When I was a little girl, my favorite movie was Disney’s Cinderella.
It was a long time ago that I was that young, of course, and while the movie in question is still quite special to me, it’s no longer my favorite Disney movie. But it occurred to me yesterday at work that there might have been a reason it was my favorite; nuances that I had been keen to as a child, but too young to comprehend properly or name.
There were the obvious things any young girl might be attached to, of course; princesses, magic, princes, true love. Obviously I loved it for those reasons. But it’s only into adulthood that my perception of the movie changes a bit, and I begin to pick out the smaller things, such as how Cindy worked so hard to please her family, even if they were not of her blood. How she dedicated herself to doing as good a job as she could with the jobs she was given– not necessarily in hopes of receiving praise or anything, but just because they had to be done, and no one else in the family was going to do them.
How, come the time of the ball, when she wanted to go and was denied– she bent but did not break.
And in the end, all her hard work paid off.
It’s not about how she got married to the prince and became a princess, nowdays. That’s not what’s most important to me. What’s most important is that she didn’t let her family, stepmother and stepsisters that they were, break her in half; that she didn’t let them stop her from succeeding in life, as was the plan.
She loved them. They were her family, and she loved them. But she was strong enough not to be trampled on despite that, to know what she wanted (to go to the ball) and do it. It took a little help from someone else– sometimes things in life do– but ultimately the fairy godmother would have been able to do nothing at all, if Cinderella hadn’t really wanted to go.
Cinderella is not my favorite Disney movie now, but it will always be important to me. It taught me so much as a child, both obviously and subliminally. It shaped the way I grew up, and the way I live my life, even in non-obvious methods. A part of me is always going to want to be Cinderella, too; to meet the prince and fall in love and get married, not to be taken care of my whole life but because every girl wants to be someone’s princess just a little in the depths of our hearts and I am no exception at all.
But more importantly, a part of me already IS Cinderella: Bowed but unbroken.