Fiercely Villainous

There’s two sides to every story, so I’ve come to learn in my life growing up. It’s, however, the willingness to be open to both that is a real lesson to learn. It’s a work in progress, for me.

As a child from a family split down the middle and torn in strife, with parents going through a divorce that was more of an ongoing war than an abrupt ending. And with all of the mind-play and petty fights that came with two hurt beings, out to settle their spite – I learned to pick sides quite quickly. And decisively. And unchangeably. It’s become a great part of my black-and-white personality and temper.

Throughout my years, however, I have begun to understand that in this picking of sides – perspective can quickly be lost. For those hoping to be reading something election related or that expect a pro- or anti-mask speech: I’m sorry to disappoint. Today’s topic will mostly be a pleasant Disney dittie. Because thanks to Disney, I increasingly find myself migrating more towards an opposite side of thinking to what I’ve always held to be true. Find myself more willing to see both sides, and find beauty in either.

How? You might wonder? Thanks to Maleficent.
The movies, that is. Not the fairy itself – but her story. Portrayed not as a history of evil, but as the other side of the coin. Viewed from the perspective of the villain-who-is-not.

You see – I was brought up as a Disney Princess girl. All throughout my life the Disney standards of true love, unbreakable friendships and earth-shattering love-quests has been my companion. I’ve marveled at the stories of Snow White, Aurora, Ariel and Mulan and wished myself into the shoes of Odette and Anastasia (even though they’re not technically Disney). I’ve dressed up as Elsa and pretended to be Belle on many an occasion and I still hope to one day be whisked away by a strapping stranger like John Smith. And the villains in their movies? I’ve despised them with a passion, cursing their names even in the 50th re-watch of a movie with that well-known happy ending.

I have always craved a story like theirs. A love like theirs. Romance like theirs. Wishing upon a star that one day I’d be like them. Until they produced Maleficent.

These days – I find myself considering the vantage points of these villains (now that Disney has so beautifully portrayed the story ‘from the other side’). Discover more and more that I can understand their courses of action. See logic in their behavior and sense in their approach. Relate deeply to their responses and their needs. And come to find myself being much more fitting on their side of the spectrum, than that of the naive and helpless princesses of my past.

These days – I find more solace in the wrathful ways of those villains than in the merciful path of the princesses. Recognize more of myself in the bitterness of a Maleficent and the spitefulness of Ursula. The jealousy of the evil Queen and the cunning wit of Cinderella’s stepmom.

Because, as now shown in the Disney movie, there’s more to these villains that just the ‘bad‘ that burns brightly within themwhen viewed from the eyes of their ‘victims‘. They’re more than just their vices. They’re more than just evil. There’s more than meets the evil eye. As – I’ve discovered, can be said for myself. Similar to these villains I hold inside of me that same combination of good and evil. And the two sides to the coin.

I, like Maleficent – also love fiercely and determinedly. Passionately and with full force. I protect the ones I deem ‘mine‘ with all that I have to give, at great cost to myself and whatever innocent collateral it might cost. Until I am wronged.
And even in my darkest moments I will have compassion, although I hide it well. Disguise it from the judgments of the world, not wanting to portray it as a weakness I am guilty of.
I too, can be blind to the world around me in my hurt, and stubborn in holding on to the wrongs that were done to me. And once hurt, I find myself easily falling into the rage and vengefulness that is key to Maleficents choices. Yet all these parts that can make me a villain in the eyes of some, will make me the princess in those of others. And maybe even the heroic prince in others still.

Because as much as the classic sides in the world of Disney might exist separately from one another – so much do we humans combine them all in ourselves. While Disney paints good and evil as an ‘either/or‘ choice of business – we find ourselves in both.

We’re not one-dimensional. We’re multi-faceted. And where I’ll sometimes be that doting princess – I will also at times be fiercely villainous. Because that’s all just part of being me.

26 thoughts on “Fiercely Villainous

  1. Villains have always been more interesting to me! How did they get this way? Was it always there or did it gradually devellop? Is their plight one that can be understood, dispite their seemingly horrific actions? Can we all end up like them?

    One of the first moments I noticed this was during my youth. Where others would cower in fear at the troll-like appearence of the monster known as ‘Karbonkel’, I would actually become more engaged with the show! I lived for those moments, cause it was exciting! On the one hand his magic excudes terrible power, but on the other we have a figure who simply struggles with anger due to not fitting in (because he cant do ‘the thing’).

    The story of Darth Vader is also a tragic one, if you look deeper than the cinema spectacle.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. OH MY GOD – Karbonkel xD
      The flashbacks are realz!
      I was much the same – all of the kids crying and screaming and me watching the tv extra intrigued 🤭🤪

      It’s a wonder we grew up as sane as we did. Swieber in Dora the Explorer isn’t exactly of that same level scary 🤭


      1. By the way, even if you don’t like rap, your poetic side might appreciate this piece of Malificent! There are some sick burns in there.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Very well said. It speaks to the way there is far more to life than just the simple black/white dichotomy.

    Have you ever watched Dexter? Talk about sympathizing with the bad guy. I’m in season 2 right now, defending the serial killer on every episode. Highly recommended.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Yeah It’s True Particularly
    With The Military One
    Might Be Standing
    Next To A Person
    Capable of
    Killing One
    In Less than
    A Second With
    A Quick Move
    And That May
    Be Precisely
    A Biggest
    The Reason
    They Keep
    And Never
    Become The
    Fool Those Weak
    Folks Without
    In their
    Dog It is
    Not ‘The Bad Boys’
    Who are Really ‘Bad’
    In the
    Wolves Live
    Never Ever
    A Wolf’s
    Kindness For
    For there
    For ‘Bark’… 🐺

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This has moved me to tears. I too was reared on Disney and now, at the wrong side of 40, still love those magical movies.

    My family has encountered a lot of problems and I’m currently wrestling with one that’s huge. The black and white me is feeling very black!

    Plus I experienced a horrific experience on social media which I wrote about after reading people need to share their stories so others don’t feel alone. It was a situation where one side of the story was taken as gospel and NO ONE had the adult mind enough to go hey! That’s f*cked up! And come to me directly. It got that bad I got the police involved and my crisis mental health team. But was that acknowledged? No! I often wonder if people were scared to doubt and question the party involved.

    Sorry for the rant Zoe, triggers can catch me out.
    Take care 💜


  5. I guess I’m from an older generation. I never saw the Disney princesses as anything other than crass money-making ploys. Yes, my parents took my brother and me to see “Bambi” at a drive-in when we were munchkins. I spent the next summer looking for deer at my grandparents’ place in the woods. They were there but not likely to hang around when noisy kids came stomping along. And I shuddered in horror to think that people actually hunted these creatures. “Snow White” was a bit removed from reality. I wasn’t too worried about my wicked stepmother feeding me a poisoned apple and sleeping for a hundred years.

    I won’t even get started on “Pocohantas.”


  6. Looking back, probably the most heroic things I ever did were accomplished when I felt and looked like a total…

    Thinking about the empathy thing…
    I have watched some very self-serving people put on a fabulous show of how caring they are. Those who have genuinely cared have tended to just go with what they felt, doubting themselves every step of the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow… that’s deep.

    By the way, you said this wasn’t going to be about elections or masks… but in a sense, it really is. I don’t know if it’s the same way in the Netherlands as it is in the US right now, but much of the contention between the political parties is because no one wants to listen to the other side and consider where they are coming from.

    During the COVID era, a band that had a few big hits in my formative years (I’ve used their music a couple times in my blog) has been posting on their Facebook page a couple times a week live videos of their lead singer playing music from his house, singing and playing acoustic guitar. I usually turn it on while I’m checking Facebook (although I’ve been mostly off Facebook for five days because I can’t deal with people right now) and WordPress, listening to the music and skipping his occasional political rants because we obviously don’t see eye to eye politically. The band is working on a new album, and a couple weeks ago they released a new song which was blatantly political. I turned it off halfway through.

    A few days later, I decided to go ahead and watch his show that day. At the end, before playing the new song, he mentioned getting a lot of negative comments about it. Then he said something awesome… he admitted to living in a bubble and reached out for those who disagree with his politics to email him and share what they believe and why they disagree, because he wants to understand the other side instead of view them as caricatures and stereotypes. So I emailed him, thanking him for reaching out and being willing to listen, and I explained some of my views. He never wrote back, he probably got a lot of emails, and I was kind of hoping he would because then I’d have another minor celebrity that I could claim to have spoken to before… but he did mention on his next show some of the interesting things people said, and one of them sounded exactly like what I said, so he did read my email (either that or someone else said the exact same thing… haha) (specifically, it was that I did go back and listen to the controversial new song, and I realized that it wasn’t all BS and he does raise some good points).

    This is what we need… to see our villains as human beings. Specifically in the case of the US, Trump voters need to see that most Biden voters don’t want to burn down cities and chant death to America, they just want a government that will do something about the problems in our country. And Biden voters need to see that most Trump voters aren’t ignorant racists, they just want a government that will preserve freedom and respect their values. The history of the US Constitution includes a lot of compromises over the issues of the day, and we need to get back to that instead of the never-ending struggle to get 50.1% of the votes and then impose your will on the other 49.9%.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Everyone needs to be able to feel empathy. If you don’t have empathy for those who don’t have even the basics, food, shelter, safety and love, than what kind of person would you be?
    We don’t live in a Disney world but for those who are loved and have the basics, are indeed already blessed in many ways. I am happy for you that you can see both sides of the coin. Have a blessed day and I too love this movie.
    🤗💕🦋Love Joni


  9. Zowiezoe❗️ Very INSIGHTFUL and a great read.
    It IS so ILLUMINATING when we realize that there is MORE THAN one perspective, isn’t it⁉️
    The greater BEAUTY in that realization is the sense of HUMILITY it brings and the GRACE we are then able to extend to others due to our newfound understanding.
    And that makes (hopefully) for a KINDER WORLD. ❤️🌏
    I haven’t seen MALIFICENT (my children are adults for some time now) but you have piqued my interest and I will DEFINITELY be checking it out!


  10. This thing about empathy and compassion, and about hurt and stubbornness when being wronged, to me seems quite logical. It is often said that high intelligence rules out empathy and emotion, but I think it’s simply the craving for justice that leads to both hurt and love. With an intelligent mind, one is perfectly able to reason that although injustice hurts and keeps hurting, the doer is not always in control of his own weaknesses, and thus deserves compassion. Just saying… Anyway, your feelings make sense, mine are the same 😊 …


  11. We are complex beings indeed. ‘Know Thyself’ someone said. Another said “The truth will set you free.” Acknowledgement of our honest truth is liberating and the first step to growth.


  12. “It’s, however, the willingness to be open to both that is a real lesson to learn.” Utterly profound words, Zoe. The entire read was enlightening. There’s a reason and a backstory for everything, and usually, people don’t even care about these things if they aren’t appealing. Ultimately, we are not good or bad, we are good and bad. A great follow-up to your previous piece about demons.

    Liked by 1 person

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