Part of Your World
[How Ariel from the Little Mermaid Stayed With Me]
By: Karlton A. Armistad.
1. ‘I Wanna Go Where the People Go’
Let me kick this off by saying I will never be like any other Creator. I prefer my work/ideas to be raw; not ‘Grammarly’ polished or over-influenced by others. I don’t want to spark a revolution or pander to the masses. I just want to share my take on the world, and hear the world’s take on what I have to say, honestly openly with no pretty pink bows on top.
That being said, as a small boy growing up on an island, which I always felt was too small for me, reading fairy-tales and dreaming of my very own ‘happily ever-after’ was ridiculously influenced by one Animator; the man known to all as Walt Disney.
From Sleeping Beauty to Cinderella, this creator/animator had me hooked and each year or so when a new Disney film came out, as an eighties kid, I was in paradise to see how Disney would amaze me, inspire me and show me another happy ending I could dream of while growing up. In 1989 Walt Disney Studios gave me ‘The Little Mermaid’ and stole my Heart forever.
Based on the 1837 Danish fairy tale written by beloved author Hans Christen Anderson, the story is set around a young mermaid named Ariel, the last of King Trident’s (ruler of the Oceans) daughters.
Even though she is a princess; has her pick of eligible and suitable mer-men, Ariel is fascinated by life above the sea.
How humans walk, talk, move and the many things they create so that their lives function the way they need it to. After a per-chance encounter observing a ship, she sees a young Prince Eric, and instantly falls in love, and from then all she dreams of is being a part of that world.
In 2007, I was blessed with my own version of Ariel, in the form of my 5lbs 10 ounces of beautiful joy called Tayja. She was born after 9 or 10 hours of labour by her Mommy and a lot of Daddy fainting and then recovering and realising she still didn’t want to leave the comforts of Mommy’s safe womb.
I talked to her until she gave in and just charged her way into the world. For a long time, having kids was nowhere near my life goals. I was glamorous, hardworking and a magnet for all kinds of stupid pretty people. But as I held my bundle of joy in my arms that day, everything shifted and like Ariel wanted, I wouldn’t be that Dad that constantly reprimanded my daughter, but I would make sure I was there for her to teach her everything she wanted to know, and read her bed time stories like the Little Mermaid, Cinderella & Sleeping Beauty, but Ariel especially, as for Me she was the ultimate Princess at the time.
Tayja loved the story of the Little Mermaid so much, it was part of a special routine that I used to ground her into feeling she could be anything she wanted to be and do anything she wanted to do, even marry her fairy tale prince is she chose to.
I also had to use to teach her about ‘negative influences’ and the people that push them. And in walks one of the greatest Disney villains; big, bold and beautiful but bolted through from Head to tentacles with pure evil, Ursula.
2. “Those Poor Unfortunate Souls”
King Trident after losing his wife and having to raise 5 young mer-women on his own and rule the Oceans, did his best to protect his girls and subjects from the likes of the Sea Witch Ursula, but like his beautiful Ariel, mer-folk dreamed of the impossible at times, as we all do and Ursula had that distinctive nose for sniffing out other’s desires so she capitalised on this. So as the age-old story of ‘be careful what you wish for’, Ursula captured many a soul who she would lure in with the promise of forever-happiness, but trick them with the fine print of her dubious contracts.
‘Poor unfortunate Souls’ she called them and Ariel became one of them. Ariel gave up her beautiful melodic voice to join her prince charming on land and make him fall in love with her; Ursula knew this was her chance to trap King Trident and make him make the ultimate sacrifice to save his daughter – give over the Oceans as its ruler so no harm would come to Ariel.
It’s funny how when faced with making sure your child is safe, as parents we would move heaven and earth, to ensure they are allowed to live a free and prosperous life, and like King Trident, I am always there for Tayja whether she likes it or not. I can see her train of thought when it comes to some of her life choices and I listen, instead of raging so she understand when she has to be disciplined…why that is the only option I am left with. To this day, I am her Hero and I dread the day that comes when I can’t be.
3. “You Gotta Kiss Di Girl”
Now I could not in good faith do a piece on the Little Mermaid and not mention Sebastian, the loveable older Caribbean crab trusted by King Trident to keep a watchful eye over young Ariel. Whilst he does not do a perfect job at this, he tries to balance helping a young girl fulfil her dreams and following the orders of his king. This give me and other people who love the story, including my little princess Tayja a chance to fall in love with a crazy but very talented sea animal.
‘Unda di Sea’ still has me & Tayja dancing to this day, and when he almost gets served up as food by the crazy French Chef Louis, I laughed for days at how poor Sebastian almost became ‘Less Poisson’.
Sebastian even plays a key role in bring Eric and Ariel together whilst they ventured on a romantic boat-ride through the kingdom’s lagoon. Using the creatures that inhabit the area, he brings the mystical magic of the lagoon to life with mood music and vocals and warms the young loves’ hearts making Prince Eric want to ‘Kiss di Girl’ as Sebastian so eloquently puts it.
When Ursula realises she could lose, she up her game, shows up on land, casts a spell over Eric using Ariel’s voice pretending to be the One that rescued Eric when his ship capsized, and saved his life. The final battle takes place and sees a sea-fight between Ursula, Erica & Ariel where good conquers evil, Ursula is vanquished and all the parties who’s lives she ruined are freed including Ariel’s beloved Dad King Trident.
4. “Happily Ever-After”
I will always be on the side of a ‘happy ending’, as life is filled with enough negativity, everyone deserves that one moment where the future looks perfect, as to whether it stays that is another story.
Walt Disney and Disney animation will forever be loved as ‘movie magic’, that place where even if there pain and suffering around for those moments while watching a film like the Little Mermaid, it leaves a trail of hope that at some point there will be happiness.
About the Creator
Carlton A. Armistad is the pseudonym for Andrew R. Little. I prefer writing under this as it allows me to look at any body of work I complete separate to my personal day-to-existence, and safeguards my relationships and family.