February 4, 2013

How to Kiss a Disney Princess. {Video} ~ Kevin Macku

It’s complicated. The best things in life are.

It was the first piece of devised theater I’d ever been a part of—theater created from the ground up without a playwright. We cobbled together these personal stories and wove them together with song and dance to create a piece of theater that was about driving cross country, fear of the post-9/11 world, and—of course—love. At one point during the show, I picked up a paper airplane and flew it around the stage, and then a young woman appeared. Shyly, we moved around one another, not saying a single word, something between curiosity and choreography.

Finally, we stood in front of one another and kissed—tenderly. Plastic bottles fell from the sky. Paper airplanes rained in from every part of the stage’s periphery.

Cue music.

Meet Meg, my new favorite Disney princess.

At first glance, there’s nothing particularly special about Meg. She isn’t of royal blood (so far as we know). She may or may not have a perfectly understandable aversion towards apples. We don’t even know if she sings or talks to birds.

Meg is one of Disney’s latest “princesses,” co-starring in the short animated flick, Paperman. What more can I say about her? Oh, why don’t you just watch it and see her for yourself?

Fair warning: there may be tears.

What I like most about Meg is that I feel like I know her.

After college, a number of my friends moved to New York City, looking to start new lives. They go out on interviews, ride the subway and try to just make ends meet. Some are romping around the city single, some have fallen in love and some have talked about or already committed to a marriage.

Meg teaches us what really makes someone a Disney Princess; it’s not the dress, the freaky power to commune with nature nor even the ability to hold a tune—they don’t even have to be female! Disney princesses are not the people who we look at and want to sleep with; they’re the people who make us smile when we see them. They brighten rooms simply by walking into them. They make living in places like New York City worth the struggle. They’re a warm cup of coffee on a rainy Monday morning, a wave of inspiration before a deadline; a second wind when we’re ready to give up. Their ability to effortlessly, subconsciously bring out the best in others borders the realm of the magical.

One cannot simply walk up to a Disney princess and kiss them. There’s going to be a story first, and stories go through periods of doubt, sorrow and pain. Committing to seeking a princess isn’t something to be done lightly; it isn’t for lazy or cynical people, or people who have built walls around their hearts. It’s for people who’ve felt what happiness is and, rather than live in someone else’s grey and lonely world, are ready to work to make the world a better, happier, more colorful place.

A Disney princess can only be found by calling on one’s inner Disney prince.

It takes a prince to find a princess; we learned this in The Princess & the Frog. So, what are the attributes of these men (or women, as we’ll soon see)? How do Disney princes walk? How do they stand? Sit? How do they go about life?

>A Disney prince must be gentlemanly. From the first moment we (and Meg) see George, we know he’s a gentleman. He’s not the James Bond, drinks-only-fine-liquor kind of gentleman; he’s the hold-doors-open kind of gentleman—the kind of gentleman who smiles and laughs when something funny happens to another person, rather than belittling them.

>A Disney prince must be willing to work. There is a Japanese legend that if a person folds a thousand origami cranes, then they will be granted a wish. We see this pop up a lot in folk tales: the trials of Psyche after losing Eros, or Parvati taking up tapas (fiery dedication) after being denied by Lord Siva. What this means is that a prince does not just wish for an outcome; he works to make it happen. Also, women can be Disney princes too. What’s fascinating is that we Westerners look at the repetition of action as the definition of insanity. But what’s the difference between insanity and practice?

>A Disney prince must be open to new experiences. They must venture boldly towards their destiny. Sometimes it means looking a little goofy; anything new is going to be a little awkward the first time. Sometimes this means leaving their work, or even leaving the country! Sometimes it means taking a stand where once they yielded. Sometimes it means doing something that once paralyzed them with fear. Sometimes it may mean breaking rules—or laws (remember Across the Universe?).

>A Disney prince must be able to accept failure.

>Finally, a Disney prince must believe (if only just a little) in magic. Whether or not there are forces on the planet beyond all of humanity’s understanding, there are certainly forces beyond our own individually.

Magic is merely the unseen effect our actions have on the world.

It is said that when a cause is pursued with pure intentions, the universe conspires to aid the pursuers. It may not come as a cloud of sentient paper airplanes, but remember that George folded all of those himself; the effort that he put into the world took a material form and came back to assist him. We have the option not just to put energy into the world, but what kind of energy that is. In the words of Charlie Chaplin:

“You the people have the power: the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure!”

The Disney prince(ess) is not a fictional person; they are an integral part of each of us, and all it takes to unlock one is the presence of the other, and the choice to call on that aspect of ourselves that wants to make the world a better place. And how should we go about it if we’re granted that opportunity to, at long last, kiss the prince or princess that stands before us?

Well, I know I’d recommend tenderly, amidst a rain of paper airplanes. But why don’t you go for it instead, and let us know how it works out for you?

{Bonus video!} Check out this music by Pogo, made entirely from sample sounds and vocals from Disney movies!

Kevin Macku
 is a 20-something fledgeling yogi with a love of words. He is a trained actor who occasionally appears in local movies and on stage. His preferred methods of expression are based in movement: Suzuki’s Training for the Classical Actor, Viewpoints and Butoh to name a few, all of which benefit from the practice of yoga. In the midst of a rigorous physical practice, he discovered he was undergoing a spiritual transformation, and began to document the experience. These entries can be found at http://doafy.posterous.com/. Kevin himself can be reached at [email protected].


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Ed: Kate Bartolotta

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