Wish: A Wish for My Daughter

Dear Ezra,

My wish came true.

What we’ve found out about you is that you have a Power. You’re a Highly Sensitive Person. What that means is that you feel things more deeply than other people do. Every kid has feelings but yours take up all of your heart.

The good news is that you have a brilliant, big heart, and you use it to help others. I’ve already seen your capacity for good. I see it every day. There was a get-together where one kid felt left out and was having outbursts and an internal emotional upheaval, such intense emotions caused by the stimulus around him, and not feeling like he was being included. You had never met this boy but you stopped and made sure that he was alright and offered your playtime to play with him. You gave him this entry back into the moment, a kind of emotional permission to engage with play again, and you did it without any obligation to do so, or without any expectation that this would be accepted or that you would get anything out of it.

That is your Power. That is the gift of being a Highly Sensitive Person in a world that is often cold and does not always provide people with the comfort and care that they deserve. You are a bright ray of comfort and care, who makes every situation you are in brighter.

The other great news is that this identification, as a Highly Sensitive Person, means that you will feel the big, great, and happy moments in life bigger than others do. You will also feel the bad, hard, and cold moments in a bigger way. Because of who you are, I believe you will always find the brightness and willingness to get through to the next great moment. For us, all of the moments with you are the big, great, and happy moments because you are in them.

When we watch Disney films with our daughters, they have a lot of aspirational ideas about how young women, in particular, can interact with the world. They can overcome social systems, upend the hierarchies of their families, or social orders, and can discover through some internal gift, what their purpose is in these systems, families, and social orders.

Asha, the lead character of Wish, reminds me of you. She has something the other kids don’t have. It’s a Power, sure, but it stems from her emotional intelligence and her ambition to help others. What makes Asha different is the size of her heart. In a world where everyone wishes for their own lives to get better, Asha wishes to help them get better, too. She does so with a little Disney magic, so the practical applications to our lives feel a little abstract, but if we look at the motivations of the character and who she is, that she fits the kind of person you are.

What Wish tells us is that we must dream and keep our dreams. It certainly reminds us that there are barriers. There are people set in place, like the king in the movie, who are there to block us from having dreams. To prevent us from creating from our hearts and even knowing what it was we ever wished for in the first place.

What the movie tells us, which is so incredible for a movie coming from within one of the world’s largest corporate entities, is that we must create and take our power back from the larger systems that control and disseminate that power. The movie is strictly pro-creator, pro-unions, and anti-corporation ā€” if we do a thematic reading of what it is telling us, it’s that what the individual makes is essential and that through the virtue of their resilience and the size of their heart, it’s up to them to take the power back. Art and love are available to us and the fight to preserve it, as a practice and unalienable right, is worth every fight with those who seek to control the messaging and prevent art and love from being freely expressed back to the society it is born from.

What we can take away from Wish is hope for the future. The filmmakers are, in a very literal sense, making a Wish for the future of their field. As this movie rings in one hundred years of Disney history, we’ve moved far afield from the Disney Princesses and messages of the last century. We are even moving beyond the recent messaging of the movies: that we just need to be bright and our peculiar strengths will be enough to salvage something meaningful in this world. What Wish tells us is that isn’t enough, it reminds us that there will be challenges. The very system that produces the art must be challenged by the art, just as the empathetic person living in an uncaring system must challenge that system and find light in the darkness.

For my beloved daughter, I see those challenges outlined in fine ink. I see the emotional turbulence ahead. I see how hard you fight. Fight for your feelings. Fight for your art. Know that you are always worth it and that by trying and engaging in the tough battles ahead, you are already my hero.

My wish came true long ago. My wish is you.

Love,

Dad

7/10

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