In a Way, I Really Hate Merida

Okay, not really. How can you hate a cute, redheaded, spirited character that you are secretly rooting for?

‘Bear’ with me for a moment… (pun intended, which will have no effect if you haven’t seen the movie ‘Brave’! Sorry!)

When I was a little girl, maybe 7 or 8 years old, my Mom and I were in Paris. Most of our family is in France and Spain and so a bi-annual visit was the norm. That year, my favourite friend was Raggedy-Ann. She went everywhere with me. Until I left her behind on the Paris subway. The only word to describe what I went through was inconsolable. To this day, I remember it: the anguish I felt at the thought of poor Raggedy-Ann, going round and round on the subway, all alone, without me to take care of her. And the guilt, oh the guilt! I had done this to her. I had left her. My parents tried to assuage my guilt by buying me a new friend — not a Raggedy-Ann, thank goodness — but a beautiful sheepskin bear. My Dad stuck him in the bed while I was brushing my teeth and called to me, saying someone was asking for me in my room. It was a valiant effort but even my 8 year old self knew this was a ruse. I loved the bear nonethless. I still have him, actually.

Perhaps it is inevitable, what with being an only child, that I would infuse inanimate objects with too much humanity. I was alone a lot, so having ‘friends’ in amongst my toys made sense, in my child brain. It grew beyond just caring about my toys though, and in to a slightly unhealthy devotion. Up to the point that I had my daughter, I carried on my tradition of over-loving things. I cried like a baby when we sold my car: it ‘looked so sad’ sitting on the lot by itself; so forlorn. Ridiculous, right? But at the time, it’s how I felt.

Since having a child does in fact change your perspective on EVERYTHING, I found that post baby birth, I could give up objects without a second thought. I was no longer oddly attached to stuffies from my youth or t-shirts from teenage rock concerts, long gone by.

Now, I am seeing the whole phenomenon through my daughter’s eyes. We recently traded in our car for a newer model and the transaction took place while she was at school for the day. When we went to pick her up, and the old car was not there, she flipped. She started crying: “Where’s putt-putt? Where’s putt-putt?” (Putt-putt was our name for the car, if you hadn’t already guessed that). I explained that we took putt-putt back to the store and got a new one. She cried real tears and when I finally got her to calm down a little and talk to me, she spluttered and sniffled: “But I didn’t get to say goodbye!”

I blame Winnie the Pooh. And Toy Story. And Brave. I blame Walt Disney. They create a magical world for our little ones, but I worry that she will follow my silly path. I worry that she will not forge real friendships, spending too much time in Merida’s world.

Am I wrong to worry?


2 thoughts on “In a Way, I Really Hate Merida

  1. I think children feel this way generally. And a magical world of imbuing inanimate objects with life and feelings just shows she (and you) have a good imagination.

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