In case you haven’t figured it out yet, let me share something definitive about me with you: I am OBSESSED with mermaids. I have been watching movies about mermaids, drawing pictures of mermaids, playing with mermaid dolls and toys, dressing up as a mermaid, and collecting mermaid artwork and memorabilia ever since…well, since the very beginning of my life! It has become such a huge part of who I am that the subject of mermaids has become synonymous with my identity to the people who personally know me.
Whenever they see anything at all pertaining to mermaids anywhere, they ALWAYS immediately think of me. And I’m amused and touched to know that I have made such a lasting impression on others. So here is an in-depth look at the history of my mermaid fetish from the very beginning to the present…
It all started with these. I had these tub toys called “Sea-Wee’s” when I was just a baby of about a year old. (Yes, I have vague early memories that far back.) Sea-Wee’s were tiny plastic baby mermaid dolls that came with a flower-shaped sponge that they could float in. I remember playing with these tiny mermaid dolls in the bathtub as a young toddler and being completely fascinated by them for some reason. Wow, just seeing this photo of them for the first time after 30+ years makes me utterly nostalgic!!
When I was four years old I saw the movie “Splash!” on TV for the first time. I remember my mother telling me shortly before the movie aired that it would feature a woman who was part fish. Daryl Hannah played a mermaid in that film, and from then on I was absolutely hooked on the idea of mermaids.
Then when I was about seven or eight years old, my father brought home a VHS tape of The Little Mermaid for me to watch. But at that time, the Walt Disney version had not yet been created, so this movie was a Japanese anime version from 1975 that had been dubbed in English. This film was based on the original version of The Little Mermaid tale by Hans Christian Andersen. Instead of red-headed Ariel with Flounder and Sebastian, the heroine of the film was blonde-haired Marina with her best friend Fritz the dolphin. And instead of marrying the Prince and living happily ever after, Marina jumps to her death from a ship and dissolves into sea foam at sunrise the morning after the Prince marries another woman by mistake. I grew up watching this movie almost daily for several years as a child and often drew pictures of Marina and her six mermaid sisters. When I was about 11 years old, my biological mother cruelly took my Little Mermaid video and sold it during a garage sale, knowing it was my favorite movie. (My biological mother suffered from a severe case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and behavior such as taking possessions away from other people without any reason is very typical of people who have the disorder.) And since that movie had been created more than a decade earlier in Europe and was no longer manufactured or sold in US stores, that beloved movie was irreplaceable. I never saw that movie again until twenty years later when my father came to visit me one day and brought a surprise for me. I walked into the kitchen to greet him and immediately noticed a strange, yet familiar looking object placed on the kitchen counter. It was a VHS tape of the exact same Little Mermaid movie I had once owned as a child. He said he had discovered it at a store in Springfield that sells used records, CD’s, and video tapes and bought it for me. He said that considering how rare this old movie is in the US and how he found it in such close proximity to where we lived, it was very likely that this VHS tape was the very actual same one I once owned as a child that had been bought by someone at our garage sale twenty years ago and then eventually re-sold to a used music and video store. He told me that now that I was an adult, this movie would be mine forever and no one could take it away from me ever again. Oh, what a glorious day that was!!!
After VCR’s and VHS tapes became obsolete, I searched everywhere on the internet for a DVD version of this same movie to buy, and low and behold I found an English version DVD for sale on Ebay by someone all the way over in Holland. So now I have this favorite childhood movie of mine on both VHS tape and DVD, and I don’t intend on parting with either one of them ever again. It was this tale of The Little Mermaid and her death at the end that inspired me to decide to be cremated and have my ashes poured into the sea at sunrise someday after my death so that I can become “foam upon the waves” just like Marina. There are so many aspects of the Little Mermaid’s character and story that parallel my own life…mainly like how Marina left behind her family and the sea to begin a new life on land in the hopes of finding happiness, while I left behind my family and the landlocked Midwest to begin a new life by the sea in hopes of finding happiness.
My fascination with mermaids lasted all throughout my childhood and into my teen years as well. When I was about 12 years old, R&B singer Sade created a music video for the song “No Ordinary Love” portraying her as a mermaid falling in love with a human man. It became one of my favorite music videos on MTV.
What is probably the most interesting fact of all about my obsession with mermaids is that I’ve been absolutely fascinated with not only mermaids but ANYTHING at all pertaining to the sea, including marine animals and sea shells…and yet I went through my entire life never even having seen the ocean until I was 29 years old. Growing up in the landlocked Midwest, I had two small sea shells as a child that I had gotten from a museum gift shop somewhere in either Springfield or St. Louis, and my father even drilled a small hole in one of them so I could wear it as a necklace. Those two sea shells were my most prized possessions. They were the only objects I owned that had come directly from the sea. I’ve always found it very odd that I had such a strong fascination for the ocean as a child when I had never even seen it or been anywhere near it. Whenever I saw a picture of a mermaid in a story book or on a mural somewhere as a child, I was always immediately mesmerized by it. I constantly told my family that someday I was going to live by the ocean. When I finally saw the ocean for the first time shortly before my 30th birthday, I immediately felt right at home…it was like a sort of homecoming for me. My family jokes that I must have been a mermaid in my previous life and that my subconscious hasn’t completely forgotten about it. I wonder if perhaps deep down our subconscious or our spirits instinctively know where we are supposed to be. It’s as if I was born in the Midwest by mistake and my instincts told me that I was supposed to be near the water and eventually drove me to get there. Who knows?
About four years ago, I saw a documentary on the Animal Planet Chanel entitled “Mermaids: The Body Found”. It centered about the possibility of the existence of mermaids. It featured several video footage clips of suspected mermaid sightings and dissections of mermaid cadavers as well as ancient historical artifacts pertaining to mermaids. As a history scholar and someone who has done a little studying of human evolution and biology, I think it is highly possible that a marine mammal mermaid species similar to humans could exist. The ocean covers 75% of the globe and we have only explored a tiny fraction of it. As my father once said, “If something is going to hide for long periods of time without being seen, it would be in the ocean.” A nd a phrase that I have often quoted is “With nature, nothing is impossible. Life always finds a way.” Modern humans from every continent around the globe have been drawing depictions of mermaids and telling tales of them ever since the dawn of humanity. Behind every longstanding legend,there lies a grain of truth. And with our ever increasing scientific technology, we may very well one day soon have definitive proof of the existence of mermaids.
Now at 35 years old, my fascination with mermaids is still going strong. I now live just a few miles away from the Atlantic Ocean and my new home in southern Florida, aptly nicknamed “The Mermaid Lair”, is absolutely FILLED with mermaid artwork, figurines, and even mermaid furniture!!!
My next goal in my mermaid obsession is to eventually become one…or at least portray one as realistically as possible. My goal is to one day do a professional photo shoot of me as a mermaid at the beach with a very realistic looking mermaid tail. After seeing a documentary on TV awhile back about fellow Florida resident Eric Ducharme, a.k.a. “The Mer-Tailor”, who makes his living designing and creating very realistic looking mermaid tails for people to wear, I may have to contact and befriend this fellow mermaid-lover and purchase one of his custom-made tails someday!! Believe it or not, there are actually a lot of people out there-both women and men–who actually make a living as professional mermaids and mermen….meaning that being a mermaid is their actual JOB that they get paid for!!! I’m actually acquainted and friends with a few famous professional mermaids such as Mermaid Hannah Fraser from Australia, Mermaid Kariel from Oahu, Hawaii, and Mermaid Beth Sullivan from Jacksonville, Florida. Mermaid Hannah and I have talked with one another often over the last several years. A lot of people have asked me over the years why I am not a professional mermaid, and I ask myself that question all the time, too. I mean HELLO?!?….being a professional mermaid and putting on shows for children and spectators is definitely my dream job and my calling!! But unfortunately there is one little problem that keeps me from doing it: The fact that I wear contact lenses and cannot swim with my eyes open. Swimming with my eyes open, especially in salt water, burns like Hell and causes my contact lenses to come off. And I can’t swim without my lenses because I’m blind as a bat and can’t see past my nose without them. The professional mermaid tails weigh about 40 pounds, so you have to be a GREAT swimmer in order to be a mermaid, and I’m just not that strong of a swimmer due to my eyesight issues.
So now you know one of the most definitive aspects of who I am in this world. And from now on, whenever you see or think of mermaids, you’ll automatically think of me. 😉
P.S.: As an added bonus, I have taken the liberty of embedding a link to the complete full length original Little Mermaid movie that I watched and loved as a child for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!! 🙂