Actually, tell your teacher thank you. Today and every day. Teachers do so, so much for students and get such little recognition.
I used to be a wallflower. I would sit back and watch people and mimic their movements. How to talk, how to walk, how to breathe, how to live. I became a compilation of any person I had ever seen who smiled like they enjoyed their life. I became a compilation of emotions I did not have.
This isn’t to be sappy. This isn’t to be pitied. I’m a girl who doesn’t know how to be ‘normal’. I’m a girl who is stuck, or trapped – really, in her own mind. There are days where I feel real, where I can smell nutmeg and feel raindrops on my nose and feel comfort beneath blankets. I live through a TV sitcom that I have never seen and laugh with people I’ve built in my head. But there are days where my heart beats so fast I think I might choke. I wish I would choke. I sit on my hands because my nerves are alive and their one goal is to claw at my face until I bleed. Muffled sounds in my head become whispers that become voices screaming that my place on this planet is a waste of space and if I try to fight back my nails will rip apart my thighs until they’re too thin to carry me . There are monsters in my head who have stuck around longer than any friend I’ve ever had and I worry if they’ve created my personality and who I’d be without them. If I’m left alone for too long I’ve been told I become catatonic. My insomnia is made up of inner demons who play poker in my head and shoot thoughts around the room. A day can only be as good as they let it.
I’m doing well. I can still breathe okay and have happy moments. No one understands my mental illness and that’s okay. I think I can handle it alone. I try to, anyways.
I just want to make inner peace.
This is not for pity. This is not a call out post. I want people to know. Loud noises scare me because of PTSD. I’m always to blame for arriving late to places because my demons told me no one cares. There are days, weeks that go by where I feel high as the clouds and everything is flowers and I can’t imagine how I’ve been so sad for so long. There are nights where I lie awake until the sunrises and wait for someone to wake and help me slip beneath the sheets. I feel like I’m raising a toddler, relearning how to act in front of people. My brain is slow and my thoughts move fast and my comfort comes from a cat and ratty sweatshirt. I wish I had someone who could help me walk and teach me to stand until my mania arises again and has me ziplining through life.
I’m okay, though. I’m okay because I only have myself and I’ve learned to be okay with that.
This is a recent development.
I’m sat in one of my usual desk chairs and researching a topic of newfound interest to me: intersectionality. The layered identities of identity politics curl up and sit beneath my rib bones where I, a bi-racial woman of color with a seat on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, need a magnifying class to find someone, anyone at all, who somewhat relates to me. That’s not to say I can’t relate to, say, Raven Baxter on That’s So Raven because she deals with race dynamics and prejudice, but she also isn’t biracial. Or Gay. I often feel that, each day, I must choose a category to be that day. I can relate to general women movements, but I know they don’t speak for me. I can push for LGBTQ+ rights, but I know stigma is escalated for those of color. I can speak Spanish to help customers at work, but they won’t think to look at a girl with a darker complexion and no accent.
And, I mean, the media is getting better. A Wrinkle in Time, premiering when I was at the slight age of twenty, was the first time I saw not only a biracial couple, but a mixed child on the big screen. I watched it to be able to live what others can – where they sit in the theater and see themselves as the main character. Obviously, the film is not 100% realistic, but it could be for a girl like me.
My nitty gritty is this: Disney Princesses. My current research within intersectionality evaluates the Disney Princess franchise.
For example, Cinderella is a lower-class maid who works for food and shelter within her stepmother’s basement. Once Cinderella finds her prince and they marry, Cinderella gives no recognition to her previous class location or her current class. While she disguised herself and danced among others of royalties, Cinderella gave no acknowledgement that her shoes were made of house slippers and her dress was a dirt rag while the woman next to her had earrings that cost more than Cinderella’s last 47 meals combined. With a princess who came from the lower class, you would think she would be a role model, or at least more influential, to young girls who reside in the lower class. But Cinderella, who continues to be a household name, an original Disney Princess, and a money maker for the Disney Princess franchise, never once identifies as a part of any class. Her class location seems to have started and continues to be just “royalty”.
Another example would be the lovely Princess Jasmine, who is handed off to the movie’s villain as a sex object and a key to ruling the city. Jasmine, who appears disgusted with Jafaar, is not too pleased with her savior, Aladdin, because of his class location. Jasmine ends up marrying him and then continues her life in the upper class, never acknowledging that Aladdin lived off the streets eating scraps of food for years. Jasmine never questions Aladdin’s lifestyle, as if being homeless is just another place to be, or the power structures and politics directed at Aladdin.
This is a developing interest topic that I am trying (!!) to expand as a potential thesis.
Okay thanks for listening to me ramble I just want a Disney Princess who looks like me