Day 128 ~ 177 Days of Unexpected Health Project

A Healthy Character

I loved cartoons as a kid. I sang my heart out with Ariel in, “Little Mermaid,” dressed up and pranced around the house like Alice in, “Alice in Wonderland,” and desperately wished my dog would fit in my basket like Toto in, “The Wizard of Oz.” Cartoons expanded my child-like imagination, allowed me to dream, even tested out my vocal chords (of which I have resorted to singing only in the shower…I leave amazing musicality to my cousin). But as adults, we are taught to leave the cartoons to the kids (well, except for very non-childproof animation like The Simpsons, Southpark, and The Family Guy); to grow up and grow out of the free-thinking curiosity that ‘make believe’ elicit. But today, this 31-year-old discovered the Unexpected Health…in cartoon characters.

Now, cartoon characters have instilled both healthy and not-so-healthy belief systems in people small and tall; princess characters have portrayed unhealthy body sizes and fairytale love stories that are both physiologically impossible and psychologically improbable to attain. However, these larger-than-life animated characters (literally!) often display an exceptionally healthy outlook on an otherwise no-good-very-bad situation (remember when Simba’s dad got killed and then his uncle tried to kill him? Not good!). But what I found most Unexpectedly Healthy about cartoon characters today–as I sat with the movie, “Robots,” playing in the background–is that real life can seem so unreal sometimes that we can only relate by watching the metaphors depicted through cartoon characters…and being able to relate through any storyline is healthy.

Let me explain: I find (as I found again today) that cartoon characters often come across an internal battle. I may be geeking out on Disney characters right now and I apologize in advance for that. I am not nearly as versed in the Wonder Pets and Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! characters as I should. Anyway, think back to some cartoon characters: Ariel wanted to be human; Aladdin wanted to be great; and Peter Pan refused to grow up. All of these characters sought out adventures to discover their greatness. Sometimes, they actually found greatness by becoming something more than they were before they started on their journey. But most times, these characters realized that they already had this greatness inside of them…they merely needed the proper setting for the magic to unravel.

Cartoon characters (again, I’m not necessarily talking about Bart Simpson here) always tell that story about the life processes we all go through: questioning ourselves; traveling down various paths in search for our Truth; and oftentimes finding out that where we are and who we are becoming is exactly what is supposed to be. But we need the journeys. We need to be a ‘fish out of water’ sometimes; we need to take that ‘magic carpet ride,’ and we need to take a trip or two down a ‘rabbit hole.’ But what we find when the adventures are over and we are back ‘home,’ is that our healthiest selves is who we already are…it’s who we’ve always been. -Until tomorrow, Jaime

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