As I was little, The Little Mermaid was my favorite movie. I watched it sometimes even every single day! I dreamt of being Ariel and spent my days singing her famous melody and playing with my hair anytime I was in water – whether it was the actual sea or just a bathtub. Of course, my parents were well aware of my obsession and once my dad brought me from his business trip abroad the best gifts I could have gotten: Ariel-themed flip-flops, swimsuit and T-shirt.
Oh boy, was I happy! No other material items really mattered to me. There was just me and my mermaid stuff. The best days were the ones on which I went to the beach (or any other place where I could swim really) because I could wear all of them at once. The swimsuit was quite an original one and cut in such a shape that always made me look piebald like a cow when I was tanned… But, of course, I didn’t care about things this mundane. I laughed it off because damn, I was Ariel and Ariel wouldn’t ever think about that.
The worst day in turn was when my feet didn’t fit in the shiny flip-flops anymore, my fabulous swimsuit started to be uncomfortable and my cute T-shirt became a crop top.
This year I’m turning 25 and guess what, I’d prefer to be turning into a mermaid. “This human world, it’s a mess”, as Sebastian wisely said, and “devoting full time to floating” sounds much more fun.
When you approach the end of the first quarter of your century, you think a lot about your life, what made you who you are and what you want to do in the future. While the latter could be quite blurry, you usually do come to some conclusions about your past and your present; my conclusion is that I have in fact become Ariel in some aspects, and that this movie in general has influenced me a lot.
Let’s start with the more superficial conclusions and get deeper by the end of this post.
Under the sea
I am fascinated about everything that’s under the sea and I’d use any excuse to get in it. I’ve never really enjoyed being on a beach – I had to splash in the water, jump over the waves and explore what’s behind every stone. My exploring got on the next level as I turned 10, which is the age by which you’re allowed to do a diving course. I could go only 12 meter deep though, so soon I exchanged my Open Water Diver certification for an Advanced Open Water Diver certification, thanks to which I could go even two times deeper.
Yes, the diving course got scary sometimes and I needed more time than the adults to overcome my fears, but it was definitely worth it. I could finally swim with all the beautiful creatures I’d always only dreamt about! Unfortunately, I’ve never experienced any of the Sebastian’s legendary musical numbers, but I guess it’s because I haven’t dived in the Caribbean Sea. Yet.
Speaking of Sebastian, did you know that Sebastian was to have a British accent? Eventually, It was decided to make him from the Caribbean because this opened the door for the incredible smash-hit Under the Sea. I am aware, that it’s inspired by calypso. I am also aware that he’s thought to be Jamaican. Nevertheless, as I watched it again last month the dance of the fish by 2:14 and 2:19 looked like salsa to me and the fabulous fish at 2:22 reminded me of the queen Celia Cruz. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m just biased by my love for this dance, but I truly have the feeling that listening to this happy, energetic song conditioned me to get into salsa and in general find joy in moving my body to music from this region later in life.
PS Observe Sebastian’s hips 0:36-0:40, he could easily be a salsero.
Remember Ariel’s intense red hair? Well, I have dyed my hair a couple of times and while the first time was quite a fail (hey, I was 12, that’s what 12-year-olds did back then), I consider the second one and all the following a total success. I dyed my hair blue like the most beautiful sea and I couldn’t stop looking at it! I dyed only a part, though – so that it looked hip (#ombre) and I still got to see the important half anytime I wanted to.
Yes, I have pretty much always had long hair, how else would I have played with it in water?
While quite clueless, Eric was incredibly handsome, and he instantly became my type.
I blame The Little Mermaid.
Ariel was extremely curious about everything – she got excited about every single object she’d found and instantly looked for answers to her numerous questions about it. I’m just like that. I’m always searching for something new, can get enthusiastic about anything and obsessed with finding out how it works. As I’ve stated lately in one conversation, understanding things is one of my passions.
PS If you think about it, Ariel’s curiosity about a culture that was completely different to hers would have made her the ultimate traveler, or #glt nowadays. And that huge boat on which her wedding took place? Perfect for discovering the world!
Following my dreams
Many critics say that The Little Mermaid gave girls a bad example – she left her family and friends, her whole world really, for a guy she’d just met. While I get what they’re saying, I’d like to remark that she had always been fascinated by the human world. Have you even seen her huge collection that she probably needed years to create? She wanted “to be where the people are”, she wanted more from life than what was thought for her and meeting Eric was just a push she needed to dare to make a change. She did, and after all the drama needed to make the movie interesting, she got her Happily Ever After.
I fell in love with Vienna when I was 12 and I also felt this incredible attraction to another world for years. I wanted to move, which I did – again, as soon as I could. I finished high school, packed my bags and left my family and friends, my whole world really, for a city I didn’t know very well. Of course, I am still in touch with these important people in my life that live in Warsaw and I visit them whenever I can, but I’m sure Ariel did that as well. She even lived so much closer to home than I do.
I’ve found my happiness, just like her, in a different world; and just like she needed to give up her voice, I had to give up my mother tongue. There’s always some price to pay, right? Nevertheless, that’s the path I’ve chosen and I look at this rather as an opportunity than a struggle. I was forced to leave my comfort zone, to accept that all the German-speakers around me will notice the mistakes I’ll make and to hope that, eventually, I’ll be able to communicate properly.
I guess it worked.