Mermaid Out of Water

My day without speaking did not go so well. First of all, I forgot I wasn’t supposed to talk today. Before I remembered this plan, I spoke to the following:

  • The dog I’m taking care of
  • The tv show I’m watching with OCD precision
  • Myself

So, when I finally DID remember on my way to work, I zipped my lips, locked them and threw away the key.

Only to find myself moments later yelling at the school bus holding up traffic. And how did I continue this “silence”?

I sang to myself so I wouldn’t fall asleep and get in a car accident. (Sleepless night)

And then you can’t not say “Good Morning,” to your co-workers. #rude

This experiment = EPIC FAIL.

At first I was upset about this because I felt like I was letting Ariel down in some way.  But when Ariel exchanges her voice for legs, she does so knowing she’ll have no way to communicate when she gets to land. I mean, she doesn’t know sign language. We can assume she can’t read or write, so even if she had pen and paper or a phone to text Eric with, she wouldn’t be able to communicate that way either.

Yet, there’s not a time when Ariel is in water where we see her as happy as when she is above sea level, as silent as she is. The proof is right here:

I had this idea (unimaginative as it is) on how depression was like being Ariel, a voiceless fish out of water.

How wrong this idea is.

I’ve only seen The Little Mermaid 100 times (probably literally) and it’s taken me THIS LONG to realize this.

Ariel gets a lot of criticism because “she’s a woman who changes for a man.” She willingly gives up her best qualities to go be with a man – her voice and her tail. I’m not saying that voice isn’t important, but in this instance, it can be overlooked. Why?

Because Ariel doesn’t care about not having a voice and her tail. Not really.

She cares about exploring the world she’s hoarded things from and has dreamt about belonging to for who knows how long. She’s focused on winning the love of her man, without the gifts others put so much weight on. She doesn’t even remember to go to the concert where her voice is to be showcased. She’s in an abandoned ship with her BFF collected snarfblatts and swimming away from sharks.  As a human, she plans to get Eric’s attention by being herself as she is.  She, though altered, remains true to herself.

Yes, Ariel is rash when she goes to the Sea Witch and doesn’t read the fine print of Ursula’s contract.

But she pursues what she has always wanted. Look at the joy on this face!


So, depression is not like being a fish, no, mermaid out of water with no way to communicate. At least, not in Ariel’s case.

It’s watching your treasures being destroyed by someone you love while you can do nothing.

It’s seeing your soul mate literally sail into the sunset with another woman. And you have no way to yell, “Stop! This is wrong!”

Depression is that feeling of utter helplessness and hopelessness.


But guess what.

Ariel doesn’t let those feelings keep her down for long.

Because Ariel has spirit.

Ariel has friends.

Ariel has help.

So, today, I stopped worrying about being silent. I’m used my voice when and where I wanted to.

Because that’s what Ariel would do.


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