There seems to be a message in every song; I feel like this is what is so powerful about music. Sometimes even if the lyrics don’t match up to our individual situations or experiences, the beat and melody just connect with us. I think this is even more evidence of how we all connect to each other–our pain, our fear to share our feelings, experiences, dwelling in the prison of our own minds–because when we feel the power of that beat, those lyrics, that tune, we just get it.
Art is a great way to express ourselves, our experiences. As I’ve stated before, no one is truly ever alone.
With that said, it’s time for a dose of Disney! I know, I know, there are probably plenty of other songs I could have chosen from, but The Little Mermaid’s “Poor Unfortunate Souls” came on my itunes playlist (don’t judge me, Disney tunes are epic) and hit me in a way I didn’t think a Disney song could.
I couldn’t help but think of Ursula representing that destructive voice in our heads telling us that something will make us better, that something will improve our lives if only we make the deal. Yes, “poor unfortunate souls” we are indeed if we find ourselves in that position:
Ursula: The only way to get what you want – is to become a human yourself. (Is our yearning to become “human” that holy grail of thinness?)
Ariel: Can you DO that?
Ursula: My dear, sweet child. That’s what I do – it’s what I live for. To help unfortunate merfolk – like yourself. Poor souls with no one else to turn to.
I admit that in the past I’ve been a nasty
They weren’t kidding when they called me, well, a witch
But you’ll find that nowadays
I’ve mended all my ways
Repented, seen the light and made a switch
(Society and the media portraying thinness as ultimate happiness, as something that will make our lives better. Sure, there’s a dark side of it, but the voice convinces us that we will do it right, that we won’t fall like all the others.)
And I fortunately know a little magic (eating disorder behaviors)
It’s a talent that I always have possessed
And here lately, please don’t laugh
I use it on behalf
Of the miserable, lonely and depressed (don’t we seem to flock to the eating disorder when we are feeling this way?)
Poor unfortunate souls
This one longing to be thinner (ha, there we go)
That one wants to get the girl
And do I help them?
Those poor unfortunate souls
They come flocking to my cauldron
Crying, “Spells, Ursula please!”
And I help them?
Yes, I do
Now it’s happened once or twice
Someone couldn’t pay the price
And I’m afraid I had to rake ‘em ‘cross the coals
Yes, I’ve had the odd complaint
But on the whole I’ve been a saint (so deceiving!)
To those poor unfortunate souls
Ariel: If I become human, I’ll never be with my father or sisters again. (Eating disorder translation: “If I attain this ideal, I might have to give up spending times with my friends and family, have to give up commitments and events, have to give up my life.”)
Ursula: That’s right. . . . But – you’ll have your man (weight loss?). Life’s full of tough choices, innit? Oh – and there is one more thing. We haven’t discussed the subject of payment. You can’t get something for nothing, you know.
Ariel: But I don’t have any -
Ursula: I’m not asking much. Just a token, really, a trifle. What I want from you is . . . your voice.
(Voice? Yes, when you give in to the eating disorder, you lose your voice. I got my back by speaking out about it – first to my mom, eventually friends, and finally by starting this blog. In falling for what society deems as “best” and falling into the eating disorder, you have to lose your voice in the process—at least I did. I could no longer speak up because the eating disorder kept me quiet and scared. I know we always talk about the control thing but I really feel it took over.)
Ariel: My voice?
Ursula: You’ve got it, sweetcakes. No more talking, singing, zip.
Ariel: But without my voice, how can I -
Ursula: You’ll have your looks! Your pretty face! And don’t underestimate the importance of body language! Ha!
The men up there don’t like a lot of blabber
They think a girl who gossips is a bore
Yes, on land it’s much preferred
For ladies not to say a word
And after all, dear, what is idle prattle for?
(How true is this? I may get into the feminist issue of eating disorders in another post [I know eating disorders happen to men, too, but the rates are much higher for women—and there’s a reason]. In short, by advocating this ideal of thinness after years of women struggling to have a voice, their voices are suppressed further by weight discrimination. I have even succumbed to this way of thinking: how many times have I looked at a slightly overweight woman and thought, “She just needs to have more control over food” while seeing a man who may be just as overweight, if not more, I don’t think twice about it?)
Come on, they’re not all that impressed with conversation
True gentlemen avoid it when they can
But they dote and swoon and fawn
On a lady who’s withdrawn (And you do become withdrawn when you are focused on that control and ideal)
It’s she who holds her tongue who gets her man
Come on, you poor unfortunate soul
Make your choice!
I’m a very busy woman
And I haven’t got all day
It won’t cost much
Just your voice!
You poor unfortunate soul
If you want to cross a bridge, my sweet
You’ve got to pay the toll
Take a gulp and take a breath
And go ahead and sign the scroll!
Flotsam, Jetsam, now I’ve gother, boys
The boss is on a roll
(Ariel signs contract.)
Paluga, sarruga, come winds of the Caspian Sea.
Now rings us glossitis and max laryngitis,
La voce to me!
Now . . . sing!
Ursula: Keep singing! (Giant magical hands rip out Ariel’s voice and give it to Ursula. She laughs as Ariel is changed into a human and rushed to the surface by Flounder and Sebastian.)
Whether its an eating disorder taking your voice away or any addiction or desctructive action in your life, finding your voice again is a key to bring the true you back again.