This blog post is going to be a bit more personal. It is no secret that I struggled with my new career choice. I've explained in past blog posts how it took awhile to proclaim my status as an Artist. Everyday I am in a constant internal struggle with my brain and heart. I have to convince myself that this ambiguous path ahead of me is worth it and what I really want. I've been so ingrained in certain expectations of adulthood and the sacrifices that come with it. This is where the movie the Little Prince comes in.
I've had this movie in my Netflix queue for awhile now. I finally opened it up and started to watch the movie. In past blog posts, I've talked about my admiration for Antoine de Saint-Exupery's beautiful book with its illustrations. The movie version didn't disappoint. The movie is like a story within a story where the main characters live parallel lives to those of Saint-Exupery's tale. It first presents this rigid society where everyone is expected to adhere to certain rules and be "essential". Communities are mapped out in perfect right angles and everyone has a claim to their own square box of land. Houses are all shades of gray and white. The population runs like a finely tuned marching band. In perfect synchronicity, adults proceed with their jobs and lives. Children are expected to mirror the strict routines of their parents to ultimately succeed in their society, thus continuing the circle of life. This is where I felt that I could relate.
As mentioned in past posts, I've grown up with a rigid belief that you have to sacrifice a lot of your desires to become a successful adult. Life was scheduled into stages and I had to follow these in sequential order. In my case the ultimate goal was to become a successful businesswoman who somehow maintained a lifestyle in Manhattan and eventually got married with kids. In this world there were "rules" on how to behave and dress, pretty much pigeonholing my individuality. Of course as a C.P.A. the stereotype of a nerdy individual who is constantly sitting at a desk and crunching numbers had come from aspects of real life. The first few years of full time work as an accountant, I drank the cool-aid. I thought that it made sense to work crazy hours and be constantly stressed. I thought, eventually I will get to the point where I could call my own shots. Alas, I realized that world was not for me. The world I was living in felt like that gray society in the film. I constantly got up in the morning, got ready for work, did what was expected and came home feeling unfulfilled and dejected. I thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing and that it was normal to feel this way. I was living in a world of facades rather than something genuine.
Back to the movie...It introduces the weird old man in the quirky house next door. His house is a stark contrast to the grays and whites in its neighborhood consisting of an array of colors. This man is the Aviator and he lives by nobody's rules. He is constantly chasing his dreams and holding on to his childlike sense of wonderment. He literally has a beat up airplane in his backyard that he's been trying to repair and ultimately fly again. This old man introduces the main character, the little girl, how to embrace the colors of life. He tells her the story of the Little Prince and how he left his home asteroid to discover life and ultimately himself. The Little Prince is constantly questioning the rationale behind the behaviors of adult characters. One character simply wanted attention and applause for being the best albeit he was the only person on his planet. Another wanted to count all the stars to then further buy more stars to count. Simply put it by Saint-Exupery, "No one is ever satisfied where he is....Only the children know what they’re looking for".
The little girl character has been molded her entire life to adhere to this rigid society. Her mother is a prime example of someone who buys into these ideals and wants it for her own child. Following these respective steps would then lead them to success, whatever that was. Like the little girl, I felt the same pressures to assimilate to these societal expectations. I was pushed into the straight and narrow path. Naturally I am a very curious person, but curiosity wasn't essential as an Accountant. Eventually I found my own Aviator per se. After a lot of self reflection I decided to embrace what made me happy. I've tried to see the world through a child's eyes and remember fondly the times I was allowed to be creative and experience things at my own pace.
Being an Artist is maddening and exhilarating at the same time. My brain is constantly working to express myself more and create something that evokes feelings and my individuality. I have periods of time where I feel pressured to produce but nothing comes out. The film literally had a big bad boss character who took all the stars in the sky and kept them in a large snow globe like container. He mentions how looking at the stars made lazy men become idle. In his world, looking around you and beyond is not productive but I disagree. As an Artist I sit and think. I walk and think. I look around and wonder. The symbolism of containing these stars really hit me. Most of my life, I was restraining myself. I didn't let myself pursue what I loved to do. Once the little girl in the movie cracks the container and lets the stars out, you see the immediate effect on the gray and gloomy population. They stand and admire the stars instead of going through their monotonous routine. The world and even the universe has been expanded and it reawakens their curiosity and wonderment.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that it gave me hope for my future. I ended up going through some boxes of old photos and greeting cards. Seeing the look of joy on my face within these pictures and reading the words of my treasured friends inspired me. It inspired me to try to see things as if it was the first time. It also taught me to embrace my past and learn from it, the good bad and the ugly. The animation of the film was a beautiful thing even though I focused mainly on the symbolism of the movie. I would definitely recommend giving the Little Prince movie a looksy and hopefully you would be as moved as I am.