I am always asked by those who meet me and learn of my fanatic attraction to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, “Why, Millie? What is up with a grown-ass woman and this insane allure to these turtles? How do they play into your spiritual ways?”
I believe the fascination stems from the time my children (first two boys) were little. I was in my early twenties and they loved them. I grew up with their attraction and the movies. These little green dudes take me back to a time when it was just me and them (the three musketeers). We did everything together. As I have evolved into “later years” I have also noticed that the enchantment with these four characters goes way deeper. The four of them symbolize four types of personalities. We have them all or maybe a few. Nonetheless, they are four distinctive personas of our psyches. Let me share in case you have been under a rock and do not know about these magical ninjas. I have learned to see many folks in relations to these fantastic creatures:
Raphael, the red turtle is the quiet one. At first he seems grumpy, shy, overly assertive, and ridiculously intense. I’ve always had issues with this one! Don’t know exactly why but his artistic ways flaunt the quality of many creative people: internal, seclusion, and withdrawal mind. He seems to suffer from a social disorder but he doesn’t. His silence makes us think of him as the narcissist of the group. He is the thinker, the loner who finds that wallowing and contemplating could get things done. Raphael seems to always be struggling because he doesn’t know how to let things go. Spiritually he is the one who cannot move from the past into the future because he can’t find forgiveness. This guy needs an ego-buster!
Then there is Leonardo, the blue turtle. This is the go-getter. He is the ambitious, charismatic and responsible persona. As a leader and “A” type personality some would consider him the royal pain. I can relate to this guy. He is the over-achiever striving for perfection. He would be a great parent and/or guardian. OCD would probably be part of his personality. If you want to get something done, Leo is your guy. His logical mind solves projects ASAP. Whatever he puts his mind to do he gets it done with gusto! I bet Congress could use someone like Leo right about now.
The purple one is Donatello. This is the analytical mathematical genius. If TMNT meets the Big Bang Theory this guy would totally relate to Sheldon! Don is the geeky nerd who knows it all in theory and also knows how to bring it to practical modalities from philosophy to science. Everyone needs a techie guy like this. He has a way of solving the most complicated puzzles. He would probably struggle with spirituality due to his need for concrete answers. This guy could work as an analyst for NASA.
Ah, and then there is my favorite orange dude: Michelangelo! This guy walks into any room and everyone loves him. He knows no strangers. He will talk to a tree and make the weeds laugh under it. He loves the outdoors, hiking, playing and being among others. If anything I could see Mikey owning an adventure-tour company, a retreat center, performing in the arts, or anything that brings people together. He is the prankster, the comedian and the one you would go to get a huge laugh. He is spiritually connected to joy! This guy, well, I can truly relate to him. He fits right into the hippie scene in Asheville. I want to be more like Michelangelo in the second half of my life.
I believe that we all have one or more qualities of the TMNT. Just like other superheroes (although I have been in some heated discussions with real comic-know-it-all’s that say these aren’t superheroes) I can get lost in their Cowabunga tactics.
I have learned to let go and enjoy the process while watching their take on many situations. Yes, they are teenagers with some rambunctious behavioral issues and that’s why Splinter (the rat) is guiding them into adulthood. But, the reality is that if we could all carry just a little bit from each persona life would be sweeter. It’s a rare moment that doesn’t bring me to laughter when I see something with a TMNT. I step into a fantasy world and ask myself, “What would Michelangelo do under these circumstances?” Then I realize that pizza always fixes everything…!