My sister and I went on a date today to see ‘Saving Mr. Banks’. If you haven’t seen the trailers for it yet, it is about how Walt Disney earned the rights to Mary Poppins. P.L. Travers, the author, is a stubborn lady who is reluctant to give her character, Mary Poppins, to Disney to produce in a movie. It is a charming film, scans majestic landscapes, and includes lovely music.
I took a couple messages away from this movie. First, as Disney represents, it is important to preserve childhood innocence. Children need to run, play, believe in magic and that there is good in the world. Second, that our parents are not always who we think they are–our parents often hide the cruel and destructive parts of the world from us to preserve that innocence. For me, learning that my parents are not exactly who I envisioned them to be has been one of the most difficult parts of growing up and maturing. But, that is just what it is: a part of growing up.
The movie itself follows the story of the author, flashing back between her childhood memories of her father and of writing the screen play for Mary Poppins. The movie flashes between the present-screen writing, and the past, and how those memories created Mary Poppins. It becomes almost a counseling session for P.L. Travers–it is clear that she has been harboring anger and guilt since her childhood that is now being addressed. People are starting to ask questions about her past, about her characters, about her reasoning. Her defense mechanism is to put up a wall and run away.
I was very drawn to this movie (and, of course, shed a few tears) because this concept has been very timely in my own life, as I inspect my own habits and judgments and behaviors; I believe that the experiences we go through mold us into the people we are today. In P.L. Travers’ case, her relationship with her father and the events that come after encouragde her to create the character of Mary Poppins: prim, proper, and there to save Mr. Banks (I am trying really hard not to give away too much). For example, my little sister ate wild mushrooms when she was little and had to go to the hospital to get her stomach pumped; therefore, she cannot eat mushrooms anymore. But more seriously, say you were in a relationship where the guy/girl was very unappreciative and demeaning; you are probably going to try to stay away from that in the future. Or, if you had a blow up with your room mates about whoever does the dishes, you are probably going to be more conscientious about setting those rules up prior to living with new room mates.
One of my most favorite yoga instructors said, “Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional”. I have been using this quote as my mantra in life: pain is a physical sensation and is something that is bound to happen, whether it be physical, emotional, mental, psychological, etc. Suffering, however, is a choice we make. P.L. Travers, for example, choose, maybe more on a subconscious level, to suffer and hold onto this pain from her childhood into her adult life; it prevented her from having close friends, getting married, creating a family…and while these are not things that every person necessarily needs to gain, her life was altered because of this suffering.
We all are destined to make mistakes, impulsive decisions, date the wrong people, say inappropriate things, screw up. And, we all have a choice to make: do we (a) let those decisions and tendencies run our lives and potentially hold us back or do we (b) make an attempt to learn from those decisions and make strides in our lives? My New Years’ resolution for myself is to take action and stop the suffering; to examine my tendencies, to figure out where they are coming from, and fix what I don’t like anymore. I think, as humans, we often get stuck in patterns and ruts; we revert back to the same unhealthy behaviors when life gets tough and stressful and we wonder why things never change and things are “always happening to us”. As a young 20-something, I want to make sure that, as I trudge along in my life, I am not letting those unhealthy behaviors and things from my past inhibit me from enjoying my future.
No one said it would be easy, but they said it would be worth it in the end.