Let’s Talk About: Luisa

To avoid confusion, this is Luisa:

Luisa hugging Mirabel

I avoided talking about Encanto on my blog thus far because this is not a movie review blog. But “slice of life” goes only so far.

In my opinion, Encanto is one of the most relatable movies that has ever been made. Hard not to relate to film where the central theme is generational trauma. That’s a heavy topic! I have never been able to see something of myself in so many characters in one film.

Luisa is my absolute most favorite. Prior to seeing the film, I expected Isabela to be my favorite because she’s all about flowers, which are the most gorgeous things in the world to me. But she was a jerk until roughly the last twenty minutes of the film, and I don’t like mean characters. Stoic, standoffish, “mean but they really care”, sure. But not purely mean, and while we get the reason for it, it doesn’t really explain her behavior. But I’ll talk more about Isabela in another post.

A glance at my left sidebar will reveal the video of Surface Pressure to your eyesight. This is Luisa’s signature song, where she musically explains the tremendous pressure she feels and weight she carries. Since this is Disney we’re talking about, the visuals are dazzlingly magnificent – nothing less expected from Disney – but the only song that has ever hit me the way Surface Pressure does is Show Yourself from Frozen 2. It took four re-watches before I stopped crying to that.

For me, the most hard-hitting line in this song is:

“I’m pretty sure I’m worthless if I can’t be of service!”

I… just… I… damn! I was not prepared for that when I first watched Encanto. Holy cow! Did Disney really sum up my entire existence in one line? Did… did they really do that?
But if it stopped there, I wouldn’t have more to say. The best way I can sum it up is this: Who gave Disney permission to put my life in a song? Who did it?!

“Who am I if I can’t carry it all?”

“I hide my nerves and it worsens, I worry something is gonna hurt us”

“I think about my purpose, can I somehow preserve this?”

“Line up the dominoes, a light wind blows, you try to stop it toppling, but on and on it goes”

“Give it to your sister, it doesn’t hurt and see if she handle every family burden”

“Who am I if I don’t have what it takes? No cracks, no breaks… no mistakes… No pressure!

Alright, Disney, you can stop now! I’ve had physical pain that hurt less! I do not attend films with the expectation of being crushed by feelings!

Some of the lyrics in the Spanish version are more heartbreaking.

“Something troubles me and it’s getting worse, I must save everyone”

“The picture of me I display shatters in a moment”

“Can I ever get rid of this cruel weight?”

“She will hold all our foundations”

“See if she can hold even our grief”

“What if I fall down and can’t be the one I must be? Without pressure, without weight?”

I said that’s enough, Disney! Goddamn! Therapy is not as hard hitting! I did not ask for my trauma to be personified on the big screen, let alone in an upbeat, seemingly innocuous song in a family film.

Show Yourself hits me hard because it’s a powerfully uplifting ballad about self-love, whereas Surface Pressure crushes me for tearing apart just about every facet of my being and putting it into words. Disney really decided, “You face your demons today.” They could’ve asked permission at the very least.

Outside of Surface Pressure, Luisa continues to be an overall precious character. I love how Disney portrayed her. She’s big and she’s proud of her strength, but she’s not dumb – a common stereotype of strong characters in media – she’s not ugly, she’s loving, and she’s emotional. It’s kind of glossed over, but the movie shows the problem is not Luisa’s supernatural strength, but how it’s taken advantage. That is definitely an important distinction to make. Nothing is wrong with Luisa, and her gift is not the problem. What’s wrong is how she’s treated.

I hated being the older sibling, but I would kill for a big sister like Luisa. The scenes where she gets hysterical are supposed to be funny, but they only make me sad for her. She is that precious. There is a part of the fandom that imagines Luisa as shy and non-assertive, and I love that idea!

Encanto is intended to become a series, similar to how Frozen became its own franchise, and whatever happens, I really hope Luisa doesn’t turn into a caricature of her muscles. Disney really has good characterization for her in the movie. I pray they keep it. Let her have character development (like learning to assert herself when necessary), but keep her the same at heart.

Resentment

Today is one of those days where I am sad and feel like doing little more than crying. I have no idea why. It’s what my brain is doing right now.

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What I Can’t Say

There are words and feelings I have constantly, constantly struggled to verbalize to my boyfriend. Mostly because I do not think he understands. So, I’m laying them out here. I don’t expect this to be read. I had a nightmare every night over the last three or four nights, presumably from stress. This is an attempt to lighten my mind.

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I Am A Terrible Friend

Friends are supposed to be happy for each other, not jealous for what the other has.

I am always happy for my friends when good things happen to them. But I can’t lie. I’m jealous of them too.

My friends, who have wonderful spouses who stick by them, who make them part of their family (married or not), who keep their spirits high, who smile for them.

And I will never have that.

Once upon a time, we had “too much history”. Now, the reaction to anything is to break up. While I blame myself for being naive, I couldn’t have imagined every supposedly loving thing he ever said was a lie.

I made the mistake of mentioning I was invited to an NYE party and wanted to go. The party was never a certain thing, and it ultimately seems it’s not happening, so I’m not going. But the mere possibility had me banned from his home for an unspecified amount of time because – as he always says – he and they “aren’t taking any chances”.

Despite he took a chance when we went to an airBNB in April, and he smoked with the hosts.

Despite I went to the beach twice and attended a neighborhood fireworks party for July 4th.

Despite I stayed four days a week ago.

Despite I’ve been exposed all year due to my job, though he believes my job requiring masks negates the numerous (over a thousand) employees kept in the building at any given time… and that multiple locations, mine included, have had multiple outbreaks. My job is also not clean and I touch countless filthy surfaces and items. And there was a four hundred employee outbreak I was never aware of.

But masks mean that outbreak, and me having no idea who or what I’ve been exposed to, doesn’t terrify him (despite it still happened?).

It’s extremely interesting to me I care only about myself in his eyes after I spent money to travel to be with him, and for food, and for a few gifts (one of which was expensive). I wouldn’t have done that if I could’ve foreseen this.

I vented to a friend, who agreed about the party, but disagreed the freaking out was justified.

I tested negative twice, I never intended to visit him if the party happened anyway (something I had to yell multiple times, and he still didn’t hear until I spelled it out for him), and I planned to get tested after the party if I went. Although, he’s made it clear a negative test means nothing to him. My being is still to be feared.

Unless I’m spending money on him, it seems.

His only response is “everyone is struggling”. This seems to be the equivalent of “crabs in a bucket”. He and everyone he knows is miserable, so no one is else is supposed to try to do anything to stave off depression?

Ironically, this is the person who tries to convince me I shouldn’t take my life and it’s worth living. Seems he finally shut up about that.

He also once complained I make him out to be “the bad guy” to my friends when I vent to them. Interestingly, my friends have never ostracized him like he had his family do to me for something that hasn’t happened. Oh, and one of his siblings stole money from me.

I thought he came to the hospital after the bus collision because I was wrong about him not caring. No, he came only because the hospital mandates masks.

I’m now, in his eyes, the same as his worst ex.

His worst ex assaulted him, and caused him a nervous breakdown that resulted in him staying in a mental ward.

I wonder if I was the same as his worst ex when I came for Thanksgiving after testing negative twice.

Note the date: December 23rd. A week ago. How quickly things change.

But maybe the following image is less surprising. Things can change in years.

Text messages I kept in an email draft to remember. The headline of one is “he loves me”.

I think this year took the love with it.

To my friends, though they don’t read my blog, I do apologize for my feelings of envy. I wish them nothing but long and happy lives with their spouses. They absolutely deserve their spouses, and their spouses, for being the amazing partners they are, deserve them.

Please never stop caring for each other. I am always happy for you.

As your friend, always.

Pessimism Or Realism?

There will be no “happy new year” post for 2021.

I looked back at my New Year’s Day post for 2020. Even then, I considered hoping for a good year was too much to ask for, but I had no idea just how right I would be.

I read back on my post from seven years ago where I express being happy overall I didn’t take my life. How naive of me. Absolutely everything I listed at that time became meaningless over the years. I claimed to be much better. If only I could’ve foreseen I would be so much worse.

I admire those who can continue hoping when they’re repeatedly let down, but I can’t. The only time I haven’t been let down is when I stop hoping and expect the worst. I can’t name a time I was optimistic and didn’t have it crushed. I truly can’t.

So many people would call it a “negative” point of view, but is being realistic really negative? Is it really negative to recognize when hope continually falls flat and the near future really is grim? Does absolutely everything really have a silver lining? Or do some things really suck and there is nothing more than to it than things are simply that awful?

I vote for the latter.

I mentioned in two previous posts I no longer want to be in this world. Sadly, I recently learned the method I chose for that exit has a high survival rate. So, I must either remain stuck or find access to something with a higher success rate.

Even in hoping for death, my hopes are dashed.

I truly believed 2020 could be an okay year at the very least. I don’t believe 2021 can be less than horrible. The only thing that will make it good is if it I don’t live to see it through. Tragically, unless I access a more guaranteed method to leave, it seems I will.

The only reason I have to remain alive is… to watch my DuoLingo streak grow. That isn’t really worth it.

It really isn’t.