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  • Writer's pictureShannon Heibler

Tangled (2010)

It is so rude that this movie is 13 years old.

This is going to be a tough one to write about. For good and difficult reasons. I've promised myself I'd keep this blog truthful to my experiences and my reactions to these movies but I definitely skirt certain issues because, hey, I see where my blog is most popular, which makes it pretty clear who is reading it (over and over, late at night), and frankly, I don't want any part of this project - which is serving me and me alone - to be interpreted as an invitation for those people to be back in my life. I want to be able to talk about these Big Things without worrying that I'm going to get, essentially, Letters to the Editor. And this movie makes me have big feelings about my mother.

But before I get into that, the more important feeling this movie makes me have in a BIG way is JOY. My heart felt so open watching this tonight. I relate to Rapunzel pretty seriously: lots of hair, very much at war with myself, maybe perhaps too many hobbies, feeling unworthy of a lot of what life has to offer. And the first couple times I watched this, I laughed uncomfortably during the "BEST DAY EVER/I'm a terrible daughter" sequence because, whew. It's a little on the nose. But tonight, by the time she got to the Snuggly Duckling, I was overwhelmed with joy. I've been feeling so relieved and unencumbered since being offered my new job and giving notice with my old one. Financially and emotionally. Emotionally, I've spent so much of my life surrounded by negative humans. People just entrenched in misery and it was way too easy for me to join in. Misery is catching and it took me just about 35 years to realize that. And the better part of the last three years to extract myself from it. I'm obsessed with delight right now. Chasing the high of seeing the world and being enamored with whatever catches my eye. If I don't like something? Call it out if it's harmful, ignore it if it's just not my cup of tea. I've started gravitating towards people - in person and in the ether - whose whole schtick is being enthusiastic about whatever. A specific thing, a genre, a hobby, I don't care. Show me your joy. From the minute that those little girls in the plaza realize they get to braid Rapunzel's hair, I started crying (happy tears mostly) and I didn't stop crying until the credits rolled.

And while previous viewings had me thinking this movie was about personal agency and autonomy, I now realize that it's about abandoning fear and being brave enough to enjoy life. The movie does such a beautiful job of showing us why each and every character has, very reasonably, let fear guide them away from their dreams. I'd always been a little meh on Flynn but I was really moved tonight by his memories of telling stories to the little kids at the orphanage. When Rapunzel asks if his hero was a thief too, he explains that thieving seemed like the simplest way to escape having nothing. His hero had the luxury of being so rich he could do whatever he wanted and... Wow. For the last couple of years, I've brought up, many times, to my therapist that I'm scared that I don't know how to dream. "I don't have dreams for myself. I don't have goals. Nothing lofty or out there, all I can think about is surviving." I never really equated that with my financial situation. And tonight, for the first time, I really understood Flynn. I've been so busy surviving, I didn't know how to dream. And the greatest joy I'm experiencing these days is the hope that I can do that again now. Not just because my new job pays better. But because I didn't get even a whiff of misery in that office. I'm sure there will be hard days but I cannot wait to be surrounded by people who know how to dream.


And then there's Mother Gothel. It's terrible that she keeps Rapunzel in a tower and stole her from her real family. Obviously. But from where I'm sitting, her greatest sin is teaching Rapunzel that the world is something to be afraid of. That Rapunzel is a dupe and a fool for trusting in the best in people. That Rapunzel is a burden for wanting more. That Rapunzel only serves the purpose of improving Gothel's appearance to the outside world. I think I've said enough there.

When I stepped away from this one a month ago (!?) because Life, I was overwhelmed with anxiety about sharing more of my feelings on the matter. Now, here, at this moment, all I can think is "what does it matter?" Not in a nihilistic way but in a "I've tried so many times before to be heard and it's gone nowhere and I've only felt worse. What does airing specific grievances on a blog do? Dick all, that's what," way. I'm choosing to move forward with the pure joy I feel throughout most of this movie. You can't always choose to be happy (thanks depression!), but you can choose to surround yourself with things that make your heart ache with delight.

Cut paper and ink.


-GolLY I finished these so long ago I barely remember. I'm honestly shocked that I hadn't done a tarot art previously. I don't want to overstate tarot's importance in my life but I pull at least one card every day, first thing in the morning. I turn to tarot when I'm feeling lost. I don't believe in any sort of divination but I think it's a terrific mirror for our lives. We naturally react to things (images, archetypes) we know to be true subconsciously so it always feels like a nice kick in the pants to acknowledge that which I already know.

-Queen of Wands is my favorite card, closely followed by The Fool. Tarot is, essentially, the story of The Fool's journey. Starting as a blank slate experiencing the world for the first time or at least in a whole new way, there's something inviting about the card. It speaks to me of openness and a willingness to embrace the unknown. The visual language of the card is a little more foreboding (The Fool is so busy looking up at the sky, they fail to recognize they are on the edge of a cliff) but it's still hopeful. There's danger but not fear. That's a line I've never been great at walking, so this card feels optimistic to me. It was Not Very Difficult to transpose Rapunzel into the Rider-Waite imagery.

-The card that has always stymied me is The Star. It speaks of intuition and following your dreams and that dovetails so beautifully into the painting Rapunzel makes at the top of the movie that it was my first and only thought, initially, for Tangled Tarot. As I mentioned earlier, I have struggled with dreaming for a long time. Whenever The Star (Judy Garland in A Star is Born in my Go To daily tarot deck) comes up for me, my reaction is pleasant confusion. "That's nice but what's the dream I'm meant to be following??" It's a card that, for me, asks for bravery enough to even have a dream. It's something I'm working on and I'm honestly excited for it.

-I drew out a plan for The Sun, also, but again, Life. I have a lot of ideas for this and someday when I have Time and Life stops getting in the way, I might make the whole major arcana.

-I continue to enjoy cut paper illustration but hoowee this was a little tiny. Even for me. If I do more of the arcana, I might have to scale up.

Next "week" (really, the next half hour as I write the blog...), Human Nature. Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry's least known collaboration (honestly, I get it) but a charming little piece.

I hope Life is treating you kindly. I hope you get out of whatever metaphorical tower you're stuck in. I hope you're brave enough to dream boldly.

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