Sunday, September 19, 2010

I See... Disney Moments

Beautiful princesses dancing majestically with grotesque beasts; manly high school basketball stars inspiring the masses with moving vocal performances in the high school play; plain girls laboring in filthy cinders transformed into a Prince's true love at the ball; these are the Disney dramas that comfort us. They usually involve an unlikely hero conquering seemingly insurmountable odds to achieve a life that is lived happily ever after.

In the Disney universe, all the elements come together perfectly to form magical moments as often as one can press the rewind button on the remote. In the real world, however, they rarely occur; you have to look hard to find them. I saw one about this same time last year.

There was a young teenage girl- to protect her future we'll call her Mabel. Outwardly, Mabel appeared to be your typical Laurel class member. Those who knew her, however, knew that she was, well, let's just say, different. She didn't fit in in almost every possible way an LDS teen queen could or should fit in; she said the wrong things at the wrong time, and didn't always care very much for the things that LDS culture demanded that a young woman her age should care about. Her Asperger's Syndrome took her social awkwardness to astronomical levels.

It was understandable, then, after successive rounds of church dances spent only occupying space in the gym and doing nothing else, she stopped showing up. Asperger's Syndrome, however, also blessed her with the gift of concentration and attention to detail uncharacteristic of other young women her age. Driven by healthy, ordinary desires to be accepted by her peers, she spent amazing amounts of time sequestered in her room, focused solely on learning every kick, twirl, and step of the collection of dance moves that accompany Michael Jackson's classic “Thriller” music video.

And then it happened. The Disney moment. It was a Saturday night youth church dance like many other dances before and after it, except that Mabel was in the house after an extended absence. Everyone was either accidentally or intentionally avoiding engagement with her, when, about halfway through the evening, the famous introductory beats of “Thriller” pulsated through the music system speakers, and crowds of youth anxiously congregated in the middle of the gym, excited to begin their wild synchronized gyrations. Mabel walked automatically to the very middle of the floor, and what happened next usually only happens in Disney movies. In an amazing display of social courage, alone in the midst of a mass of youth that traditionally shunned her, she proceeded to dance every single move in the Thriller video with perfect exactness. She was a Michael Jackson dancing zombie machine.

It didn't take long for the rest of the youth to notice her remarkable talent. Soon the dancing crowd had naturally carved a clearing in the middle of the floor and made her the center of attention for the next few minutes. By the end of the long song, after she had finished showcasing her amazing dancing prowess, they spontaneously mobbed her, immersing her in immense doses of praise, applause, and encouraging words she could only dream about during the solitary months of practice in her room. For that moment, that Disney moment, she was the hero of the dance.

I encourage all Mormon Third Eye readers to look for the Disney moments that may pop up unexpectedly in their field of life-vision. They can be hard to find but extremely satisfying.


  1. This story is awesome! It brought a huge smile to my face!

  2. I will start looking for my own Disney Moments...LOVE that story!!

  3. I've witnessed that particular moment, nicely put, Richard. I, too, will start paying more attention and look for more of those moments!