Once I loved “Ratatouille.” I loved copying Remy by inventing recipes based on taste and smells and experimenting with food. Then I became a caretaker for my disabled father and my brother is acting like Chef Skinner: a micromanaging dictator who criticizes my unorthodox cooking when it comes to caring for dad. I feel like there’s no joy in cooking anymore since I have to follow recipes by the book to a T. And I’ve lost my love for the movie as well.

It wasn’t until Frozen that I finally felt a connection to a Disney character, and thanks to Frozen I found two that I feel a deep, personal connection to and I’m eternally grateful that Anna and Elsa exist. They’re not only part of the reason I’m able to cope with my anxiety and depression, but inspire me to want to become a better person for myself. I broke down into tears upon meeting them at Disneyland and kick myself for being too emotional to express my gratitude towards them both.


The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea (2000

I used to babysit a lot and I suffer from anxiety and depression. The kids tended to pick up on it sometimes and would ask me what’s wrong. I used the movie inside out to explain that sadness and fear are ‘in control my of my brain right now and that joy ‘isn’t working.’ They seem to understand better than if I told them I was just sad all the time. And I hope the movie helps them understand their own emotions, too.

TRIGGER WARNING-SEXUAL ABUSE: When I was eight years old and in the second grade I had this friend who would sexually abuse me in her bedroom. I developed Haphephobia, which is a fear of being touched. I also have autism and anxiety issues, which makes it worse. The only reason I ended up getting the courage to fight back using my Little Mermaid flashlight was because of Scar, Simba’s evil uncle.

Chad and Taylor from High School Musical was one of my first OTPs. Seeing a cute young black couple where for once the girl was darker skinned and not lighter than the guy is still so significant to me.

My favorite memory from high school was doing tech work for Beauty and the Beast. My friend was Gaston and he and Belle actually fell in love during production. It was so much fun to see them trying not to laugh every time they rehearsed the song “Me.”

“Speechless” is my motivational song. For a long time, I’ve been battling with anxiety, and the song sounds like a direct message to my inner demons, telling them directly that I won’t let them win. I’ve allowed it to rule my life before, but like the song says, now the story is ending.

I know there’s controversy around Anna and Elsa being revealed to be half-Northuldran, but as a white-passing girl whose extended ancestry includes European and native American, it means a lot to see someone with heritage like mine reflected in Anna and Elsa. I relate to the two characters even more now.

Into The Unknown is such a powerful song for me. It’s like that escape into your deepest wonders, your true emotions that have repressed for the sake of others. I grew up with an abusive father and every time I go to his house I feel trapped. But this song made me feel that joy and emotion when I was alone and didn’t have to play by his rules – like I could jump out the window into the great beyond. That part with the spirit and Elsa vocalizing still makes me cry. So profound, yet so relatable.