Ariel By Nichole Prater

Ariel was perfect in my five year old eyes. She was tall, I was short. She had long, red, straight hair. I had short, white, curly hair. She got to wear a coconut bra and have an awesome green sparkly tail. I had to wear oversized Lion King T-shirts with black leggings (the ones that had the annoying strap on the bottom of the feet) and white Keds. Let’s just say, I was no Ariel.

I knew every word to Disney’s The Little Mermaid movie. My mom said I watched it literally four or five times a day. I knew the songs, the dialogue, I even knew the dances. My favorite part of the movie was when Ariel wanted to be human and she is sitting on the rock watching the Prince from the distance and at the most intense part of the song she flings herself on top of this huge rock, flips her hair back, as big ocean waves hit the rock at the same time. I can’t really tell you why exactly I liked this part so much, all I know is that I was fascinated by the whole scene. So fascinated in fact that I would often get my hair wet in the sink, brush out the curls and put the hair over my face, run up to the back of our couch, fling myself on top, flip over my hair, and sing with Ariel all at the exact same time. My mom didn’t like this so much, I usually got the entire living room wet with the flinging of my hair, and was often sent into my movie scene room.

I had Ariel sheets, and the bedspread. I had the guppy nightlight, and the crab stuffed animal. I had a fish tank in my room that had the castle from the movie in it and I would pretend that all the

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fish could talk to me and I could talk to them. My walls were covered in stickers and painted with bubbles that when I stepped inside I really felt like I was under the sea. Ariel was my Barbie.

I liked the adventures Ariel got

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to go on. She got to search for “treasure” which really always consisted of human objects, like forks and spoons, and I liked how she never gave up on who she wanted be. At the time I didn’t want to give up being Ariel. So just like her I would go on adventures too. I would take the forks and spoons out of the kitchen drawer lay them around the house, then a week later go on my adventure and try to remember where I had put them. Most of the time however, my adventure would be cut short because my mom would vacuum and find most of the forks and spoons herself. Which I later found out, we had actually went through eight vacuums that year, and two different sets of silverware.

At age five I was the only child and grandchild on both sides of my family. So one summer day I decided that I wanted to be called Ariel. Nichole was such a boring name at the time, and I didn’t have any brothers or sisters like Ariel did, so I thought it would only be fair if I had a cool name like hers. It was pretty easy to get everyone in the family to call me Ariel. I think they just felt bad because I had no cousins or brothers and sisters to play with.

As a special treat my mom even bought me the red spray on hair dye that you often find around Halloween. With my white hair that hair dye worked perfectly. My hair was as red as a fire

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truck for three days. Everyone had finally called me Ariel, even my classmates in kindergarten. I was ecstatic, I had finally reached my dream of being her, although I didn’t have the tail or coconut bra, the red hair was all I really needed. For three days I thought that I was just like her because I didn’t give up on my dreams of wanting to be her. Then I washed my hair, or tried to at least. What my mom and I didn’t realize is that we were supposed to wash the dye out the exact same day that we put it in. So when I washed mine my hair didn’t exactly go right back to that white color my mom had hoped, it turned pink. For the next two days in school I was called pinky, until it finally washed out over the weekend.

After the dying the hair episode I started to realize that it wasn’t very easy being Ariel. I didn’t want to dye my hair red anymore because I didn’t want to be called Pinky when I tried to wash it out. I didn’t want to wear the coconut bra, because my fake one was really uncomfortable over my shirt. I couldn’t imagine not having two legs, because it was really hard to walk with my feet tied together. So I went back to being Nichole again. Although I kept all the novelty items in my room, and I still watched the movie often, it wasn’t worth the effort trying to be a cartoon character. My mom and dad liked me better as Nichole anyway. They liked that I was still short, and had curly, white hair, because I was still their baby. They said that if I wanted to dye my hair fire truck red when I was eighteen that I could, but then they just wanted me to be me for as long as possible, and I agreed.

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