Season One, Episode Twenty-Nine: Chasing Charming

I loved Disney movies as a child.

I loved to sing along with the songs, and I adored the princesses, especially Jasmine and Belle. As a gap-toothed, messy haired eight year old, I loved that Jasmine decided she’d run away before marrying someone she didn’t want to (I just found the idea of marriage ridiculous since you know, all boys were gross and had cooties) and I loved that Belle would rather help her kooky dad with his inventions and read books all day instead of being interested in that jerk Gaston (because, yet again, all boys were gross and had cooties). I will admit, that even at eight, I was fascinated with the idea of a happily ever after, where all your dreams came true and all the wrongs were made right by true love’s first kiss. I had no idea how unrealistic that was.

Belle is my all-time favorite Disney princess. She was the only one who didn't care that girls who could read weren't considered cool. And she was the only girl in her town who didn't fawn over that bastard Gaston.

I had a fairly good idea that life didn’t actually work out like it did in The Little Mermaid or Aladdin. There was no magical Genie, full of jokes and goodhearted cheer, who would make all my wildest fantasies come true. I wasn’t going to rub a lamp and become a princess or marry Jonathan Taylor Thomas. It didn’t work like that. I also wasn’t going to be attacked by a crazy lady who was half octopus. I was pretty grateful for that 😛 But still, I loved the idea of finding my own Prince Charming, this amazing and beautiful and perfect guy who was going to sweep me off my feet and we’d get married and have a happily ever after of our own. I figured that I’d find him eventually, and when I did, it was going to be the greatest thing ever. I’d have the big stupid house with the white picket fence and the two kids (one girl, one boy) and the dream car and the obligatory golden retriever and life would just be friggin’ grand.

...Because in 1996, JTT was part of every girl's happy ending.

Yeah…life doesn’t work like that. And if it does, Lord have I kissed enough frogs to warrant me my freaking happy ending. My son’s father was a class act who was separated from his wife and swore he was going to get divorced, and I was stupid enough at 18 to believe him. He wound up leaving me to go back to her twice, the final time being after she had a kid exactly ten months after my son was born. There have been guys who turned out to be crazy morons who may or may not have beat their past girlfriends. There have been guys who couldn’t kiss their way out of a well-lit paper bag with the exit clearly marked. There were guys who were even worse in bed. There were guys who strung me along, guys who just wanted to be friends with benefits, and guys who turned out to be racially confused drug dealers. I’m only 26, and I have to admit that I’m tired. I feel like I deserve a happily ever after.

Frogs may be cute, but they are NOT good kissers.

And I kind of wish that Disney had put more effort into the realism of the “happily ever after”. Why not show what happened to Belle and the Prince after they got married? All we saw was them dancing at the end of the film. Why not show what would happen once they got comfortable and Belle realized that the Prince wasn’t going to be all sweet and romantic like he was when they first fell in love? Why not show Jasmine getting frustrated because Aladdin wouldn’t take that damn monkey outside to poop? Why not show Ariel laying in bed, wishing that Eric would get the hint that she wanted to have sex instead of him watching Pawn Stars again and falling asleep before midnight? I wish they had showed us girls that it’s not easy, that the idea of a happy ending takes work and patience and a healthy dose of rationality. Maybe then people wouldn’t give up on a relationship the first time you have a huge fight. Maybe then we wouldn’t rush into marriage and rush into divorce even more quickly than we rushed into the wedding. Maybe we wouldn’t be so preoccupied with the end game of our relationship…maybe then we’d focus on the now. I’m learning that the now is the best part of being in love with someone. When you focus on the end game all it does is stress you out and cause you to feel like crap.

My boyfriend is here on business; that’s how we met. I knew from the beginning that he was going home after he was all done here in Cleveland–home being roughly five and a half hours away. It’s not crazy far, but I’ve never been in a long-distance relationship before, and honestly, the Internet really hasn’t been much of a help in telling me all the fabulous ways for us to stay together (But really, is the Internet ever really helpful? Really.). I’ve had people tell me it’s not going to work, while others have said that it most certainly will, if you are willing to put the time and effort into it–I’m more than willing to try, but Jesus Christ, I wish that there was something that I could have referenced as a child that I could draw upon now to make me feel better once he leaves in June. Seriously, Disney, you need to come up with a modern princess who I can relate to. Right now, the only princess I’ve got is Emma from Once Upon A Time, and she doesn’t even know she’s a princess, damn it!

Pfft. Try telling her that there's such a thing as a happily ever after. Emma'd believe that as much as she'd believe she's really a fairy tale princess. And then she'd probably kick your ass.

All I know is that I can’t be the only one who is tired of chasing after a guy who doesn’t really exist. Perhaps I’ll stumble upon Charming when the time is right. Maybe I already have 🙂

Season One, Episode Twenty-Six: Saving the Invisible Children

“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”

This is what a seven year old should be doing, not being trained how to kill people.

This is my son, Nicholas. He just turned seven last month. He loves tornadoes, Ramen noodles, and cats. He plays softball and is learning how to read. He’s never known anything except being surrounded by the people he loves.

This is because he lives in America. He will never really understand how lucky he is to be an American–I am twenty-six and am still discovering on a daily basis how lucky I am to have been born in the United States. I don’t think that most of us realize, even among the rising gas prices and political games and the unstable economy, just how incredibly lucky we actually are to live in Ohio or Indiana or Colorado or Alabama or Washington or any other of the fifty states that comprise our nation. In our country, children can be free to be children, they can be free to play out on the streets and go to school and learn without the fear of being taken from their homes and taught how to kill against their will. If Nicky had been born in Central Africa, his life would be very very different.

At what seems to us the very young and innocent age of seven is seen as the perfect age to be taught to shoot a sub-machine gun and mutilate people in the eyes of crazed warlords. In Uganda my son could be yanked from his bed in the dead of night and be forced to kill me and my family or be killed himself. He would be taken from his school, his friends, everything just to become another faceless, nameless child soldier, nothing but empty collateral to “armies” such as the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda or the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council in Sierra Leone. My son would be pumped full of drugs and be promised crazy, unattainable things in return for carrying a gun that would be roughly half his size and kill innocent people. If he thought of leaving, he would be tortured or mutilated or murdered in front of his fellow “soldiers”. All at the age of seven. It disgusts me.

I watched a video earlier this evening from a nonprofit group that I have been supporting since at least 2007, Invisible Children. The nonprofit uses film to raise awareness of the abductions and abuse of children in Central Africa, namely the children recruited to serve in Joseph Kony‘s LRA. Their main goal is to capture Kony, hold him accountable for his crimes, and end the LRA. The video, “Kony 2012”, asks us to bring Kony to the forefront of our international media and asks us to use social networking, among other tactics, to help lead to the capture, arrest, and conviction of Joseph Kony. I found myself choking up several times during the thirty minute video, especially when they focused on Jacob, a Ugandan boy who had witnessed his brother killed by Kony’s regime, and Gavin, the filmmaker’s young son, who couldn’t understand why someone would have children kill.

Here is the video. It’s gone viral since its release on March 5, garnering over 44 million views on YouTube and roughly 14 million views on Vimeo:


Joseph Kony was indicted for war crimes in 2005 by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. His regime has been accused of abducting and forcing over 66,000 children to fight for the LRA since 1986. Invisible Children has called for people to come together and spread the video online and to donate to the cause. I am impressed at the speed of how the video and the message about Joseph Kony has spread. #kony2012 is one of the top trending topics on Twitter, and I have seen the video numerous times on my Facebook news feed. I hope that the actions of the people help to find Kony and bring him to justice. No child should feel like Jacob has, that maybe it would be better to be dead than to live in a world with the constant threat of evil men like Joseph Kony.

I believe that every child should get to live a childhood like my son. Every child should be able to lay their head down on their pillow at night and know that they are safe. No child deserves to become invisible.