Interestein perspective: The power of comfort stories


After a long day of school, practice and homework, there’s nothing I love more than a hot shower, a comfy spot on the couch and the sound of the nostalgic Gilmore Girls “Where You Lead, I Will Follow” theme or Tinker Bell soaring around the Disney logo as Princess of the Frog boots up.

Growing up, I was introduced to shows, movies and books that quickly became sources of comfort for me. Many of them had characters I could identify with, settings I wish I could visit and an overall ambience that made me feel right at home.

My parents would playfully tease me as I checked out the same books over and over again from the library or insisted on rewatching my favorite Disney and Pixar films instead of trying something new. But with each reread or rewatch of these books or films, I only grew more absorbed into their respective fictional worlds.

I’m sure a behavior analyst would have a field day with this and probably tie it back to my fear of getting older or my attachment to childhood nostalgia, but for me, these stories simply played a large role in my growth. Watching Tangled a million times doesn’t necessarily reflect a stunted development but rather served as an outlet for younger me as I memorized the songs, recited scenes and lines and enjoyed the story time after time.

“Comfort movies don’t have to be low energy or low stakes to be soothing; they simply have to evoke a certain mood or atmosphere, or transport viewers to a world they’ll want to revisit,” according to David Sims with

It’s hard to explain the wave of comfort that washes over me when I rewatch some of these childhood films after all this time, but it’s something I’ve consistently experienced as I’ve discovered more new favorites over the years.

Taylor Swift says in “right where you left me” from evermore, “Everybody moved on [but] I stayed there.” That’s how I feel with some of these movies. In the early 2010s, I remember when everyone I knew had at least a little bit of love for High School Musical, Lemonade Mouth or Lizzie McGuire, but as the years went on, I feel like one of the few sentimental people who continues to cherish these Disney Channel classics.

Having comfort stories has shaped me as a person. I know how much all these various characters and worlds mean to me, and I would love to have the opportunity to provide these stories for others. Going into college next year with a communications, journalism or publishing major, depending on the school, all ties back to my love for sharing stories with others and providing the same delight to the next generation.

So the next time someone laughs when I suggest watching Teen Beach Movie or shakes their head when I take The Selection off my bookshelf for another re–read, I can still laugh along while acknowledging that it’s okay to want to come back to my favorite stories.

Fiction holds a special kind of power for many, and I’m forever grateful to have found various sources of it that can lift me up on even the worst of days. Having comfort books, films and shows is nothing to be ashamed of. Instead, enjoy these stories and the joy they bring.