Finding Dory in You (and Me)

If you saw Finding Nemo (2003) and the sequel Finding Dory (2016), you know that Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) is a blue tang with short-term memory loss. In the first movie, she accompanied a clownfish named Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) on an impossible journey. In the sequel, she went on yet another impossible journey that I won’t spoil here.


I thought about Dory recently, because I acquired this Dory vinyl figure.

Dory had some of the funniest lines in Finding Nemo. Though her character was endearing, I found her a little annoying, because she would rush off without thinking through anything. That aspect didn’t change in Finding Dory.

On the Dory wiki, I found this description

[H]er optimism proves an invaluable quality to help overcome the impossible. To Dory, the glass is always half-full.

Marlin, the doubtful dad ruled by fear, is pretty much her opposite. While Dory’s motto could be, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” a good one for Marlin is, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”—Murphy’s law. I can relate to that.

I’m like Marlin—cautious to nth degree. But that’s not necessarily a good thing. After all, some of the greatest achievements come through taking a risk.

Dory knew that. She would rush into action, never once doubting that she could accomplish what she set out to do.

In Finding Dory, two characters in trouble asked each other, “What would Dory do?” They admired Dory’s ability to think outside the box and persevere through incredible obstacles.

I have to admit that Dory’s can-do spirit annoyed me at times. But if I’m honest, I have to say I’m not really annoyed with her. I’m annoyed with myself. Can do? It only takes one rejection to turn my can do into “I guess I can’t,” which leads to “Nope. Not trying that again.”

But Dory never met a challenge she didn’t accept.

With Independence Day coming up on Tuesday, I can’t help thinking of the risks taken and the battles fought to bring about this independence. What would Dory do? She would have taken any risk to be free.

So it’s time for me to shed my Marlin approach to life. Time for me to turn the “Not trying that again” into “You know? I think I will.”

What about you? Do you think of yourself as Dory—can do, will do? Or Marlin—don’t try and you won’t fail? Or are you like Nemo—ready to do whatever Dory does? Or maybe you’re like Becky—just carrying a bucket ’cause somebody asked you to? (See the movie if you’re wondering who Becky is.)

Maybe, like me, you’re inspired to find the Dory in you.

(Having internet problems right now, so I will sign off for now.)

A great article on blue tangs:

Finding Nemo poster from Finding Dory poster from Becky from Marlin from Dory vinyl figure photos by L. Marie.


32 thoughts on “Finding Dory in You (and Me)

  1. Definitely more of a Marlin. Every time I try to be a Dory, things either go south or the people around me rush in to make sure things don’t work. It’s probably smarter to be in the middle. Marlin only means you don’t go anywhere and it leaves you open to the influence of those you may see as more confident. Dory only is tough because things do go wrong in life. We can’t always have good luck like her. A lot of her victories came from something being in the right place at the right time.

  2. From p. 457 of “Do It! Let’s Get Off Our Buts” . . .

    To fulfill our Dream, we need only examine our life and do two things:

    1. More of what works.
    2. Less of what doesn’t.

  3. This is such a cool take on these movies – my nieces are obsessed with them, hope Dory rubs off on them! I’m all Dory all the way, which I wouldn’t change though occasionally a little bit of thinking before I act wouldn’t hurt 😂

  4. Great post!
    While I seem to be more of a Marlin, there have been and still are times in my life when I am definitely Dory. I see her more and more as I look back on my life.

    I ran for class president as an 8th grader, against a very popular and cute boy. I knew I would lose, but, I did it anyways. It taught me to lose gracefully. I managed to lose quite a few more youth elections, but, later in life one, quite handsomely, a seat in a local election, 3 times.

    Around the same age, I was paired up with a group of popular girls to do a skit for a church recital. It was a terrible misfit of 13 year old girls. All good dancers, they decided to do a ballet. Sigh. I kept my fears to myself and somehow decided I needed to make the best of it. Oh, L. Marie, I was the perfect foil. The other girls, with their budding figures, all dressed the part. I, on-the-other-hand, put on a pair of red galoshes, white tights, and a tattered tutu and managed a very funny Lucy impression while twirling about and attempting the barre. Just about a year ago, one of the girls “friended” me on Facebook. She privately wrote me a note, apologizing for putting me in the position all those years ago, which I found touching and appreciated, which I told her, and then went on to say that the experience made me a stronger person and showed me how to poke fun at myself and make the most of a situation. The best part of it was that my father, laughing and not knowing what I had been up to, came up to me afterwards, gave me a big hug, and said he had no idea I was a comedienne. 🙂

    There. I rambled on and on, yet again. Just imagine me in those red boots and please forgive me the length of this reply.

    • Oh Penny, what a wonderful story! Learning to lose gracefully–what a great lesson! I love the fact that you decided to move forward regardless of the outcome. And look at the results. One person made amends. And you had excellent practice for running a winning campaign.

      I especially love the description of that outfit you wore. Your father sounds awesome!

      I was elected class secretary in seventh grade. But my political career came to a close after that. 😀

      • There were many lessons learned, for sure.
        My father was awesome, indeed.

        It was quite the “get up”. Years later, as an adult, I ran into the father of one of the girls. Actually, I was giving a commencement speech at a middle school. I’d noticed someone had a video camera on me, which was rather unsettling. Who films school board members? haha It was the father, now a grandfather, of one of the girls. He came up to meet later, I recognized him, we hugged and had a nice chat – then he said, I still have the film of you as a ballerina!

  5. I like the character of Dory, Linda. Is not luck smiling at the audacious?
    But it is certain that a minimum of reflection and judgment avoids catastrophes! 🙂
    Love ❤

    • You make me smile, Laura. 😀

      I had a great fourth. I went to a BBQ at my in-laws’. Relatives they hadn’t met before came also. We had great great conversations and celebrated my niece’s birthday. Hope you had a good one!

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