Toy Story

Toy Story

To the movies that shaped my childhood,

I bet you’re surprised that you have received this letter, I mean hell, I’m surprised that I’m writing it.  
Part of me believed that you had forgotten about me…just as I was beginning to forget about you. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other, and I wanted to hear from you one last time before you were gone. You’re fading from my memory, a distant call from a phone I can no longer answer. I recall when I was young, when you were the most important part of my life, but I am an adult now.

You made me the man I am today, but it’s time to let you go. My earliest memories of you are at my grandparents’ house. Grandpa made me help in the garden and my reward was getting to watch The Little Engine That Could. Grandma would sit me on her lap in her chair; I can’t remember the color anymore, I think it reclined. Together we would chant, “I think I can! I think I can!” It was an inspiring message that got me through tough times, and that chant came to my mind at her funeral. Your lessons formed my core values which are now tucked behind the facade of maturity. I am an adult now.

The Brave Little Toaster taught me to never be afraid. When I was younger, I would jump off the top of the jungle gym. You taught me that there was nothing I can’t do if I put my mind to it. I would always lead my family through the grocery store, taking charge over the seemingly endless aisles of fruits and colorful cereal boxes. There was no adventure too small to take seriously. Every day was an adventure. Today, my daily activities blend together in mundanity. I’ve lost the adventurous spirit you put into my everyday and am scared I’ll never have an adventure as grand as that brave little toaster. I am an adult now.

Pixar, I can’t forget about you, my oldest friend. The worlds you built gave me my creativity. You are why I still love film, just not in the way that I used to. You took everyday aspects of my childhood and made them magical: toys on the floor, monsters in the closet, cars on the road, and so much more. These ordinary facets of life became extraordinary. The slowest day cleaning the house with mom and dad was made fun because I remembered you taught me the toys I was putting away had plenty of fun when I was gone. Now I just see these things as toys in buckets, suits on hangers, and the car in my garage. The world is not as fantastic without you, in fact it’s quite a bit more boring. I am an adult now.

I’m writing you this letter to tell you that it has to end. I feel as if I can’t hang on to the parts of myself that you made up. I have networking to do! I have meetings to attend. I have college writing assignments to draft, edit, rewrite, and finalize. I don’t have time for movies now and when I do they need to be more sophisticated than the likes of you. I know that sounded harsh, but I feel like it will be easier if I end it quickly. I can’t have your childish ideas hanging around me anymore; I need to grow up. I am an adult now.

I criticize the films I watch now. I find myself watching cinema through the eyes of an analyst, not the starry eyed boy that just wanted to see Luke Skywalker ignite his lightsaber. This is how I have to grow up, and I hope you understand. There is more to the world than the boundless joy you exude with music numbers and happy endings. Schindler’s List proved to me that there is a darker part of the world that you failed to show me. You lied to me and because of that I have to move on. The world is so much scarier than what you promised me. I need to learn from these new films that will shape who I will become from here. I am an adult now.

Movies like Boyhood and The Spectacular Now showed me that although life is hard, growing up and finding myself are the solutions to ease that struggle. It isn’t sustainable for me to keep you around, so I have to let you go. You’re holding me back. Like they say in American Beauty, “In order to be successful, one must project the image of success at all times.” If I hold on to your amatuer beliefs I can’t be successful. I’m a business major and have to lose that part of myself if I am going to be rich. You never showed me the level of decadence wealth can give me, never showed me that money CAN buy happiness. Why didn’t you show me these grander aspects of grandeur? I want these things; I am an adult now.

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But between you and I, I will always love you. I may forget about you and may move on, but that love will never be gone. You shaped my childhood and other movies will shape my adulthood. But you are important to me, because I was a child once.

Sincerely,
Hunter

(For a visualization of this letter on my YouTube channel click here. Have some tissues nearby)