I love kid movies. Especially the ones I watched when I was younger, probably because of the nostalgia factor. These films also shaped my sense of humour and my whole personality.
When I was a child, I wasn’t into fairytales, I didn’t really like princesses. I liked animal movies, but my favourite favourite one was called Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. I don’t remember exactly the first time I watched it, but I remember who made me discover it.
She was my closest friend throughout my entire childhood and we used to spend every Sunday afternoon together. She had so many toys and especially, the cutest, softest horse plushy I had ever seen. She ended up giving it to me and her generosity still amazes me to this day. She loved this plushy a lot, but she knew how I loved it and she just gave it to me. It became my favourite toy and I still have it. For a few years, it felt like this plushy was my actual best friend. Yes, I had a lot of imagination and also a lot of alone play-time. (Funny anecdote: I gave it a bath. Let’s just say it wasn’t as soft after that event…but I still loved it immensely.)
After I discovered this movie, I watched it every single day. I know this information from my family, and I trust them because I must have been the most annoying little sister. Not only did I watch the movie every day, but I also sang all the songs all the time and, prepare yourselves, sweethearts, I talked to my family by neighing. I could do-dad neigh, mom neigh and baby neigh. To this day, I can still do the neigh with emotions and intonations. Yes, I was a very passionate, fanatic and intense person from a very young age.
The other day, my sister, my mom and I were chatting and we ended up listening to the Spirit soundtrack, while I was singing the songs with my whole heart. While I was singing, I thought about this film and why little young me was so attracted to it.
It’s a good exercise to do once in a while. Trying to understand why I love things. What specific aspects of these stories, activities or people attract me. I think it’s a great way to understand yourself better when you dig up the reasons behind your tastes. Sometimes we think it’s just a natural, almost instinct-like reaction, but there are reasons why you love the things you love. While digging through this one, I understood another layer of my tastes and doing so, of myself.
Let me give you a bit of backstory here. My friends joke that my taste in men is predictable, that my “type” is very strong (which is pretty much true, let’s admit it). Which means that most of the characters I love are similar, they all respond to the same criteria, yet I didn’t really know where it came from. I could more or less put them into categories, but I couldn’t get to the root of it. The why.
The new layer I found is that Spirit probably was the first character of that list of favourites. Okay yes, he’s a horse but he has human characteristics and little young me responded to these aspects early on, and they evolved with me, forming the young adult I am now.
What I mean with this long intro is that fiction fixes reality. Fiction fills holes reality has created. So in my little young heart, there were already holes, wounds that needed to be mend. From a young age, fiction was a way to soothe my own wounds. Wounds I couldn’t name yet but existed nonetheless. I know it’s not like that for everyone, everyone isn’t as attached to fiction as I am. But for those who resemble me, fiction is a way to fix what reality broke, to offer what reality couldn’t give me. It was always a way to fill my life and my heart.
So if you’re like me, I want to suggest this little interactive exercise. It comes in 8 questions and is a great journaling prompt. I encourage you to really dig deep into your favourite fiction and to analyze it properly.
o What are my favorite characters?
o Can they be regrouped? What characteristics do they share?
o What are their positive and negative sides?
o How do they affect me?
o What place are they taking in my heart?
o In doing so, what are the holes in my life?
o Is this how I want to fix them?
Maybe with this you’ll find a ‘‘type” you like, but also you’ll understand the holes you have. Because if characters fill something, it means there is a lack in the same place. It means there is a hole, to begin with. Holes aren’t bad, everyone has them and it shapes us. It would be impossible not to have them. We are flawed humans and we need to work to get better. To get better, we have to understand ourselves. We all have wounds and holes in our hearts. We all have the means to fix ourselves. Some it’s with shopping, others with working, and others with partying. Me, it’s with fiction. Which is why you have to be careful. My mom always says to me to be careful about what I let in. She’s right. Fiction can be destructive when done wrong when used wrong. The ways you fix yourself can destruct you so much more if you’re not careful.
This is how I understand myself better.
By finding the things that fill you up, you find the holes in your life. Then, you choose what fills them. Is this how you want your wounds to be taken care of? Take the time to think about what you like and what you let in in your heart and your mind.
In the meantime, stay tuned for my fangirling over my favourites and oversharing with you sweethearts!