Finding Dory

choose to use your wings

There’s something ‘bout a butterfly
As it flutters by another.
Like kindred notes dotting the sky,
In their movement they uncover
A ubiquitous melody.

Caterpillars we are when born
And we seek out wings from above,
So we too can float past life’s thorns,
To rest upon the petals of
Eternal strength and gratitude.

Like the wings of a butterfly,
Little blue fins dance through the sea.
And even though not in the sky,
No one can deny what they see:
One more angel spreading the peace.

So, what’s the lesson after all?
When navigating through the deep,
If there is one thing to recall,
Make your wings outlast, and just keep
Swimming, just keep swimming, swimming…

I wrote the above poem as a tribute to the late Talia Castellano, a spirited young girl who lost her battle with cancer a few weeks ago. Why a poem? I’m not sure. Maybe I’m channeling my inner Chris Siegfried (Bachelorette fans, anyone? Ah, what a dreamboat.)? I’ve never considered myself a poet as you can probably ascertain from my attempt above but I felt like a beautiful soul like Talia deserved something with delicateness like a poem, rather than a run-of-the-mill blog post. So, there’s my explanation for why I decided to write a poem. Now let’s talk about the poem itself and, most importantly, the girl who inspired it.

talia-castellano-1 makeup is my wig and honorary covergirl

Talia Castellano was best known for being a YouTube sensation who posted makeup tutorials and ended up becoming an honorary CoverGirl in 2012. Her fans adored her and she used every ounce of energy she had to make sure she was inspiring them each and every day. I recently visited her YouTube page and found her personal description: “I’m Talia, I’m 13 years old and I love makeup. ‘Make-up is My Wig’ I like to say. and you can prob see I’m bald- I have cancer. (neuroblastoma)& leukemia) I dont like wearing wigs so I wear makeup to feel good and pretty inside-and I guess outside. LOL!” You can see from her tutorials that Talia was not only an extremely talented, self-taught makeup artist but she was also a strong role model for people of all ages, whether they were battling cancer or not.

Talia’s goal was simple: To help others feel beautiful both inside and out. I focused a lot on wings in my poem not only for the obvious reason of Talia earning her wings in heaven but also because of one of her makeup techniques that stood out in my mind. Like a true CoverGirl, Talia inspired young women to carry themselves with confidence and one way she did this was through her tutorials. One technique that is used by many makeup artists is to extend the eyeliner beyond the natural lash line to create what is referred to as “wings.” (See picture of Talia below).

talia winged eyes and quote

To me, this embodies the essence of what Talia was trying to achieve in her lifetime: she literally and metaphorically taught girls all over the world how to grow wings. It is this spirit that encouraged her fans to continue her legacy by attempting to complete her bucket list. With the wings she helped them discover, they are showing the world how much they can achieve and they are doing all of this in her honor. See article below:


Talia was also well-known for an appearance she made on the Ellen DeGeneres show. During the show Ellen asked, “Despite what the doctors have said and despite the cancer that you’ve been going through, how do you stay so positive?” and in reference to DeGeneres’ character, Dory, in the Disney flick Finding Nemo, Castellano replied, “When people ask me that I’m just like, what do you want me to do? Be depressed? I mean, but, a little fish told me, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”

mind over mater

I think it shocked the world to see such a young girl combat cancer with such resilience and courage. She was truly something special, just like that beloved blue fish in Finding Nemo. Ironically, this character won over the hearts of so many fans that Disney is rumored to be coming out with a sequel in 2015. Its title? Finding Dory. I think we all go through life trying to find the Dory/Talia within us: a tireless spirit that doesn’t even consider the idea of giving up and knows that no matter what life throws at you, you have to just keep pushing forward. Whether by wing or fin, we all have the capacity within us to graciously navigate past our obstacles and if you ever need a reminder just look to the message my acrostic poem holds:

Talia Castellano Swims.

talia funny face


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s