Crystal balls of memories. Color-coded emotions. Internal battles. Mechanical difficulties.
Inside Out, Disney-Pixar's new movie that premiered in June 2015, gives us a parade of insight and a chance to contemplate the interworking of our brains. Psychologists have chimed in on what they deem accurate and incorrect, but most reviews have overlooked the enlightened feminist lesson:
Accept whatever you're feeling.
There is a moment in the movie when Bing Bong, imaginary friend of protagonist Riley, is crying while lost in Riley's mind, worried of being forgotten. Joy, desperate to return to headquarters to make Riley happy, brushes off Bing Bong's feelings and covers his tears with her positive quips and motivation to move forward.
We tend to do this with joy. We believe that if we are sad, it's necessary to return to a state of joy as soon as possible.
While Joy is focused on missing the train to headquarters, Sadness sits with Bing Bong and asks him what's wrong. Bing Bong proceeds to talk with her. She sits with him. She hugs him. And although Bing Bong isn't necessarily happy afterwards, he stops crying and is in a state of rest.
Not only can this moment teach us that empathy, listening, and deep emotion are helpful and can bring us closer, it teaches us that not only does sharing our emotions help us release them, it helps us to process them, feel them, accept them, and eventually transcend them, which are elements of both feminism and enlightenment.
Similarly, when Joy and Sadness returns to headquarters, Joy lets Sadness run the ship. Riley begins to cry and shares with her parents that she is not the happy-go-lucky child she has pretended to be. As a result, her family grows closer, Riley transcends the sadness that's been sitting with her, and she is able to move forward in a new situation, where she eventually finds contentment and a new world.
It is okay to struggle and it is okay to want to be happy. But Inside Out is a victory -- of allowing children, and ourselves, to live the depths of our being, respect our minds, and form bonds around the ensemble of the human experience.
For a FeMeditation on feeling your emotions, visit: http://www.sheenlightened.com/femeditate/2015/2/11/riding-the-wave-of-emotion
Photo copyright of Disney-Pixar.