A few years ago, my family was called in (on a fluke) to our first-ever audition for a Disney World theme park commercial. They were looking for a family with two kids 5 and 7 years old: the ages of my kids Destin and Melise. [I dragged my husband along – in both my secret ambition for fame, and as I figured that being paid might be the only way to persuade him to step foot into a Disney theme park.
You see, though my husband loves new experiences, he has a serious aversion to crowds…and standing in long lines. I get it. The Disney theme parks are noisy and packed, not to mention overly commercial, and fake and fantastic all at once. Nonetheless, I have a nostalgic sweet spot for Disney World in Orlando. Growing up in Miami, I spent many a vacation there with my family. My favorite memory being our stay, outside the theme park itself, at the old treehouse villas that were nestled in a balmy forrest with roaming peacocks.]
Fast forward – it’s time for our audition. We hadn’t prepared much at all, outside of getting dressed up like we were going to a fancy dinner party. We hadn’t prepped or coached our kids – who had only visited Disney once before – two years earlier. We’ll just be ourselves, I thought at the time. The director began with a few casual questions and then things quickly headed south. “Do you like Mickey Mouse?” he asked, and my son blurted, “No.” (You see, he really prefers the Dallas Cowboys…to just about everything.) Next he asked, “Do you like princesses?” to which my daughter quickly snapped, “I don’t like princesses!” At this point, my husband must have been thinking “What are we doing here?”
Yet, I was smitten (think red roses and hearts floating overhead). Me, in a real audition with a real director. So, I kept smiling and answering questions about our favorite family vacations; nonchalantly, downplaying our adamant preference for smaller, quieter boutique hotels and eco-lodges. We left…and an hour or so later reality finally set in. There is NO WAY they’ll be choosing us. No Mickey, no princesses. That won’t sell, baby. Emotions and regret ensued. We blew it. I should have coached our kids and reminded them of their favorite Disney characters.
“Melise, come on, you like Snow White, right? She’s a princess,” I asked afterwards. “Yeah, I like her because she loves and talks to animals,” she agreed. Hmm, where had I missed the boat – or should I say Jungle Cruise boat? Leave it to destiny? Act natural, be ourselves. Yeah! “Let it go,” my husband said. But I was somehow stuck in a loop – playing the story over and over again. Sick to my stomach, crazy. Until enough was enough and I reached for an extraordinarily, simple meditative tool: breath, open, and meet my experience. Meet this gnawing feeling inside me instead of chastising myself and avoiding it. I sat quietly and met the feeling in my tummy – breathing, aware and fully in the moment. I had to do a couples sessions of this until I finally began to feel a shift and more at ease. This is a practice I learned from my meditation teacher, Peri. Thank you, Peri.
Later, over the next few days, I began to process. I recalled how my daughter for some time, had been shedding her predilection for princesses and how my sister and I had even (a year earlier) conceived of a superhero character for girls who (like our daughters) are looking for their next, new model (post princessdom). We wanted a truly inspiring hero, who could embody the essence of being a girl in these times, and who was intuitively in touch with life “by being fully in the moment” (verses the commercial external motivations that, all too often, seem to shape and define girls and women today). It was a tall order. So, we put it on hold. Yet here I am now feeling the time is right.
The Disney audition has been a trigger like the lighting of the stick of dynamite from those old Bugs Bunny cartoons. My explosion translates to the coming out party of a new superhero that carries the wisdom of our ancestors adapted to the now. I call her KyRose, inspired by the ancient Greek god of Kairos. May she live and breathe. May she find her way back to this world – out of the folds of yesteryear. Stay tuned. She’s out there and alive in the hearts of all our daughters. Help me, and let’s invite her back.