The Desire To Be Free

While compiling songs for my next princess karaoke medley, it occurred to me that an overwhelming amount of princess songs are about freedom. It's no secret that freedom is a common theme among fairy tales and princess-like characters, but the concept goes much deeper than that. What's particularly interesting about it is the fact that it applies just as much to characters who were born princesses as it does to the ones who found their freedom by becoming princesses. The desire to be free is such a universal concept that it transcends status, power, or race. Everyone can feel as though they are trapped at some point in their life.


The beautiful song written for Princess Jasmine in the retired Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular show was entitled "To Be Free" (which got replaced by "These Palace Walls" in the inferior Broadway production)  The song's opening line, "Lucky bird inside a gilded cage," is recited with perfect irony because telling someone they are fortunate to live in a beautiful prison is to judge a person by superficial means without trying to get to know who they truly are as a human being. This is what makes the princess archetype so easy to relate to. Whether you are trapped in a life of servitude like Cinderella or a lavish yet lonely prison like Jasmine, everyone will reach a point where they are not satisfied with something in their life and want to find a way to get out and change it.

It's no coincidence that princesses are always in their late teens, the age when children become adults, move out of their parents' house, go to college, get jobs, and fall in love. That's a big reason I can't stand the argument that princesses are only for kids. Though it may become less common to relate to them when we get closer to middle age, I would argue that teenagers and young adults share even more common ground with princesses than children do. I don't know where I would have been if I didn't have my favorite princesses to guide me through my college years when I discovered my own personal freedom and moved away from my overprotective family. for the first time. It felt like I was Ariel breaking through the ocean's surface and discovering a brand new culture that I had heard about in passing but never had an opportunity to experience for myself.

Moving out or getting married are not the only times in our lives that we can find freedom, though. Many people find themselves feeling trapped later in life for other reasons, whether they are stuck in a dead-end job or a loveless marriage. If we allow them to, princesses can continue to inspire us that things can always get better if we stay true to ourselves and are willing to fight for what we believe in. As long as there is something in our lives holding us back from our full potential, we are all Rapunzel, with a part of our souls locked away in a dark tower until the day we find a way out, even if we may need to ask for help along the way. The best way to do this is by continuing to search for the things that make us feel the most fulfilled in our lives, whether it's the love of a family, the innovation of a hobby, or the drive of a career goal. Never settle for anything that makes you feel like less than the princess or prince you are.

Being a princess does not mean getting everything you want, even though it may appear that way to a casual observer. It means knowing that you are worth more than your appearance or place in life. As Moana sings at the end of her movie, "They have stolen the heart from inside you, but this does not define you." Whether you live in a hovel or a palace, you always have a right to make your voice heard and look for a way out of whatever circumstances make you feel as though you are stuck in a rut. The final line of the miniseries The Tenth Kingdom is "When you live every day with all your heart, then you can be happy ever after, even if it's only for short time." Every happy experience must sadly come to an end, giving us an opportunity to continue searching for another happily ever after. It may seem exhausting, but it's the only way to prevent the tower from closing in around us.


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