Self-Love/Self-Confidence, Transformation

9 Ways Disney’s Pocahontas Changed My Life (The Good and the Bad)

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You know how there are these seemingly small things that end up deeply shaping your life? Something a stranger said to you when you were five, an image you saw in a dream, a movie from your childhood…

Well, I’m a 90s baby, and that “movie from my childhood” was Pocahontas.

I’m not sure why I’m writing about it here or if it’s relevant to my audience on this blog. But hey, I can’t seem to get this article out of my head. And although I haven’t watched that movie in literally decades, it has shaped my life and the person I am today in weird, sometimes unexpected ways.

Since we do talk about personal transformation, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence here, I thought I’d share it and get it out of my system.

So, here are 9 ways Disney’s Pocahontas shaped my life.

*Also, we are talking about the first Disney movie, not the disaster that is Pocahontas 2.

I Talk to Trees (and They Talk Back)

I believe in magic, and part of that is because of Pocahontas.

believe in magic

In the movie, she talks to a tree named Grandmother Willow and connects with all sorts of animals. It’s like she is one with nature, and I’m sure that has impacted me, even now at 35 years old.

Now, I absolutely believe that trees talk to me, and it’s all her fault! 😊.

trees talk

When I walk in a park, a forest, or just in the city, and the wind makes the trees move, it feels like they are waving at me with their hundreds of tiny hands.

And I wave back.

I also love hearing the sound of the wind in the leaves; it’s the most soothing sound in the world, and I imagine it’s how a tree talks.

I Like to Run in the Wind

In the movie, Pocahontas has a strong connection with nature, especially with the wind. I think it has influenced me.

the power of the wind
Credit: Disney

Have you ever tried standing outside in strong winds and just feeling it? I do, all the time, and it’s wonderful, exhilarating, scary, thrilling, and humbling, all at once.

The wind is powerful and sometimes scary, yet standing in it makes me feel empowered, like I can feel its strength deep within me.

Ever since I started running outside five years ago, no matter the season or weather (I live in Canada), I’ve discovered the immense joy and power of running in the wind, especially when it’s stormy. It’s like the wind gives me a bit of its power.

Related post:

I Thought Beauty = Long Hair Flowing on Your Back

I am a mixed-race girl with curly hair, and for most of my life, all I ever wanted was long, straight hair like Pocahontas.

pocahontas long hair
Credit: DeviantArt

In my culture, we use relaxers to straighten our hair; it’s as common as brushing your teeth. Straight hair is a standard of beauty, and this affected my perception of what a beautiful woman is.

Luckily for me, in 2014, I got fed up and started seriously considering what would happen if I didn’t straighten my hair. Then I discovered the Curly Girl method, grew my natural curls, learned to love them, and then shaved my head in 2020. I talk about it more on this blog if you are interested in reading that story, but thankfully, all these changes helped me see that beauty isn’t just about having long hair.

However, I wish it didn’t take 25 years to get there and that I had realized it sooner.

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The Massacre of Native Americans Traumatized Me as a Child (and Adult)

Did you know that Haiti (that’s where I was born) used to be populated by Indigenous people? They were massacred after the Spanish conquest.

Imagine learning at the tender age of four or five that the entire population of a country was killed for no reason. And that the people who were brought in to replace them, Black people, were treated like beasts, whipped, and tortured just because they looked different or came from a different place.

When I watched Pocahontas (I was about 6 years old), I knew that this romantic story hid a terrible truth, and it made me even sadder.

I would have loved to know that our story (the real one) ended well, that Indigenous people and the European conquerors formed a bond; that I didn’t live in a world where such atrocities could take place. But no matter how many times I rewatched the movie, things were still the same: Indigenous people were no longer there, Black people had been enslaved, and we (Haitians) have to deal with the consequences of that to this day.

But still, Pocahontas showed me an alternative way: the way of love, and it stayed with me.

How a True Queen Behaves

Pocahontas is open-minded, curious, and loves nature, but most importantly, she is brave and fights for her beliefs. She stands tall and remains strong even when facing danger or sadness.

Credit: Disney

All these are qualities I have yearned to embody as I grew up.

Even as a little girl, I could see how Pocahontas was both strong and graceful at the same time. I would spend hours playing outside or in the pool, trying to run, stand, swim, and move like her.

Boy did she make an impression on me!

Nature is Gold

There is a scene in the movie where John Smith tries to explain what gold looks like, and Pocahontas shows him corn instead. That scene always stayed with me, you know, that huge gap between what two people consider valuable.

Nature is so amazing: it keeps us alive, feeds us, and is very generous.

Of course, I’m not perfect (!) (although I fancied myself an “environmentalist” in my younger years), but I think this movie is a big reason why I appreciate and (try to) respect nature as much as I do today.

Perspective is Everything

I think I learned early on, probably in part thanks to that movie, that perspective, and where you stand, are everything.

Do you remember the song “Savages”? It’s sung by both Native Americans and settlers with the same lyrics, tone, anger, and hatred, each seeing the other side as the enemy.

That image was very powerful.

Pocahontas savages Lyrics

This taught me that more often than not, there is no absolute good or evil, only different perspectives and narratives to justify these perspectives.

I realized how crucial it is to understand the viewpoints of others, especially in conflicts. It’s probably no coincidence that I later pursued a degree in Political Science, with a specialization in the management of armed conflicts.

Western Civilization is Not Necessarily More “Civilized”

Have you noticed that (people from) countries that have been colonized often carry an inferiority complex. Well, at least in my opinion.

It’s as if they have absorbed the belief that they are “less than” or “inferior” to Western nations and people.

But when watching Pocahontas, even as a child, I saw the beauty and wisdom of the Native Americans. Even though they didn’t have advanced technology (geared for destruction), they had wisdom, knowledge and their own strengths.

I’m pretty sure this experience impacted my appreciation for other cultures and their subtleties.

For example: I refuse to use terms like “under-developed countries” or “development project.” I find these terms demeaning, disrespectful and rooted in the assumption that there is a hierarchy with some at the top and others below.

What a load of crap.

I Am Wary of Conflict Narratives

Pocahontas taught me a lot about conflicts and the politics behind them.

The movie shows how people can misunderstand and misjudge each other and how this can escalate into major problems. This has made me A LOT more careful when I hear about conflicts on the news because I know there is often more happening than what we see.

Later, through my studies, I learned that conflicts have complex roots and it’s crucial that we take a closer look to understand the underlying issues. Now, I’m more careful about believing simple stories about conflicts (like the daily news) and more interested in understanding History and the real issues.

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About Steph

I am a personal growth/self-management enthusiast. I was able to completely transform my life using everything I share here. I hope this blog helps you transform yours as well.
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