Drinking: ice [cucumber] water (it's new...and cucumbery)
Happy fourth anniversary to Tangled, and happy fourth birthday to Rapunzel. I honestly can't even believe it's been four years since you won our hearts with your naivete and positivity but I wouldn't have wanted you to make your debut any other way. You are more than just my favorite princess-- you mean more to me than I ever expected you to. You restored my love for Disney, you ignited my interest in a hobby I never thought would be so important in my life, and most of all, you inspire me to keep going.
I distinctly remember it was eighth grade art class when I saw Tangled and quite honestly, at the time I didn't really care. Ms. Rogers had announced we'd start watching it the next day for that pointless "film appreciation" unit we had started (which made no sense because it was supposed to be an art class, not film, but whatever floats your boat, crazy ass). I remember sitting at the front table, leaning back with my hand supporting my head, prepared to relax and zone out the entire period until the screen passed through a forest of trees to a "wanted" poster and those famous first lines were head in the voiceover: "This is the story of how I died". And then I was hooked. That day I went home and googled the movie, listened to "I See the Light" for the first time on Grooveshark (though the song's meaning didn't even really leave much of an impact until that beautiful lantern scene nearer to the end of the movie). The more the movie progressed, the more I fell in love. If it hadn't been for Tangled, my dwindling love affair with Disney may never have been restored and I may never have been the squealing, happy Disnerd I am today.
I fell so deeply in love with Rapunzel's character, though, it became almost a preoccupation. I adored her and the way she reminded me of myself-- never had I felt such a strong connection to any Disney character before. She was naive and sheltered and artistic but multitalented. She chased after what she wanted and ended up getting even more than she ever hoped for. Fangirling over the movie hadn't become enough to satisfy me anymore, though, and upon discovering a bunch of girls on deviantART (a website I had just discovered at the time) dressing up as her, I felt jealous and wanted to do the same-- I was highly convinced that no one loved Rapunzel more than I did and I wanted to legitimately *be* Rapunzel. So I took to my grandmother and that summer before 9th grade, we worked together on our first big sewing project-- the first of quite a few. And so my first cosplay was born. It wasn't all too movie accurate due to the complexity of the project and my first Rapunzel wig was sheer crap but I finally had the privilege to dress up like Rapunzel and that made me happy enough. More than once I admittedly would sneak into Disney with the costume in my little backpack and change in the bathrooms, walking around the park dressed as Rapunzel and reveling in the little kids smiling at me because I had the floor-length hair and the purple dress and everything. Of course, I can't pass for a kid anymore so I can't do that anymore, unfortunately, unless I'm Disneybounding or something but either way, it was a dream while it lasted and I couldn't have been happier.
Though Tangled supplied me with more superficial joys like a renewed love for Disney and a spark for cosplaying, it also gave me something more substantial, and perhaps the most important: inspiration. Rapunzel soon became the prime focus of my mid-class doodles, residing on page after page of my notebooks from freshman year, and even became the main source of inspiration for the development of my own drawing style, something I had floundered with establishing for quite a while. Rapunzel's artistic endeavors motivated me to continue pursuing art as well, whether it was just freetime doodles or college-level creations. While writing will always be my first and more prominent love, art provides a more instant gratification, a more emotional scribble of angst or joy that sometimes words cannot quite convey and while Rapunzel did have a love for literature as well, I couldn't help but feel such a connection to her artistic tendencies in general. She was the first princess who ever took such an interest in art and seeing as I'm so artistically minded, it struck quite a cord in me. Not only that but Rapunzel has inspired me to be a better person, as well. She chases her dreams, goes after what she wants, and she's not afraid of approaching people and exploring the world. While I still struggle with social anxieties, Rapunzel inspires me to step out of my tower and face my fears like she did. Her selflessness and long hair has proposed perhaps the most prominent challenge thus far, though: because of Rapunzel, the summer before my freshman year I cut my hair short like hers, then decided to grow it out until I turned eighteen and then chop it off, like she did. I plan to donate my hair to Locks of Love and be selfless just like Rapunzel was, then go off and pursue my dreams with the wind in my short, bouncy locks and imagination in my heart. No matter what other princesses prance along in their puffy ballgowns with their magic powers and their fantastic stories, I am highly convinced that no one will ever take Rapunzel's place in my heart. She is my forever favorite and I cannot thank her and Tangled and Disney enough for everything they've done for me. So, thank you Tangled and thank you Rapunzel for being the lantern light in my life <3