Saturday, May 30, 2009

From Rock-a-Bye Baby to a Goddess of Chaos

Okay, so I was watching Sinbad today with my little sisters Traci and Annie and my brother Johnnie. We had a grand old time of it, laughing at the wily puns and the occasionally racy joke, getting way too into the romance between Sinbad and Marina, and enjoying the full adrenaline rush of the adventure as though we were actually in the story. If you have ever watched a movie with my family, you know this is really standard procedure. What is the point of sitting and watching a movie for two or three hours if you're not going to get ridiculously excited about it and quote lines to each other forever afterwards while rehearsing your favorite scenes? Anywho, Sinbad I have to admit is my very favorite animated picture of all time. Even better than Aladdin. I know, you are shocked. Why though, you ask? Is it for the dashing hero with the irresistable voice of Brad Pitt? Does my deep love of history and mythology make the tale so personal that it is absolutely enthralling? Am I intellectually enchanted by the contorted dichotomy of good vs. evil?

Well, perhaps all of these things combine to make it a marvelous movie, but what I truly love, the reason I can watch this movie ten thousand times over and never get bored, what enthralls and enchants me so thoroughly that I have to stop reading or writing whatever I am doing whenever someone turns it on, is Eris: the Goddess of Chaos. Unless you have known me for too long to ignore the evidence, or you have actually lived with me for any amount of time (though I believe some of my poor roommates at BYUI still believe in my innocence) you probably haven't yet realized that I am a horribly addicted, insanity loving, mind warping trickster. A prankster of the first class, truly, because NO ONE ever blames me. Though my dear sister BriAnne and my best-friend of eight years Chelsea have cried for years that I am the true mastermind behind the terrible pranks and playful tricks they were blamed and punished for during our youth, they have not yet managed to convert anyone other than my parents...who I think love me anyways, and who only believed them after I confessed to inspiring a few rather odd spectacles. The trick is, to get someone else to do the dirty work. You have to find someone brave enough, tricksy enough, and entertaining enough to keep them around long enough for you to inspire them. Eris, you see, is the ultimate example. She frames, she manipulates, she teases, she tortures, she inspires. And she is beautiful, frightening yes, but beautiful. I loved her character from the moment I saw her.

Alright, you say, how is it possible that a little mormon girl raised in a home filled with the spirit, constantly reminded to love one another, can be full of such spite? Well first, I'm not spiteful, honest. I try not to do anything that will hurt another person (though I confess I have definitely managed to do this before) or cost anyone huge amounts of money to repair (also, must confess that I have accidently managed this before) or will damage another person's pschye to haunting and traumatizing levels (ok yes, I confess I have managed this one too-the point is, I didn't do it on purpose). But do I think something must have been done in my youth to twist me into such a strange chaos-loving creature? I'm not sure. Maybe I love it so much because it is what I can never really be, it's my alter-ego so to speak, my closet self. Maybe my mother's love of character and spunk sprouted into something a hint more devious when planted in me. But I think the most likely reason of all (my heart is just the right size, thankyou) are the lullaby's, the fairy-tale's, the cryptic stories and yes, even the Disney movies that I so loved as a child.

Please read the words to the following nursery rhyme/lullaby and then try to tell me it is not one of the creepiest things you have ever heard in your life.

Rock-a-bye baby,
in the treetop,
When the wind blows,
the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks,
the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby,
cradle and all.

Ok people, we are singing this to our children, as they are falling asleep!!! No wonder we all have so many issues!

First of all, Why the HECK is the baby in the tree? Further more, why did the bough break?! We are giving our children a weight complex before they can even talk! THE CRADLE WILL FALL AND DOWN WILL COME BABY CRADLE AND ALL?!?!?! What in the world?! The psychiatrists are all trying to tell us that dreaming about searching for something means there is something missing in your life, dreaming about running means there is a fear in your life you are not confronting, dreaming about falling means you are overwhelmed, insecure, unstable and feel you are not in control of your life. But you know what the truth is? We are all so mentally and emotionally scarred from the lullaby's we were sung as children that we are still having nightmares about it!

So I looked up Rock-a-Bye Baby on wikipedia, wondering if there was some sort of logical explanation to the madness. There is a brief argument that the words we now sing come from an early American who witnessed Native American women tying their children up in slings in tree's and letting the wind rock them to sleep. I garuntee you those women were not singing to their little babies about being shot out of their slings to the ground! This explanation was not satisfying at all. The creep factor was still in. So I read on. The original lyrics, said the history, had nothing to do with babies being knocked out of tree's at all! As a matter of fact they were charming! Though I cannot figure why it should matter to the child one whit that their cradle is green. That's just kind of strange. The original lyrics were as follows:

Rock-a-bye, baby,
thy cradle is green;
Father's a nobleman,
mother's a queen;
And Betty's a lady,
and wears a gold ring;
And Johnny's a drummer,
and drums for the king.

So the barbarism developed! It is recent generations, OUR generations who changed the cute little lullaby into a horror story to be sung to innocent children. Why?! To terrorize us away from the tree's? A method of keeping your kids out of things you don't want to deal with? I know that is the method of the horrifying Grimms Brother's fairy tale's that I simply cannot believe people actually read to their babies!

It is these same fairy tales that Disney tries to spruce up into happy-go-lucky stories with cute little talking animals that somehow always manage to help the often brainless heroine's on their way into trouble. What would Snow White or Sleeping Beauty be without their hordes of dancing forest animals? Where would Ariel be without flouder, scuttle or sebastian? How would Cinderella have managed without her little rodent friends? THIS is what we are telling our daughters to imitate? This is what we compare them to, what we dress them up as for parties, playdates and even, horrifyingly, halloween? Do you know what happens to girls who actually speak to rodents? I do. Want to know why? Because I am one, and the result of speaking to a rodent is no fairy tale, let me tell you.

I do not lie. I even have a recent incident of exposure, though thank heaven I had only one witness. A young man who lived in the men's apartments behind my apartment at University. He stood innocently on his balcony watching the sunset as I whistled my way down the street and walked home through the break between apartment buildings just below him. A squirrel stood off to my left. The bushy little rodent tried to cross the opening at the same time as me, and when we noticed each other we both stopped. I stopped whistling. I did not notice the boy, watching. "Excuse me," said I to the squirrel, "were you trying to pass?" His beady eyes were steady, his tail twitched only once. "Well then, by all means," I finished, "after you." I flourished my hand in the appropriate motion and the squirrel very graciously took me at my word and crossed the opening and scampered up his tree. A startled laugh escaped the boy above me and I looked up with surprise. My cheeks flamed red as he burst out in open laughter and I hurried through the pass myself and briskly shuffled the rest of the way home, the boys laughter ringing behind me. Embarrassment, and not enchantment, is the only thing that resulted from the encounter. So far I have been one of the lucky ones, and no one has actually locked me in cell with all the other nuts.

This may be only a manifestation of their own self-conciousness however, at being just as crazy as I am. Who, after all, could grow up watching E.T. or Alice in Wonderland and not be just a little bit traumatized for the experience? Nightmares still plague me of gigantic pink bunnies with red eyes and claws, aliens with hammer shaped heads poking out of my closet, dressers and bookshelves, and don't even get me started on my fear of going into a bathroom without the light already being on or reaching to the ground next to my bed for an extra blanket when it's cold. Most of the time, I'd rather just shiver. I reach my hand around the corner of the bathroom door at night and flip on the light before I can completely open the door. I honestly pick up a baseball bat or a piece of metal shelving before answering the front door any time after about ten o'clock. Are these things normal? I don't know, because I have a deep seated fear about talking to anyone about them, because I have been raised on conspiracy theories and often wondered as a child if I was really some sort of mythical creature grafted into a human family for my own protection.

With all these terrors and upsetting romodels bouncing around in my head, is it really any wonder that I am inspired by a powerful, cunning and manipulative Goddess of Chaos? At least if she's causing the chaos she has some control over it!


Bri... only she said...

OH kristi! you had Grant and me rolling on the ground laughing!
1. YES! I finally have a WRITTEN confession to show all our leaders and family!
2. Grant has often commented about the creepiness of that particular nursery rhyme... though I don't know how reliable Wiki is. (Can't anybody write what they think they know there?)
3. I KNOW how you feel! I had this crazy Harry Potter complex growing up that a big hairy man was going to take me away to learn magic. Very disappointing when it did not happen. :)
It's okay though. I ended up feeling like I lived in a fairy tale anyways growing up with all the odd characters in first ward, marrying a disney prince who lived in an enchanted forest, etc.
I'm going to have to inform Aladin about this new development though... he's going to be heart broken. :)
You're such a talented writer! Keep it up!
Love you!

Artistically Thinking said...

Oh Kristi! I am laughing so hard tears are streaming down my face!

Pretty sure part of the mania is genetic - how many girls out there have a mom who joined an ape society as a child, and deliberately set out to be as different as possible from the rest of their family!?!

Oh and by the way, I used to sing WAY weirder songs than THAT to you as a baby! HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEEHHE

Atkinsons in the Couv said...


The comment by Artistically Thinking was actually Mom

Bri... only she said...

ha ha... THAT's why we're so twisted! What words WAS mom putting into our innocent little minds?! :D

KayKay :D said...

Hahaha-it sure does explain a lot ;)

Dave in the Couv said...

It's amazing how much you learn about your kids by reading their blogs. Very funny stuff.