Lately, I’ve been feeling a bit unappreciated. I think everyone has that one friend where, when it comes to parties or hanging out, they never contact you. Yet, when they need a favor or someone to vent to, you’re the first one they call.
I have a friend like this, and while usually I don’t mind doing favors or listening to others, I would like to get thanked occasionally, or have those actions reciprocated. Recently I did a huge favor for this friend (not any of you guys, I promise- she’s more of an acquaintance really), and didn’t even get a “thank you.” Nothing.
This reminded me of one of my favorite Disney princesses, Cinderella (from the 2015 version).
A lot of people are mystified when I say this is my favorite live-action Disney movie, and they are even more mystified when I say I like it better than the live-action Beauty and the Beast. But the reason for that is because I just identify with Ella so much more. I feel like a servant with a paycheck, and even though I already have the best prince in the world, I don’t have many friends, or feel appreciated enough for my kindness and hard work.
I don’t want to sound too much like a martyr, so here are my top five reasons why I relate to Ella:
- She’s a bit of a pushover.
She doesn’t stand up to her stepmother or stepsister until the very end. You wonder the whole movie, why doesn’t she leave? Why doesn’t she refuse to do their chores? True she has no bargaining power, and she promised her parents she would look after the house after they were gone, but I’m sure one of the former servants would have taken her in, had she been kicked out. She could have easily taken a more active role in the movie and changed her life long before the prince found her.
Like Ella, I’m also a pushover. I do exactly what anyone tells me to do for fear of upsetting them, even if it’s the last thing I want to do. I’d do anything to avoid conflict, even if it means attending a party when I’d rather stay home and read, or doing a favor for someone when I know I won’t get thanked in return. I usually feel good doing favors, and usually after some coaxing, I tend to enjoy myself at large gatherings. But sometimes I just wish I had the courage to say “no” (or at least, to say “no” without having to come up with an excuse first). I don’t want to be labeled a “flake” either.
- When she sees an opportunity, she takes it (even if it seems impossible).
When the fairy godmother shows up, she doesn’t believe the impossible things coming out of her mouth until the pumpkin magically turns into a coach. Her “They don’t exist” turns into “You really ARE my fairy godmother!”
True, she doesn’t actively seek out these opportunities. Instead, in this scene, she’s about to give up and run away, until her savior appears at the last minute.
Like me, if an opportunity came my way for someone to make me a dress and send me to a ball, I’d take it in a heartbeat. When the opportunity came to interview for a Cast Member position, something I had always dreamed of doing, I took it. When the opportunity came to attend grad school, I took it. Miracles don’t come knocking often, but when they do, you must grab them and roll with it.
- She’s kind to everyone, but still manages to be feisty and stand up for others.
I always say, “don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.” I always value kindness above all else, but if someone threatens my friends, I will suddenly turn from a delicate flower into a fiery ball of passion. If someone mocks my husband, is rude to my sister, or hates on my parents, I will defend them to the death.
Just like Ella, she adamantly stands up to the prince when she learns he’s about to kill the stag she’s just made friends with. “Just because it’s what’s done, doesn’t mean it’s what SHOULD be done!” she insists.
Like Ella, I have an easier time standing up for others than I do for myself. I think we both need to learn to take that feistiness and channel some for ourselves, rather than just for our friends. One thing is fact though- you’ll always want me on your side in a fight (though most people don’t realize that).
- She lives in the moment.
“Enjoy it while it lasts” the lizard/footman tells her, right before Ella hesitates going into the ball.
These are words I try to live by whenever I’m about to do something I really enjoy. Whether it’s a rare day off with my husband or a trip to Disney World, I know the moment won’t last forever. But I don’t spend the whole time lamenting how fast the time is going by, or snapping a million pictures and video on my phone. I live the day, or the afternoon/morning, to the fullest, and when the time is up, I’m more grateful than sad.
And now that I have a blog, I can write about, and hence relive these moments over and over. A day at Disney World for me is like a night at the ball for Ella. It’s our dream come true, and we don’t intend to waste a minute of it. Even on a recent trip to Texas with my husband and sister, where I was hiking and having the time of my life- I managed to lose a shoe. I’m still waiting on a royal to return it.
- She’s a reader, she’s loyal, and she doesn’t scoff at magic.
“Oh, I do love a happy ending, don’t you?” she says, after reading to her father. Like Ella, books make my happy, and I rarely go anywhere without one. True, she’s not as much of a bookworm as Belle, but there is still a scene of her clutching a book and smiling with contentment.
Above all else though, I relate to her loyalty, kindness, and her willingness to believe. A lot of my peers out there have lost their inner child and have fully become grown-ups. They don’t believe in silly things like wishes on stars anymore, and think that Disney movies are kid’s movies. This makes me terribly sad, and even though I am growing older, I don’t think it means I should “grow up.”
I think Ella is a great role model, and rather than the Cinderella in the cartoon (who is a bit of a blank slate, allowing viewers to project their feelings onto her), Ella is a fully-fleshed out character. She is always full of hope, and when her stepmother beats her down, she manages to remain optimistic and get back up. She even forgives her stepmother in the end, despite what the stepmother put her through.
Overall, it’ll be hard to find a character I relate to as much as Ella.
Any characters that you relate to? Do you also feel unappreciated at times?
Hugs and fishes,