So I watched The Princess and the Frog again, this time with my laptop in hand, as I sat on my sofa. It proved to be a great idea because I was able to capture all of the new things that I noticed in this movie, that really translate into how real life relationship should/do work.  

The first time I watched this, it immediately touched me on a personal level. The lead character's dedication to cooking, and her relationship with her father, it truly hit home, and maybe that personal connection is what led me to read so much into Disney's newest true to form full-length animation feature.  

The first thing that stood out to me about Naveen and Tiana's relationship in its earliest stage (before it ever existed) was that they immediately began to take a journey together, two people (or frogs in this case) who barely knew each other and who hand no expectations beyond getting back home. On this journey, though both had been put in each other's space neither one of them appreciated the other. 

Tiana sung about how some people like herself work hard everyday while others like Naveen did nothing, but play. From her perspective, he didn't live up to what a productive person should be. Her verse sounds strangely like some women, who do not think that men have done "enough" or have not at least done as much as they have.  

Naveen's verse talks about the red-head, the brunette, and the blonds that awaited him when he finally returned. He was so transfixed on the beauty of these three prototypical forms of beauty, that he was completely oblivious to the frog who was traveling with him, who was going on the journey with him, who was on his journey teaching him resilience along the way. The perfect person for him was right beneath his nose, and he was unable to see it initially because she was a green mucusy frog which did not depict his definition of beauty. {unpauses. carry on.} 

However, we do get a chance to see a slight change in Naveen's character the first time, on this journey where he is needed, when Tiana can't save herself from the redneck hicks hunting frogs, we see Naveen realize that he was needed by Miss Independent. It was almost as if he noticed Tiana for the very first time. The fact that she'd been resilient, and independent, and ms. do-it-all on her own left her almost invisible, but when she was a damsel needing rescuing, Naveen saw that he may actually have purpose in her life. And it was at this point, that we begin to see any type of chemistry between the two of them at all.  

Boy, Mama Oddie got it right... You want to be human but you don't know what you need. It's at mama Oddie's that we see Naveen realize for the first time that Tiana is the one who makes him light up. He fell first, and from that point we see him work at making it right. "I just want to look Tiana in the eye and say, 'I will do whatever it takes to make all your dreams come true, because I love you.'" He determined in that instance that he'd step out of his box, and work or even {gasps} get a job for her if that would help to make her happy. His self sacrifice in here is so beautiful. This is what it looks like when the Bible says husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church that he would give his life for it.  

One could say, why would a man have to be the only one who sacrifices, well the flip side is beautifully illustrated by Tiana in this movie as well. When Naveen's fate hung in the balance, and she was offered her dream of a restaurant in exchange for Naveen's soul essentially, and she decided that Naveen (their future together) was more important. "My dream would not be complete without you in it. I love you warts and all."  

Bottom line is that I have 5 primary takeaways from this movie:  
  1. The movie shows us that what we need can come in packages that we would not have necessarily expected for ourselves. The woman that you need may not be the prototypical beauty; she may be successful on her own; she may have goals and ambition, but with the love of the right man, she will be willing and sometimes be relieved to let him take the lead. The man that you need may not (yet) be the one wrought with ambition and accomplishments; maybe his woman is just enough of a push for him to be better, for him to do better.  
  2. In a nutshell... it reminds people (especially women) that's it's okay to strive for your goals, but to not get so caught up in them that you miss your frog. Goals are great but they aren't the thing that's most important, and acheiving a goal and growing that "thing" whatever it is together is far better than doing it alone.  
  3. And on the flip side, it reminds dudes, that the love of your woman should be greater than self-love, and sometimes you being willing to sacrifice "self" leads to a greater reward than doing things which only purpose is to make yourself happy even if at the expense of others.  
  4. All relationships come with some personal sacrifice, on both parts, but the reward for that sacrifice is far greater than anything that could have been achieved alone.  
  5. We shouldn't be so caught up in having/doing better than our parents (like parents want for their children) that we eclipse what we did have provided by our parents. I think of my father and the man that he was and the love he exuded, and maybe he didn't have all the material wealth that many covet, but he had us and deep down i honestly feel like that was enough for him.  
The song Dig A little Deeper from the movie really got me and this is the verse that did it...  
Miss Froggy, might I have a word? You's a hard one, that's what I heard Your daddy was a loving man Family through and through You your daddy's daughter What he had in him you got in you...


Being Independent Does Not Mean that We Don't Still Need Our Men

I've noticed a trend over the past few months, though I'm sure it's gone on longer than that, regarding the plight of the independent woman in a relationship, and how she and her independence can make her man or any man feel unneeded. Like I've always said, I will be the first to admit that I do not know anything about boys and girls, but this is my take on it.

In our society, so many seem to quantify necessity based on an ability to financially sustain a partner, family, or lifestyle. When really, we need to take a step back and realize that needs go far beyond and are far greater than who is or can pay for what. I'm not taking to task anyone, male or female, but I'd like to use a very personal story to illustrate how what a (n independent) woman needs from her man.

For all intent and purposes, one could label me an independent woman. I won't go into the list of things that I have/do that qualifies me as such because that is silly. I have always said that independence is like beauty, and for someone to walk around screaming, "I'm independent" is as ridiculous as someone walking around saying, "Look at me; I'm beautiful." It's okay to know who and what you are, but it is not always necessary to discuss it.

Nearly two years ago, my family discovered that my father was really very sick. Now my older sister is married and my younger sister was in a very long term relationship at the time, and they both had the shoulder of their sig others on which they could cry. During that time I'd played the role of a typical career-driven chick who focused only on doing what she needed to do to be comfortable knowing she'd not have to hustle for anything since it seemed as though I was destined to be single anyway. I'd just come out of a very healthy relationship which came to an unfortunate end mysteriously when I was offered my present job. The point being, when I needed an emotional outlet, a non-familial shoulder to cry on, I was lacking.

Now do not misunderstand, I have amazing friends, and I knew that I could call any one of them at any time day or night and they would be there to support me. But what I was accustomed to growing up was being able to look to my father for emotional support. I, being fortunate enough to have grown up having one of the most amazing men in history as a father, was used to being able to go to a strong man when I needed to be rescued emotionally. However, given his current state, he could not be my emotional outlet. My sisters, mom and I determined that it was our turn to support him as he'd supported us our entire lives.

Someone once told me that two of the hardest things to go through are the death of a loved one, and caring for a very sick loved one. Little did I know that I was at a point where I was about to deal with both, in conjunction with my very sick father being moved from his home because, though the family was already struggling with the declining health of our patriarch, Hurricane Ike showed no mercy and ravished the house that he'd worked to provide for his family.

Over the course of the most torturous 4.5 months of my life I found myself finding solace in a parking lot. While my sister had her husband to support her, and my younger sister her amazing boyfriend, all I could do was drive. I'd end up in a parking lot scrolling through my cell phone looking for someone to call. I'd need to cry, and what I really needed was a shoulder, what I really needed was someone to wrap their arms around me, and wipe the tears from my eyes as they'd come. I needed someone to let me just snot all over them. I needed someone to listen as a I challenged and questioned God and his omnipotence. And I didn't need just someone, I needed and wanted someone who too knew my father. I needed someone who understood why me being mad at God was different from every other person in the world being mad at God when their loved-ones become terminally ill. I needed someone who knew that man that I called daddy, because he would then know that what I needed was not someone who could help me with the house that I was having built at the time, or my car, or my bills. He would know that what I needed all I needed was someone to be there for me, and that need was greater than any financial support I could ever ask for.

So as I sat in the parking lot I scrolled for names of men who knew my father, there were about 4 guys that I could call, and would let me cry to them. 4 guys who knew my father, and understood my frustration, and my plight. And I wanted to talk to guys, there is a calmness that I felt like I could get from the depth of a male's voice; I could pretend that voice loved me like my daddy loved me. Though those 4 guys were there to listen when I called, not one of them (for one reason or another) came to daddy's service when the time came when I needed them then.

Am I independent? Yeah I guess... who cares. But I wish above all else that I had someone I could depend on in a situation like that, and not even just those situations, situations where I am emotionally spent even if it's just a bad day at work, a tough time with the kids (future kids obviously). That need isn't just for the bad times, but the good times as well. I need someone that I know who is always going to be there to rejoice with me, to celebrate with me, and those are needs that just cannot be fulfilled with money.