When times are tough, all we can do is soldier on, or as our favorite whale-speaking blue fish in the sea likes to say, we “just keep swimming”!
It’s humbling thinking back to watching Finding Nemo as a kid and just thinking that “Just Keep Swimming” was a cute phrase that you could sing to yourself that would just magically add a little spring in your step. What I failed to realize was how important that phrase is, how much meaning it has, and how powerful it can be when you need it the most. It bewilders me as an adult to realize how tough of a life Dory actually had and what she had to go through while managing to hang on to her positivity. And this is even further compounded by the fact that Ellen Degeneres herself had faced so much backlash and mistreatment from the media, and pretty much the world, just for coming out as a gay woman, yet still could portray such a joyful bubbly character in light of all the struggles and strife she had to face to get there. As if Ellen Degeneres is herself the embodiment of “Just Keep Swimming.”
And I do believe that true strength lies in our ability to maintain our optimism and hope in light of difficulty. It’s easy to retreat into destitution when it feels like the world is working against us, especially when it feels like one after another, pieces of our life are falling like a row of dominoes. But hope also doesn’t mean putting on a happy face all the time. It’s almost like a delicate balance between acknowledging our struggles and allowing ourselves to feel and to hurt while also remembering that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
I think Dory is one of the strongest characters in Finding Nemo for exactly these reasons, and I always strive to emulate her mentality in my own everyday life.