The Thing About Cruises |

One of the reasons I love pop culture so much is that it can reveal truth to us that we might not have seen or understood otherwise. Because I see the world through a lens of Christianity, I believe that truth is often the God-related kind, something about who God is, how He relates to us, or His relationship with our world. But sometimes, pop culture can also show us something new about ourselves, pointing out an aspect of our inner selves we hadn’t previously known or perhaps giving us language to describe something we felt but hadn’t been able to communicate.

That means that something as simple or entertaining as a sitcom or a cartoon or a comic book can lead us to deep Truths. But guys? It’s not always something deep that I learn from pop culture. Sometimes it’s silly or less than earth-shattering. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t still surprising (or valuable).

Case in point? It took an animated, screaming chicken to help me admit that I am terrified of the ocean.

I’ve never been on a cruise. I get pretty bad motion sickness pretty easily, so I’ve always been too nervous to even consider that type of trip. I’m always curious, though, asking friends and family who take cruises all the questions about the food and the excursions and the tiny rooms and the motion sickness prevention methods that work best. I figured that someday I’d probably get around to a cruise, maybe the Alaskan sort my husband dreams of or the Disney type my kids would love.

But last year I changed my mind – and realized I would never, ever, EVER be taking a cruise. On the ocean. In a boat. I mean…just the THOUGHT of it, now that I’ve admitted my deep fear of open water, makes me shudder! And I blame Moana.

Okay, okay, so it’s not the Disney cartoon’s fault. I actually began realizing I had this previously undiscovered fear when I signed up for my trip to Kenya. It wasn’t traveling with strangers or eating weird (to me) food or leaving my kids for almost two weeks that freaked me out most. Nope. I started breathing weird when I looked up the path our flight would take from Houston to Nairobi.

We had to fly over SO MUCH WATER! Just…so much…SO MUCH ocean, underneath me for so long!

That. That was what freaked me out. And that freakout in itself surprised me, because until then, I’d had no idea I was afraid of the ocean.

Then, last fall, when my girls and I saw Moana for the first time, I realized that I wasn’t just afraid of crashing into the ocean. I was afraid of BEING in the ocean. Just like that poor chicken, the thought of being in a tiny boat with no land in sight? IS JUST NOT RIGHT. (And don’t even start telling me how big cruise ships are, because compared to THE OCEAN? They are tiny.)

Is this hell, or am I on a cruise?
– Melanie Shankle, Big Boo Cast, episode 77

In case you’re wondering Moana was not the first time I’d seen a character stranded in the middle of a large body of water. Nope, far from it. I’ve seen that scene dozens of times. Just like I’ve been to the ocean and ridden in boats on large lakes. Apparently my immense fear was dormant and buried deep, only to be awoken by a trip to Africa and a screaming chicken.

So, tell me I’m not alone. What insight has pop culture given you about yourself? What has a movie or book or TV show or song helped you realize about yourself?

And, seriously, is anyone else as scared of the ocean as Hei Hei and me???

What should you watch next?


Every month, we are bombarded with new TV series and movies—and it can be overwhelming to figure out what to watch! (I know, I know, what a problem to have!) I'm here to help. My monthly Watch Guides list out all the returning series, new series, and new movies, along with premiere dates and where to watch them. Plus, I tell you my personal picks for the month to help you narrow it all down.

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