Through that story, I experienced my first taste of loneliness, despair, sorrow and heartbreak. I learned that not all fairy tale brings you joy, and not all has a happy ending. Strangely, it was one of the best fairy tale stories I have ever read and remains a favorite until now. To me, it was an eye opener, as if the harsh reality woke me up from a long slumber, like a bucket of cold water.
I think when I first watched the Disney's version of the story at the age of 13, I learned something even bigger. That humans crave happy endings and will do whatever they can to twist even the saddest tale into a world seen through rose tinted glasses. Which sadly, is far from reality. To a child like me back then, it somehow broaden the spectrum quite a bit, putting another option on the table. I saw life closer to how it really is. Varied, with so many pathways to choose from. The beginning may start the same, but it's up to us to write the ending.
Little did I know that the early wisdom I had learned was the one I would hold on to years later. I know sometimes it's easier to preach than to practice, but it's the one I keep reminding myself of whenever I'm down in a bottomless pit. It is true, that we are capable to write our own destiny, no matter how many obstacles we face. We are more than capable of getting up after we stumble, just the way we learned as a baby. It is one of our most vital instincts and it grows stronger with experience.
These days, I try to teach my children the same wisdom. I want them to understand that life can be sweet and bitter at the same time. That it's wonderful to be happy, but it's also okay to experience disappointment. "Failure" is just a word invented by humans who can't even be bothered to have another go. After all, haven't you heard? The universe lets your heart expand after you go through pain and heartache. It's the only way to let you come out to a better place.
It is without a doubt, one of the best movie quotes I have ever heard . :)
PS: The piece of art you see above is titled The Lonely Mermaid and has found a loving home. If you're curious to see a movie closer to the original version of The Little Mermaid, this is the one I watched as a child: