*I know you just read this in the title, but the following will NOT contain spoilers for Disney's Frozen 2. None. And I won't be discussing that part where Elsa [redacted] so you are free to proceed
If you are stumbling upon this article, you might fall in one or more of the following categories:
- You are a big fan of Frozen
- Your children have sung "Let It Go" so much over the past six years that your ears have bled
- You HATE Frozen and need everyone to know!!
There's something about Disney's Frozen that brings adults, singing children, and haters together. Because for the haters, when you can't stand something, you just HAVE to let everyone know.
Some of the hate was understandable. I will admit, the success and repetition of "Let It Go" delayed my interest in Frozen. I didn't even watch it until it came out on DVD. and even then, I waited a while after that.
My biggest takeaway from watching Frozen for the first time: Han was a jerk. I actually gasped out loud at this reveal! How dare you, Han!!
Over the past six years, the Frozen fandom has only grown. Cute little girls have been running around dressed as Elsa, YouTube is filled with thousands of covers of "Let It Go", and don't even get me started on how much Frozen merchandise is in the toy isle currently.
The stage has been set for Frozen 2. So was it worth the wait? Let's dive in!
Make It Make Sense, Elsa
Without giving away anything, I am going to to say this one thing. If you think that you are going to watch Frozen 2 and get all of your questions answered from the first Frozen, you're not only going to leave out of this theater disappointed, you're also going to leave with even more questions.
Frozen has never been a movie where things make sense. Why the trolls? Where are Kristoff's parents? Also, why the trolls?
We can't be good at everything right? That can include a complete and linear backstory. But that doesn't mean we can't have a good time, right?
Ah, Ah, Ah, Ah
So there's a pro and con to this section about the music of Frozen 2
Pro: It's pretty good!
Con: Your children will think it's pretty good too!
Oh yes! You prayed for the day that "Let It Go" would die. You pleaded "children sing something else, ANYTHING else. I'll give you 20 bucks, please!" While you may see a decline in how many times you hear "Let It Go" while walking around the mall this season, there's a new song in town. And it's got "Let It Go" potential.
Idina Mendzel jokingly apologized for the popularity of "Let It Go" a while back. However she is right back at it again with a new hit song in Frozen 2 called "Into the Unknown".
That's right everyone. There's a new "Let It Go."
It's a pretty great song actually. You might not feel that way after the 215th time hearing it, so listen to it now while the getting is good.
On a positive note, Panic! At The Disco covers “Into The Unknown”. If you know Brendon Urie's vocals like I do, you know he is one of very few people who could match Idina Mendzel's range. Now this is a song I could play on repeat! Listen for this song to play in the end credits and see if you agree.
All The Snow, All The Fire
This I will say about Frozen 2: the animators get an A+ for the awesome amount of skill and work that they put into this movie. Much like how I felt with the landscaping animation in Abominable, watching the snow on the big screen was awe-inspiring. In fact, I am a little surprised there isn't a 3D version of this. Normally I am pretty skeptical of the cash grab of 3D, but it would have been cool to have snowflakes shooting at you.
But I literally cry at everything. Still *sniffs* I don't wanna talk about it.
“When You're Older, Everything Make's Sense”
*que Kristoff* I'm gonna tell him
Wanna know if your kids will love Frozen 2? Let’s just say a small child shouted “Elsa!!” with glee when she appeared on screen. Cutest thing ever. Your kids will love it.
For adults: Don’t ask too many questions of the plot, just enjoy the pretty things on screen. Don’t cry as much as I did, either. Your popcorn will get soggy. I still think you'll have a good time.
Frozen 2 will be out in theaters on November 22nd. After you see it, leave us a comment and let us know what you thought. Some comments are worth melting for 🙂
One of the most infuriating things I hear (mostly at my day job) is "Quinzel you STILL go to comic book conventions? You STILL play video games? You STILL dress up?
Yes. Yes. and, in case this is your first time to the blog, yes?
There was a time when I was much, much younger (I'm talking high school-ish age here) where I worked hard to cover my nerd flag as much as possible, lest I'd be called out and embarrassed for it.
Fast forward to today, I let that go a LONG time ago. Once I accepted who I was, the comments bothered me a lot less. I am taking the time to do something that makes me happy. And that isn't making fun of other people's interests, Carol.
The comments still come through. On top of that, we put a HUGE emphasis on turning 30 years old and what it means. We cry and cry in our last moments of 29 like 30 really changes things.
I am a firm believer that 30 is not the mile marker for all of your life's accomplishments. 30 is only the beginning.
That is one big reason why I really connected with Erica (Suga Bear Co) because it was so refreshing to meet someone so unbothered by age. Not only is she unbothered but, as I stated earlier, this is only the beginning of many new adventures for her.
"The biggest piece of advice I can give a cosplayer over 30 is don't be afraid to be you." Erica says "If cosplaying is something you have always wanted to do, make it a bucket list item and get it out of the way. Age only means something if you decide it means something. It doesn't have to cost a ton of money or be exactly perfect. Get out of your head and just do it."
Erica is a cosplayer and talented seamstress. Known by Suga Bear Co, she's got a lot of life under her belt. That isn't to say age. I think one thing people get intimidated about starting to cosplay later in life is because they feel as though it strays away from the current life path that you've built.
Erica is living proof that at any point in life, you can press restart. She isn't just carelessly starting and stopping things, she's an inspiration that, at any point, you can redefine yourself and your goals. And this has earned her a fulfilled life.
She received her associate's degree at 30, her bachelor's at 32 and her master's at 36. If this isn't proof that your life isn't over at 30, I don't know what is.
Erica had always loved fashion and initially wanted to be a fashion designer when she was younger. But unlike the notion that says you must decide what you want to do by the time you turn 18, Erica took the time to explore different career and degree options. Along with that, she worked full time, went to school full time, and also was raising a child.
Cosplay didn't come easy for this hardworking gal. She couldn't attend conventions at first because she couldn't get the time off work. She had worked in operations in hotels where weekend shifts were required. Instead of giving up on cosplay altogether, she fit it in by dressing up for birthday parties and special occasions.
"My first con experience was at C2E2 2018." Erica says "Sounds weird since I've been a cosplayer for 13 years, but between job schedules and cost, it was not a priority. I made it a priority last years and I'm glad I did. I got to see what he hype was about and how extravagant the cosplays really could be. I was able to attend the panels for plus size cosplay and Costumers with a Cause. I think I did about 20,000 steps per day and of course, was extremely tired. I even did a costume change one of the days. That experience also let me know that I didn't need to go to any con for an entire weekend unless there are things I'm participating in each day."
Since then, she has also attended (and judged cosplay at) Toys and Cosplaycon as well as both years of Wakandacon. Wakandacon is where we initially met and I wanted to know if she loved it as much as I had.
"I have loved my experiences at Wakandacon because we weren't the afterthought. People are looking to photograph you and talk with you, interview you, respect you, because the con is about you and your tribe and how we interact. I have met some wonderful people and I hear people every time tell me how I've inspired them by something I said at a panel. You don't really get that at bigger cons where there is no real focus and you're in a crowd of people who may not be so welcoming."
As amazing and strong as Erica is, that doesn't mean that she doesn't recognize that there can be negativity in the cosplay world. Not just toward age, but size and race as well
"Some of the negative comments I've seen towards other cosplayers is that they are too dark to play a character or said character isn't Black, so you have to do someone else. I've seen people tell some of my cosplay kids that they ruined a character for them because they didn't feel they were perfect or that they were too fat to be certain characters. I've seen people be called the n-word version or ghetto version of a character."
Erica recognizes that it can be hard for new cosplayers to deal with that level of negativity “If I had gotten into cosplay when I was younger, I would have gotten out of it” She says, but then smiles and tells me “I’m secure in myself that I’m gonna check em and keep it moving...I don’t give them what they’re looking for…”
The positive side of growing with age is that you also grow out of f*cks to give. However, there is one negative aspect that we haven't covered, and it isn't what people think of you.
Spoiler alert: its money
I can attest that the biggest thing that prevents me from going to more cons and donning myself in more cosplays is money. More than what people say, cause what even are words, money, it seems, will snatch your dreams a lot faster than hurtful words can.
"Money is a challenge in cosplay because even the cheapest cosplay will still probably cost you at least $20 if you can get it all through the thrift. Let's also add in any make-up needs, wig or hair needs, shoes or boot covers, accessories, etc. Then add in the cost of actually attending cons. Because I am now on panels, my costs have started to be covered a bit (for some cons), but before that started, I had to pay for my tickets, hotels if necessary, parking, gas, etc. I also cosplay with my kid, so there's the added cost of all of that stuff for him as well. "
To deal with these burdens we learn, with age, that self-care is key. I get being busy, but it's inspiring to know that with how busy Erica is, she still prioritizes the importance of self-care. Also, have I mentioned that she is a trained therapist who is starting Group Cosplay Therapy?:
" Self-care is a must for me. Being a therapist, I teach self-care to my clients so that they know that this is a need and not a want. I also teach them what self-care all includes because many people think it's massages, bubble baths, and shopping sprees. Self-care is also spending time doing things you love and with people you love. Cosplay is definitely a self-care, both making it and wearing it at the con or other events. Sewing, dancing, drawing, painting, and listening to music are also part of my self-care routine. Spending quality time with my kids watching our favorite anime or movies is also huge. Hanging out with my friends and family is always a fun time."
Erica proves that with everything you have to balance, school, kids, full-time job, that cosplay is possible if you want it to be possible. Just take the strength you have used in all of your other life situations and apply it to something you would have fun doing
Push yourself out of your comfort zone (and other peoples comfort zones) and shine
Are you a cosplayer over 30? What challenges have you experienced? What are some of the most fun or amazing experiences that you have had with cosplay? Tell us all about it in the comments section below
I received this shirt and onesie in exchange for an honest review. These are my honest thoughts (but spoiler alert, it's pretty great, y'all)
I feel like we discussed this on the podcast at some point (the Captain Marvel roundtable of all places) but one of the biggest pet peeves of mine is that there is hardly any Black Panther merchandise around. As much as I love Black Panther, I am sure that I could fund an entire Disney project, should they just give me what I friggin' want.
So imagine my surprise at showing up at Wakandacon and seeing this incredible Wakanda-ish shirt. And I completely lost it when I saw the Baby-ish onesie.
Before I get deep into this review, let me tell you a little bit about Philosofher: The Love and Life of Her. One look at the site and you'll be drawn in by the and eye-catching apparel. Concitta, the genius behind Philosofher, also does event branding, wedding invitations, and more. She is a well rounded creative.
According to the site (because I cannot do this amazing level of writing justice), this is Philosofher's story:
With intent, philosofher is a collection of apparel, stationery, novelties, and such, curated to celebrate the life of, the love of, creatives and women - “…from [their] hair follicles to [their] toenails,” -Jill Scott.
The selection of each item, the quotes penned or borrowed, the custom designs, and everything in between are all made possible with creative energy, passion, and detailed attention.
Embracing the laissez-faire and soul-snatching energy of New Orleans and the brazen, charming spirit of Chicago, philosofher is what happens when the creativity of two cities collide and merge...
First things first, I'm a plus-size gal. So with almost any clothes I wear, I find myself very disappointed to find they have nothing in my size. Pictured below, the Wakanda-ish shirt is in an XL and very roomy, I tucked it in to give it a fitted appearance, but the XL fit is AMAZING. Not too tight, not too big. I usually wear a 2X in shirts due to an abundance of boob-age. So this was an absolute win.
I live in an area where not many people get Black Panther or Black-ish references, but I still got a lot of compliments on it anyway.
The one who got the biggest compliments was my little Bb-y 8. He rocked that onesie like the model he is. The only thing he didn't like? The tag in the back. But it's an easy solution to cut the tag if needed. I've had to do it with A LOT of his clothes. Here he is pictured in an 18-month onesie.
In case you couldn't tell, I love this company. The shirts are comfy. The sizing is dope, and it's cute as heck. 10/10 would recommend.
What do you guys think? Think you'll head over to Philisofher: The Love and Life of Her and buy? Hop in the comments section and let me know what you
Sure, you never lived in the jungle and had a best friend named Boots. You probably never had a song about a backpack or even a cousin named Diego.
But as I kept watching Dora and the Lost City of Gold, I had to shake my head and say "Shoot, Dora is me." And I can bet that if you spend enough time on Geeky Girl Guide, you will feel the same way.
First of all, let me say that, next to Aladdin, this is one of my favorite live-action remakes. Not only did they address the awkwardness of Dora breaking the 4th wall (can you say delicioso? say delicioso!) but that entire high school experience was accurate. When Diego told her that high school was life or death, it wasn't even an exaggerating. High School, in my experience, was being in survival mode all the time. Being in the jungle was probably a lot easier.
Now before I go any further, some of you may ask "why in the heck should I go see a movie about a cartoon for preschoolers?" I promise you, it's not like that at all. It's got a good plot and it's pretty funny if you remember OG Dora. Even if you're an adult, I think you will still enjoy it. Heck, I did!
Back to Dora. While it was hilarious that her dad told her about the dangers of raves, that piece of advice made me think. When we go to high school, none of us are prepared. All we have is tidbits of advice that we got from High School Musical or She's All That. We all go in thinking we are just going to go and be ourselves.
The scene of her dancing (doing the peacock, specifically) was enough to make me cringe with nostalgic embarrassment. I WAS that girl, I was inherently strange and getting laughed at non-stop. At the same time, I wish I had another Dora when I was in high school.
We would be weird best friends. We would sing songs and explore places and randomly yell "Swiper no swiping!" at anyone who tried to stop us.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold hits theaters on August 9th. Be sure to check it out. And be sure to stay for this new version of "We Did It."
Trust me, it will be a good time. Cheers to you Dora, Quirk Queen of the Century!
Do all good things really have to come to an end? Can't we just keep going and going and *cue music for "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye"
I woke up this morning feeling two opposite emotions. Super excited to spend one last day at Wakandacon and also super sad that I only had one last day at Wakandacon.
I ran into Lusciously_Wicked Cosplay and her fiance again (shout out to that amazing SNOWoncye cosplay) and we hugged and were so glad to run into each other one last time.
Don't worry, it won't be the last you hear of her through this blog *wink*
The amazing thing about this con is it's not just a love for all things Black Panther, it's a love for all black people. Black people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, college degrees ALLL kinds of black people were welcomed here.
That isn't to say (I can't believe I even have to say this) that this con is against white people or ONLY for POC. It's all about the openness of the atmosphere. How comfortable I was to just exist.
I wasn't a black blogger. I wasn't a black fan. At Wakandacon, I was simply Quinzel
Panel: Writing While Black
Now listen, y'all already know that I am a writer. So this panel was exclusively for me and for my needs y'all XD. But let me share with you a couple of really cool quotes I heard from the panelists:
- "You can't revise a blank page"
- "No one can write that story the way that you do"
I can't say enough good things about this panel! Check out Book Euphoria to learn more about the awesome panelist (which are all black authors, btw)
Panel: Closing Ceremonies With The Founders
As much as I want to beg for more time, this was the final panel that marked the end of the con. Remember that Women of Wakandacon article I wrote last year? Well I got to see Lisa and Taylor on this panel. Sadly, Ali wasn't in attendance and had another engagement.
They thanked everyone and gave the floor to anyone who wanted to say anything. What followed was an outpouring of thank you's that was enough to bring the founders and everyone in the room to tears.
Also, a couple got engaged during the closing ceremony. Y'all know I'm a sucker for romance.
Like I mentioned in Day 2, if I have one regret with this con, it's that I can't do everything. Some things that I missed out on that I regret now are:
- Shuri's Room: The Official Wakandacon Code-a-Thon: Seriously bummed because I've always wanted to know how to code. Everyone who stopped in, whether they already knew how to code or not, loved it.
- Gaming Marathons: I had hoped that since it was going down all weekend that I could catch a sneak in the gaming room but I did not. I know there was a Mortal Kombat and a Smash Bros. gaming competition and I would have been down to watch (and maybe play) that.
- Queerkanda: That was a panel I would have especially loved to see for myself. But it definitely got OUTSTANDING reviews. Next year, Quinzel, next year.
This was a hard, hard con to leave. Usually, the Con Depression sets in after I've had some time to reflect. But this...it just sucks because I don't want to go back to real life. I want to code and I want to see people walk around in amazing costumes and I want to be comfortable at the intersection where my blackness and nerdiness meet and...
Con depression can really make you spiral. But it's important to know that Wakandacon isn't just one weekend. It took all of these wonderful people to plan this, to attend this, to vend wonderful merchandise at this, and to network and speak about this.
We out here, Wakandacon just gave us a way to all be in the same space at the same time.
I still don't wanna go, though #crying
Spoiler Alert: I think Wakandacon may just be my favorite con.
Yeah, I've attended lots of cons. I've volunteered with a few too. But man, this one is top-notch.
What can I say? The volunteers were great, seriously ALL of them. The vendors were extremely friendly. Heck, Leia from Just Play Entertainment was nice enough to do a demo of her game "Hip Hop Charades" with us. It was a hilariously good time. I'm definitely buying the online version of this game.
Family-Friendly And They Mean It
One thing I also loved about the con is that it doesn't preach about being a family-friendly convention, Wakandacon just is. They have more than just a play area for kids. Kids can have their own panels and even a STEM booth was set up for them. There were no side-eyes at crying children but overall, the kids seemed extremely happy to be there. I think I'll be bringing my (not so) little Bby-8 next year. I definitely think Leslie should bring her Geeky Baby one year
Panel: Cosplaying While Black
I'm disappointed that I couldn't clone two of me for just that day because there were SO MANY amazing panels and I couldn't go to them all. Some of those panels were "Melanin and Mental Health", "Taking Black Magic to New Heights: Diversifying the Space Industry", and "Queerkanda".
The discussion was revolved around things we already know and experience as black and brown cosplayers. The two biggest takeaways were:
- Black cosplayers get so much more hate than a white person doing the same cosplay
- because of that, it can be extremely emotionally taxing to cosplay while black.
We as POC know this, but it was so validating to hear. I hate when I bring up an issue with racism in cosplay and people dismiss me by saying "Nooooo, we are all the one race: the human race"
That's great, but it still doesn't solve the issue of people threatening us and calling us "apes".
These cosplayers shared their pain, but they also shared their strengths. This panel was full of inspirational people who give back to their communities and are overall strong and positive people. They inspire anyone who wants to cosplay to go out and DO IT. There was even a short slide showing the panelist and their cosplay evolutions. It really proved that your craft gets better over time.
I LOVED all of their cosplays, but my absolute favorite cosplay was Ashhuhlee who was cosplaying as Max dressed as Powerline from A Goofy Movie
For those of ya'll who don't know, it's this scene from the movie:
All of these cosplayers worked super hard to put on this panel and it turned out amazing. If you want to get to know them, here are their Instagrams:
Icy Ace Cosplay IG: @d.etheridge.alpha
Outta Line Cosplay IG: @outtalinecosplay
Lusciously_Wicked Cosplay (with Javon Jackson. They are engaged and cosplay together awwww) IG: @Lusciously_Wicked Cosplay
SuperDan6488 Cosplay IG: @danlemon88
Ashhuhlee IG: @ashhuhlee
Suga Bear Co IG: @sugabearco
Cosplay Contest and Parade
Showing again how good this con is to their kiddos, they had the kiddos come out first and I about drowned in cuteness. The "awwwww"s never stopped.
The adults still came and showed out. Congrats to the winner Dr. Esquivel Ph.D. It lights up!!!
After the contest. There was a cosplay parade. As the line of cosplayers circled around the convention center, they began Jabari Tribe chants that echoed throughout the halls of the convention center.
I L I V E D!
I'll admit, whether I'm working or doing press at a con, I am not the greatest at remembering to eat. I know I know I need to take care of myself, but it is what it is. my mind just isn't on food.
So imagine my surprise as I came across this lovely booth with cupcakes and chocolate turtles. Sweet Tooth Confections by Ariel "Cocoa" Scott was a lifesaver at that moment. But when I tell you how DELICIOUS this cupcake was...woo chile... I am so sad I don't live in Chicago. But she did say she would try to see about shipping cupcakes in the future. So that's good. You will hear my shout from the rooftops if that happens.
Overall, it was an amazing day at an amazing con. I am a die-hard fan now. Wakandacon forever. I don't want to leave.
I'm not sure if this counts as an official day one, because I didn't get to see the con until about one hour before they closed. You can thank the Greyhound Bus for that one.
This story is one for the podcast, but if you follow my twitter, I gave you a snippet of what happened. From the driver telling us to act like "real" men and women, to driving off the road and telling us to "shut the hell up" when we alerted him of such, to being well over 8 hours late to Chicago, this is a story for the ages.
I wish I could say sorry for this. But being as that Greyhound hasn't done anything but send a copy+paste tweet at this point, I have to, for lack of a better pun, throw them under the bus.
You would think that god-awful bus ride would be enough to set the tone for my vacation but no. You could imagine my relief of seeing that purple Wakandacon sign and walking up to the table for my press pass. Everyone had a big smile and was super helpful. If they were at all overwhelmed, I couldn't tell. I got a quick peek in the vendor hall and, let me tell you, you are going to LOVE what they have to offer.
Sorry about not getting this one out last night folks. I needed a minute to recharge and relax after that whole debacle.
I'm super excited to show y'all everything that Wakandacon has to offer. Stay tuned!
1994 was a good year. It was the year one of my favorite Disney movies came to theaters. I saw The Lion King for the first time on a humid night in June. I don't remember what I was wearing, but I am sure it was something along the lines of overalls and hair scrunchies.
I remember being amazed by "Circle of Life" and "I Just Can't Wait To Be King". My childhood was at its height when I saw Simba and Nala running through those zebras. And then...and T H E N
I don't know exactly why I wasn't moved to tears by Mufasa's cartoon death. I was seven years old, so I had some concept of emotional intelligence, right? Well, I must not have. The older woman sitting next to me was crying- no -SOBBING! Full on shaking and sobbing out loud in this theater. 7-year-old Quinzel was confused. Mufasa's not really dead. He's in the sky, see! He wasn't going anywhere!
Well, I definitely grew up and wasn't able to ignore the implications of death any longer. This time, not only would I see this movie as an adult, but as an adult who also has a child.
Because of this, I didn't stand a chance, I full on boo hoo-ed through this scene yall.
The thing about this being live action, you see everything. You see and can feel every little detail,
Imagine watching a tiny Simba trying to avoid the stampede of animals.
When he falls from the limb, Mufasa grabs him by the nape of his neck and lovingly places him on the rock. He breathes for one second. One small second of relief before being carried away by the gazelles again.
Simba searches for him. But this time, you don't see the panic in his eyes like in the animated version. It seems like his fur sticks straight up in a panic. His body stiffens.
Mufasa emerges, using all of his strength to climb up the rock wall. He is not visibly bloody or injured, but you can tell that he climbs in pain. That it takes strength to scale this wall that he doesn't have. And then...
Betrayal, pain, and a fatal fall to the bottom. You don't need to hear him hit the ground. You don't need to find him in a pool of blood. The eery silence aside from a single gazelle leaping, you just know.
Simba nudging Mufasa's lifeless body to wake up is enough to start the first steam of tears. But after he cries for help and nothing happens, he decides to cuddle under his dad's lifeless paw.
Say what you want about live-action, I might be inclined to agree with you. But seeing this scene for R E A L about killed me.
Dooooonnnn't even get me started on "Remember who you are".
It is now a tradition that my spouse, kiddo, and I attend our local Pride festival each year. It's one of my favorite things to do because Pride is like this little force field of awesome where the daily effects of homophobia and willful ignorance about sexuality cannot penetrate it. However you identify, there is something beautiful about people coming together in one place to be exactly who they are with no judgment and interference from anyone else.
Also, Pride is just a heckin' good time. There's a ferris wheel. It's the bomb diggity.
Only in the last few years of my life have I been able to enjoy Pride. I have an aunt (who I'm no longer in contact with for soon-to-be obvious reasons) who would laugh about Pride. She would say horrible things about going to Pride just to "sight-see" (I'm using a better word here) and I was traumatized by this. I was so afraid there were hundreds of straight people like her at Pride who just saw everyone there as "entertainment" (using a different word again as not to trigger).
My first year at Pride made me see that someone with my aunt's mindset would never last a day at Pride.
As accepting, loving, and fun as Pride is, you would think that would be enough to make me cry behind my sunglasses. But no. The first year I attended, I was awestruck. I completely took in the energy around me and felt the positivity, the freedom to just be, running through my veins.
I was happy. I was free. But I didn't cry. Not yet...
Back to the relevancy of bringing up my aunt earlier, I am not in contact with anyone in my family. They don't know where I live or have my number. And I pray to all of the gods, every last one of them, that I don't run into them.
Why? Well, that's a loaded question and maybe this isn't the post for that. But the dynamics were pretty bad. I got to a point when I realized that I could leave, I could sever ties and choose myself first. Once I realized that, I ran in the middle of the night and didn't look back. Abuse will do that too you, either leave you frozen in fear or getting the hell out of dodge Forrest Gump style.
So I'm living life without my birth family. It's painful but I have amazing friends. But, as amazing as my friends are, even as amazing as YOU ARE because you're reading this right now and supporting me, I crave the love of a parent, the unconditional love of a family. I love my friends, my spouse, my beautiful baby. I'm more than prepared to catch them when they fall, but who is there to catch me?
Back to Pride: it was a sunny Sunday morning. So sunny, in fact, I came armed with a new pair of sunglasses, so I wouldn't, you know, go blind.
As I walked down the vendor hall, I notice a group of women wearing shirts that say Free Mom Hugs embracing a group of people. A man also wears a Free Dad Hugs shirt and my throat catches.
I never talk about my dad and it's because I've never met him. My parents were married but they divorced when I was one. He's been gone ever since. The only picture I've seen is of him looking down. I've never even seen his eyes. None of the adults in my life would willingly give me any information about him.
So I've never in my life been hugged by my own dad. And all of the men that I'm blood-related to, my uncles specifically... let's just say any physical contact they are accustomed to is a bit stronger than a hug.
The man wearing the Free Dad Hugs shirt made eye contact with me and waved. He asked if I would like a hug. I knew I could say no, and I knew my eyes were covered with the sunglasses, thus any visible emotion coming to the surface. But I nodded.
I didn't think this hug would spark tears. That a simple pat on the back would start a chain reaction of tears hitting my sunglasses like hot water from a hose. I pulled away to subtly wipe the tears from under my sunglasses. I cleared my throat and say an audible and quick "thank you."
I will blame it on my upbringing, but I hate hugging men that I don't know. I'm always afraid that a hug is signing a contract with a hidden clause that I don't realize until it's too late. But in that moment, I felt safe and I felt appreciated. Hell, I felt loved.
After I said "thank you", the group noticed my spouse and baby and I introduced them. The entire Free Hugs group clamored around little Bby-8 in the stroller, exchanging more heartfelt hugs with me. They hugged my spouse. They told me my baby was beautiful. They told me they were proud of me as a mother and that I was doing a good job. And then I teared up again. Not hard enough for them to (blatantly) notice, but enough to where the sunglasses fogged up quicker. Thing is, I wasn't sad, I was relieved.
Something in that interaction allowed me to unpack something that was heavy, something that was weighing me down. In that short moment, I felt that all of my hard work to better myself was worth it. I had been so used to being torn down, so used to hearing negative talk from my bloodline that receiving a hug and being told that someone is proud of me was enough to bring me to tears.
Free Mom Hugs didn't just change my life, they helped me heal. They gave me something that I've needed for a long time. If anyone from Free Mom Hugs is reading this right now, I want to tell you this: by being a temporary mom and dad to me, you all helped me be a better mom to my son. And I thank you for that with my whole heart.
Fair warning: While this post does not reveal any significant plot twists or surprises in the movie, there are slight spoilers in this post. Proceed with caution.
Oh, and read it in a sassy voice, trust me on this.
One thing you need to know about Princess Jasmine in the 2019 version of Aladdin, is that she IS that chick. She's not with the ish. She is not the one, or the two.
And She Is The Princess You Needed All Along
See, Princess Jasmine ain't the one to mess with. First of all, she's not about to sit around waiting to get married off to some man. She is not a prize to be won!
When I was a child, Aladdin was my favorite movie. I must have re-winded that VHS tape a thousand times. I don't even think that's an exaggeration, I can quote it forward and backward.
Princess Jasmine was a HUGE deal back in the 90's because FINALLY, SOMEONE IS BROWN! See, this was back in the day before Tiana in The Princess and The Frog. I took my poofy hair, tied it back in three blue hair ties, and I. Was. It!!!
Back then though, Princess Jasmine made me yearn for a flat stomach. But this Jasmine now? This Princess Jasmine right HERE?? She will make you yearn to fight for any cause that she backs.
Is she beautiful? Of-freaking-course she's beautiful, her skincare routine is ON POINT. But real talk, this is a woman who is running things. This is the woman you overlook for promotions, meanwhile, she could be running your entire company without breaking a sweat. Give. Her. All. The. Things.
On top of all that, she is watching these men in power and she is tired. Real tired. Because she knows that she could get it done herself and still sneak off to Agrabah later.
Jafar better watch out, because this Princess Jasmine might even throw a hand or two. But the amazing thing about her is that she wouldn't have to. She wouldn't even have to raise her voice. Just stepping into a room commands everyone present to shut up and listen. Now THAT'S power, Jafar.
Realest talk, Princess Jasmine is the kind of woman I aspire most to be.