This Week I Love …

… Dory.

OK, bear with me on this one. It may sound more personal than fashionable at the start, here, but I promise I can tie it into concepts of self-love.

I consider Dory to be a personal hero. And not just because I can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday. Dory is quirky and challenging, but she has a HUGE heart, a great attitude, and the best of intentions. I can completely relate. And even though she’s an animated fish, she has some real wisdom to impart.

As someone who thrives on success and praise, I become discouraged quite easily. I’m tenacious, too, and don’t give up easily … but I’m often tempted to slow down, lose heart, or change direction. And while I know it’s important to keep an open mind and consider all options, what Dory’s little mantra has taught me is that sometimes, going with the flow is the most peaceful, natural, even rational way to determine your next active steps.


Marlin: I promised I’d never let anything happen to him.
Dory: Hmm. That’s a funny thing to promise.
Marlin: What?
Dory: Well, you can’t never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo.

The world is full of challenges, mishaps, and actual factual danger. When you weigh the risks, it can be tempting to stay home, stay put, and stay the same. I love to feel comforted and protected, and sometimes those two needs take precedence. But I have also learned that there is a direct relationship between risk and reward. Not sword-swallowing-level risk, necessarily, but pushing boundaries, facing challenges, being brave. My life is fuller and richer because of the risks I’ve taken.

I prefer to control everything. All of the time. Even while I sleep. And that’s proooobably not the healthiest thing in the world. I worry constantly, fretting away about events and machinations that are completely out of my earthly reach. And over time, I’ve discovered that one of my primary life lessons is to learn to trust the Universe to take care of me. I work hard to accept that some things are outside my purview, and that is JUST FINE.

(Yes, the video quality is horrible. But hopefully you get the point.)

And all of these lessons are valuable on an internal, personal, motivational level, but what do they have to do with body image or self-esteem? Well, I believe that self-love is linked to serenity. One way to learn to accept and love yourself, to adore your body fully, is to abide Dory’s lessons: Go with the flow, be brave, and let go.

It took me years of watching my body change to understand that my seasonal weight fluctuations were regular and natural, and nothing to get upset about. I had to ride the currents of my life to learn an important lesson about my body.

There was a time when the prospect of wearing fitted clothing gave me chills. The shame I felt about my “flawed” figure caused me to hide inside over-sized garments for decades. But when I mustered up the guts to change how I dressed, to flaunt the curves that had caused me such anxiety, I felt stronger and lovelier and more grounded than ever before. I had to face that challenge with courage to learn an important lesson about my body.

Despite a rigorous skincare routine, I still get zits. Nothing short of liposuction will make my spare tire belly vanish. I am hairy pretty much everywhere except the soles of my feet. And all of these things are hard-coded in my DNA, which makes them integral to my personal self. I had to acknowledge that I cannot control every little thing to learn an important lesson about my body.

So thank you, Dory.You’re pretty insightful for a gooftastic, forgetful cartoon fish.

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  • Thanks!! I may actually use this in the classroom today! When you teach young communicators…it is easy for them to get discouraged and stop when they face walls. I think they would like what Dory has to say…I appreciate you sharing your personal thoughts as well!!

  • Wonderful post! I love Dory, and routinely tell myself and my husband to just keep swimming.

  • I love, love, LOVE this, Sal! ‘Finding Nemo’ is actually my favourite movie of all time πŸ˜€

  • You’re so right about learning about your body and learning to love it in the process. I set myself a challenge this year to rediscover my personal style, and hopefully along with it a more positive self image. Somehow it’s all got a bit lost over the last few years, with baby, bereavement and some tough times.
    I’ve learnt to sew so I can wear clothes that fit ME. I started a blog, so I could document my progress; and for the first time ever really, I’ve looked objectively at my body, from an emerging dressmakers perspective, to start working out what suits my body now. In order to start accentuating my best bits, I hit a bit of a eureka moment. I had to accept I DO have some “best bits” to accentuate. Who knew! But I had to be brave and confront my self loathing (yes it had got that far) to start getting there.Guess what? I’ve starting feeling better and more positive already, and this is just the start. It’s so easy to start talking yourself down and it can very quickly get out of contol. So blogs like yours are brilliant. (There’s a bit of praise and encouragement for you!) They keep reminding us to love our best bits!
    Thank you!

  • All very important lessons from one of my favorite fish too.
    Lovely post, and I completely agree.

  • Love this. Dory is also quite comfortable with the chaos that surrounds her in the unpredictable sea and I think getting comfortable with the fact that the only constant in life is change is something I strive to achieve each day….

  • Yes, I love Dory. Back when I was forced to watch Finding Nemo (seemingly) thousands of times with my toddler, my sleep-deprived brain decided that Dory was really a Zen master. Because she truly exemplifies “no-mind”. And yet even though she literally can’t remember most of what just happened to her, she is able to push Marlin to go on an epic quest to find his son and to deal with his grief. Dory is my hero!

  • I love Dory, and I always thought part of her appeal was Ellen’s voice projecting from that vibrant blue fishy body. I think I have become Dory, I don’t remember anything anymore.

    Letting go…that’s a tough one for me. I am a control FREAK, if I am not in control, the world will fall apart! But I have noticed on the days I am not nagging my boys to get out the door so they don’t miss the bus….those are the days they actually get out of the house a little quicker. Hmmmm.

  • Hi, I just found your blog and the first entry that I’ve read is something that I’ve been doing or trying to do for a while. I liked Dory too but I’ve never thought of connecting it. Thanks from NY.

  • Oh Sal, you are just the sweeeeeetest!

  • Dory was by far the best and most inspirational part of Finding Nemo! I couldn’t agree more that going with the flow or life opens us up to more opportunities than trying to control every aspect. Once we just accept that we are where we are (and who we are) for a reason, it makes the pursuit to change things much more fun and exciting.
    I’ve taken so many mental notes with this post! Thanks for sharing!

  • Totally agree with you! I love Dory πŸ™‚

  • katty

    love Dorys! She’s my favourite of all times! And, yes, she’s my zen master too!

  • Kate K

    This is brilliant Sal! I adore Dory, so much so that I’m pretty sure she’s my spiritual animal πŸ˜€ I quote “Just keep swimming” on a regular basis, so much so that I’m pretty sure my friends are sick of hearing about it. One more thing to add about the awesomeness of Dory: she is herself, totally and completely. She is full of quirks and she’s kind of a weirdo but she embraces that and proudly owns it and let’s everyone see that and you end up loving her *for* all of those quirks.

  • Anyone who can cite Dory from Finding Nemo as one of her heros is a girl after my own heart. Love it!!! Great job.

  • Steph

    I soooo needed the first two today, particularly Be Brave. The reminder that there’s no reward without risk and that getting out of the comfort zone and letting things happen to you opens up the possibility for all kinds of good things, along with the possibility for not-so-good. I too get easily discouraged and beaten down, but also don’t think just giving up is an option, so hearing I’m not alone in that is encouraging.
    And I love Dory! What better role model could anyone have? In a way, she’s very Zen.
    Thanks Sal πŸ˜‰

  • Marie

    Why is it so hard to remember these things? Why is it so easy to beat ourselves up? I really liked this post, because it encompasses pretty much every piece of advice I try to remind myself of daily. Sometimes with success, sometimes not. Life is a journey, right?

  • Plus, she speaks whale! I love Dory — ya just gotta keep swimming πŸ™‚

  • Finding Nemo isn’t my favourite Pixar film (that would be a tie between Ratatouille and UP), but damn, Pixar produces some profound movies considering the fact that they’re supposedly animated films for kids eh?

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  • Anonymous

    Dory is my all time favorite! I have her ringtone on my phone!!

  • Dory is one of the best! My friends and I repeat her “just keep swimming” mantra to each other as needed (can you tell we all have young children?). Thank you for reminding me (and for the tie in to body image, truly inspired!)

  • Ladybug

    I absolutely love Dory!!! My mom and I quote lines from her whenever we need a laugh or cheering up or just in a silly mood!!! She happens to be my favorite fish!!!!

  • I was strolling down my reader alley and I read you… Then I read Stephanie from Nie Nie Dialogs (if you’re not familiar, please do check her out!) and then I got back to you and re-read you. And said to myself that ever so often we forget to enjoy what we have and we can lose it all.

    I do that too. Sometimes I get so mixed up in my little obsessions (as simple as dish washing or rolling up or down the shades) that I forget to enjoy the day as it is. And every little things that’s actually important to me.

    Let’s all lay back, get back and remember what’s really important, what really makes our happy. What really makes us who we are.

  • Liz

    LOVE Dory! Great post. I love the message to embrace adventure, embrace yourself and even embrace your mistakes- you never know where they might lead you. Just keep swimming…

  • You’re truly an inspiration. Thank you so much for putting this post up. It’s exactly what I needed. My personal challenges have been really getting me down. I’ve been beating myself up over what I could do differently and how I could change my current situation. That in itself is so exhausting. I need to learn to relax and let go. Thanks again Sal! πŸ™‚

  • What a beautifully written post, Sal! Dory is a wonderful source of inspiration on how to deal with the mishaps of life.

    Whenever I’m feeling particularly silly about something, I often talk about wanting to ES-CA-PAY. So much fun to say. ES-CA-PAY.

  • I love this post—and I’m with you on the control thing.

  • Hi Sally!

    I love this post–Dory is a favorite of mine in “Finding Nemo”–and I love the inspirational themes of healthy body image, perseverance, and confidence that you incorporate into your blog. I just recently started blogging and hope to use my blog as a means to show other the true beauty and strength from within and throughout the world in unique and witty ways.

    Thanks for being an inspiration!

  • Oh, if you haven’t submitted this for IFC’s Links A La Mode, you totally should. What a wonderful, insightful, and entertaining post!

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  • I think of Dori and just keep swimming quite often. πŸ™‚

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