These days, I don't watch many Disney movies (I still get an earful from my coworkers when they remember I haven't seen Frozen) but when I was younger, I had to watch one of the many Disney VHS tapes we had in the household before I went to bed.
We had The Sword in the Stone, Beauty and The Beast, Pocahontas (one of the favorites), The Lion King, and Alice in Wonderland but the one I would watch over and over again was Aladdin.
In retrospect, I'm not even sure if I liked the entirety of that movie. I think I was only into the first, maybe, 20 minutes of the movie. I'm not sure if I identified with the character but I definitely that he was the coolest. I liked him better than The Beast and Prince Charming. He felt real to me.
Aladdin is essentially a homeless criminal that gets through his life stealing bread and hanging out with a tiny monkey. He's constantly told that he's a "street rat" but he keeps a level head and hopes for a better future. No one really believes in him as a human being.
As a tiny child and a pre-teen and then eventually teenager and young adult. I've felt this way most of my life. Sure, I still had my parents and I wasn't living on the streets and I could afford to wear a real shirt and a pair of shoes every day but I never really got the positive reinforcement I needed.
All I had was a group of people telling me that I wouldn't amount to anything. That I was worthless.
Okay, so maybe they didn't say it exactly like that. But it was obvious that that's what people thought about me. There were times when I would believe them and give in to negativity. But I never stayed there.
Maybe, I see a little bit of myself when I think of Aladdin. And I'm not seeing the level success that he eventually does -- I'm no prince -- but I do feel a little more successful than I did last year. And there are some people, who still think of me this way. Like I'm still a street rat.
But, I don't buy that. That's not all I am. And Aladdin -- strangely enough -- reminds me of that.