   My mom. She was incredibly ill for nearly seventeen years, and through all that she somehow found the strength to look for a cure that doctors said didn’t exist. At the same time, she raised me and my sister, taught us at home, and never gave up.

   My language teacher. She moved to New York city from Beijing when she was twenty years old.  She barely knew English. Now she teaches Chinese language and culture. Her dream is to help foster a better understanding between American and Chinese cultures. She’s had an amazing life, and she shares sharp insight and hard won wisdom with all her students.

   My family knows a woman who followed her husband to Saudi Arabia shortly after they got married. After living there for several years, she is back in the states. She allowed me to read some excerpts from a book she is writing about her experiences overseas. They are incredible to say the least.

   But back to Mulan. 

   Mulan never actually wanted to be a boy. The directors made her tomboyish, but she’s not over the top. I like that she isn’t the toughest meanest member of the fighting team. She’s even sent home at one point because she’s failing at being a soldier! But she is smart, and that’s what saves her, and the rest of her group in a critical moment.

   You get the idea that she didn’t set out to prove how tough she could be, or even because she wanted to fight. She did it because she wanted to protect someone she loved, and it ended up taking her down an unconventional path.

   So in the end, I wasn’t like Mulan at all! I wanted to prove something about myself. That I wasn’t weak, that I was “just as good as a boy” as if boys were somehow inherently better than girls.

   I’ve had to change a lot of the perceptions I used to have about myself, and what it’s like to live a good life as a girl. Often, it is simply finding a different viewpoint, and keeping an open mind- not only about what it is to be female, but what it’s like to be a person.

     Interestingly enough, sometimes I feel a lot like Mulan in the filmmaking profession. There aren’t a lot of women, and while it’s nothing like joining the military, there are times when I feel out of place.

  I’ve been to various conventions and classes about film, and very often the group consists of a bunch of high school guys, and me.

  However, I’m more comfortable being the “token girl” these days. I don’t have to try and be “one of the guys”, and I know that as a woman, I bring a different perspective to the whole filmmaking scene.

   I know I’ve shared a lot of personal stuff with this one. I tried every which way to avoid it, but apparently it had to come out. 

My hope is that by sharing my story, I might encourage anyone out there who’s struggling like I did. Mulan was a comfort- but it didn’t give any answers. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m trudging forward. Sometimes you don’t even have to join the army to fight big battles.

   I will be celebrating Chinese New Year this week. I even bought a dress for the occasion. It has a phoenix on it.

Year of the Horse 2002 (I'm on the left)                     Year of the Horse 2014

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Growing up at the Movies: The Lion King

The Lion King

     “The Lion King” is the first movie I remember seeing in theaters. Apparently my parents had taken me to movies before, but this is the first one I actually remember. No one can forget that opening! I came away with eyes wider than than my gigantic glasses. This Disney classic may very well have started my obsession with film.

   Ask my parents. I was obsessed. I owned the VHS, the soundtrack, and as much Nala merchandise as I could get my hands on.

   I would beg my friends to re-enact my favorite scenes and could practically recite the screenplay verbatim.

   And you thought my obsession with Les Mis was bad!

   Yes, “The Lion King” touched something pretty deep inside my six-year-old soul. I think it did that for a lot of people. After all it’s considered one of the greatest animated films of all time!

   Even though I can basically play the movie in my head, every so often I like to sit down and actually watch “The Lion King”.

   As I started putting this list of childhood favorites together- well “Lion King” was at the top. I knew I had to write about it, but I wasn’t sure exactly which aspect I would expound upon.
   This movie shaped my world in a ton of ways. It brought exotic Africa into my home, the brilliance of good cinema to my imagination, and actually introduced me to one of my favorite composers- Hans Zimmer.

  The part where Simba makes the decision to return to his home never really stood out to me, but now that I’m older I’m beginning to appreciate Simba’s journey on a whole new level.

   I left home for the first time five years ago. It was kind of a big deal. Between then and now, I’ve spent months, and even a year or two living “at home”, but ever since that first move to Orlando, it was never “home home” anymore.

   I’m sure a lot of young adults can understand when I say: it is really hard to go back to old places. I’ve done it several times- and it doesn’t get any easier.

   Every time I’m away- spreading my wings- as it were, I find myself growing and changing. It’s like I start a new life, and almost become a new and different person.

   Then I go home for a few months and I turn back into a fifteen-year-old.

   I’ve been told that this is normal.

   Sometimes I don’t even have to go to my old neighborhood. Even when I’m living somewhere else, I will meet someone, or be faced with some situation from my past.

   Compared to Simba, my past is kind of boring. However, there’s a lot of things I did and said way back when (meaning during my teenage years) that I’m not proud about.

  Nothing horrible, just stupid comments or selfish actions that I regret and wish I could take back. When I meet someone who was around during those times, I’m embarrassed. I wonder if when they look at me, they just see that moody teen who always talked people’s ears off about movies. 

   Okay... maybe some things never change.

   The point is: I feel a desperate need to prove that I’m not that kid anymore. That I’ve grown up and (hopefully) changed for the better. In reality, this is just petty, but that doesn’t help snuff out the voice inside telling me I’m just a little kid who messes up all the time.

   What does this have to do with the “Lion King”? Well, if you haven’t made the connection already, Simba has to return to a place where he’s pretty sure his loved ones believe that he killed his father! 

  And I worry about those times I screwed up my lines in theater class. I got nothing on Simba.

  The cool thing? Simba goes back. It’s only now that I can appreciate just how difficult it is to make that kind of decision. He goes back, and immediately Scar accuses him for Mufasa’s death.  What does Simba do? He takes it. He acknowledges bad things happened, but he doesn’t want to let that hold the lion pride from a better future.

   I should back up.... When I was six, the most boring part of the movie was when Rafiki has that long (seemingly endless) conversation with Simba about the Past. To a kid, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and I always felt slightly inclined to skip ahead to the cool fight scene.

   Now as an adult, that part hit me to the core, like Mufasa’s death hit me to the core when I was a kid.

  I have a Past now. It’s not incredibly long, but long enough for me to have made mistakes. When I was a moody, agnst-y teen, there were a lot of things that I wanted to run away from. And in a way, I saw moving to Orlando as my escape. What did I run away from? Mostly a lot of fears. That, and the fact I was tired of cold Colorado winters. A big fear was watching my sister enter adolescence. Growing up was scary for me, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to help my sister if she started developing depression issues like I did. 

   In the end it doesn’t really matter if my reasons were legit or not. In my mind I called it “running away”, so that’s what it was.

   And it was awesome! I was living in a place where no one knew who I was. No one remembered the goofy buck-toothed kid or the overly dramatic teen I used to be. I had the space to explore who I could be, and that helped me grow a lot.

   Yeah, it was great, but after a few months I had to return to Colorado.

   Ever since, I’ve had to face bits of those fears that I ran from. I had to own up to my sister that I felt like I’d abandoned her. I had to apologize for running away. It wasn’t simply moving to a different place, it was the way I’d dealt with the situation- and I did it poorly.

   I’ve lived in a lot of different places, and am constantly making mistakes, and working through fears. Now I look at my time in Orlando and am embarrassed at being a dramatic twenty-year-old who talked everyone’s ear off about movies.

   So the last time I watched “The Lion King”, when Rafiki starts talking about the Past, my ears perked up.

   “The past can hurt, but you can either run from it.. or learn from it.”

   Who says stuff like that in a kid’s movie? Suddenly that scene was far from boring, and I finally understood why people of all ages love “The Lion King”.

   I have a feeling no matter where I live or what I do, I will make embarrassing mistakes.

   After a while, you get really tired of running, and so I’ve started trying to learn.

   The past can hurt an awful lot. In the past few years I made some hard choices, and lost friends. It hurts. I’m not proud of some of the things I did and said- to the point where I can’t even really write any good solid examples for this review. It’s just too embarrassing.

   I’m kind of a perfectionist, so when I mess up I either want to climb into a hole for a decade, or run away to Australia.

   I can’t really afford a ticket to Australia right now, so I’m going to have to start learning from my mistakes instead. Part of that is admitting they happened.

   Apparently when you’re an adult you see things differently than when you did as a child. In a lot of ways this is really awesome, because I can look back at some of my angst-y teenage mistakes and say “Nah, that’s not a big deal anymore.”
   In the same way, I can look at the “Lion King” and see new and touching aspects that I could never comprehend as a kid.

   You just can’t beat that opening though. That never changes.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Growing up at the Movies: The Last Unicorn

The Last Unicorn

   I love unicorns! This may surprise those who know me. My sister loves all things equine, so naturally it’s expected that she should be the one to recommend this movie. Indeed, she does, and probably knows it much better than I. And for good reason- you see, I love this movie, but I couldn’t watch it for almost ten years.

   In the good old days before my little sis even existed, my family didn’t own a television. Every now and then I was allowed to rent one VHS from Blockbuster which we would watch on a small set at our church. More often than not, I would choose The Last Unicorn, and wow, was it awesome! For a while, all I understood about it was that it had adventure, unicorns, and that the Red Bull was the main villain.

   Then when I was about fourteen, I re-watched it with my horse obsessed sister. 

   I’m going to be very blunt here. Being a teenager was the worst thing that ever happened to me.

    Maybe someone out there thought that growing up was fun- but I didn’t. I swore I wouldn’t, but I couldn’t stop the clock from ticking, and try as hard as I might, I couldn’t stop my body from growing and changing.

   During this vulnerable and confusing time, I was exposed to a new aspect of my favorite unicorn movie.

   Halfway through the movie, the unicorn is turned into a human. What? I didn’t remember that part!

   The change upsets her. She cries because she is an immortal being placed in a mortal body. She can feel the body dying around her- and she’s afraid.

   That struck a little too close to home for me. Like her, I felt trapped in a form that I didn’t feel was me anymore. 

    Suddenly I started identifying with this character- and not in a “Hey, I have brown hair like Belle” kind of way. 

   For whatever reason, part of “not growing-up” in my mind meant that anything romantic was stupid and should be shunned.

   Well, guess what. The unicorn- in human form- falls in love with a human prince. The worst part is that this guy isn’t even that interesting. I hate him only slightly less than Marius (and anyone who’s read my reviews on Les Mis knows this is about as much as I can despise a character). 

   So here I am, barely a teen, already disillusioned with the whole thing, and now my magical fantasy escape is challenging me with ideas and concepts that make me feel uncomfortable.

   I couldn’t watch The Last Unicorn again until I was twenty-three.

   On the other hand, my sister- being about eight- got really excited, because hey, unicorns!

   She would watch it over and over- like I used to- and every time she forgot to put the VHS away, I would stare at the box disdainfully. I hated that the unicorn had to become a human, I hated that she fell in love with a stupid human, and worst of all I felt betrayed by the story I used to love so much.

   Well, time wears away at things, and having gone through some difficult growing-up, I finally decided to watch The Last Unicorn again.

  It was just as I’d remembered, but even though the story hadn’t changed- I had, and I saw it with new eyes.

   In a sense, the Last Unicorn is a story about growing up. If you really think about it, each of us is an odd blend of eternal soul and frail flesh. That’s what being human is all about, and sometimes it’s awful. Growing up is about having to do hard things and face old fears. The characters in the Last Unicorn have some very interesting discussions about fairy tales and happy endings. Schmendrick, the magician muses that “There are no happy endings, because nothing ever ends.”

   That’s some heavy stuff for a kid’s movie! Molly Grue is an older woman, and when she first meets the unicorn, she is angry because the unicorn didn’t come to her when she was young and beautiful.

    I’m only twenty-five, but I understand that anger. Rarely do things happen according to my time table. Sometimes I rant and rage because life is nothing like I expected it to be. I was supposed to be a world famous director by now. Where is my oscar? And forget Molly Grue... I still need to meet a unicorn! Where is my unicorn?

  This next piece is really hard to admit, but it has to be said....I am no longer “anti-romance”. There. I said it. I still don’t like Prince Lear, but at the end of the movie, during the final battle, I realized something important.

   The unicorn can’t defeat the Red Bull by herself. Even the goal of saving her fellow unicorns isn’t enough to give her the strength to take him down. It’s only when the Red Bull turns on the prince is she able to fight back and win.

    It’s interesting to think about. Had she not been turned into a human- which wasn’t part of the plan- she wouldn’t have been able to accomplish her goal. That sheds some new light on the times I took the wandering path that “wasn’t part of the plan”. Sometimes those side-roads have seemed rather painful and pointless.

   Maybe even the pointless pain will prove worth while in the long run. It’s something to hope for. 

   Some people might smile that I get so much deep stuff from an adventure about a magical horned beast, but I think part of the power comes from its simplicity.

   Unicorns have always represented purity, and magic. I always feared growing up because I was afraid that I would somehow lose my innocence and my ability to see wonder in the world around me. The hard truth is that in some ways I am definitely not the cute little girl who first fell in love with The Last Unicorn. I know things about this world that I wish I didn’t know. Sometimes The Last Unicorn can seem like a harsh reminder that things aren’t always perfect and beautiful.

   In the end, the unicorn isn’t immortal anymore. She knows she will grow old and die because of what happened to her. There is also the heartache that she will never be able to be with the one she loves. It’s kind of sad- but it’s magical too. With her sacrifice, she freed the other unicorns and brought magic back to the world.

   I’m not a magician, and I can’t fix a lot of the bad things in the world around me. However, growing-up didn’t destroy my sense of wonder. I appreciate beauty even more now, because I know what the darkness looks like. 

   As I watched The Last Unicorn for the first time in years, I noticed just how pretty it is. The animation is striking, and the music is beautiful. It is truly magical. Best of all, I am so happy to finally be able to watch it and not feel upset. It’s like being reunited with an old friend, and that is one of the most magical things I can think of.