13 Times Toy Story’s Rex Was Your Anxiety-Ridden Spirit Dinosaur
Despite being about, you know, literal toys, the Toy Story movies boast one of the most human casts of characters in animation history. From Woody’s very real struggle to feel relevant in a home that has grown without him to Buzz’s never-ending search for self-definition, these are fully-formed characters who make us feel things.
But no one—not even Slinky Dog—captures my spirit quite like Rex, the relatable plastic Tyrannosaurus who has spent three Toy Story films just trying to go about his daily life while struggling with crippling anxiety. Whether he’s trying to break in to Al’s Toy Barn or just trying to figure out how to nail a signature sound, Rex is always fretting something… and most of the time, it’s entirely in his head!
Below, all the times in Toy Story that Rex kept it real for those of us on the DSM—and the many lessons we learned from him:
1. When he tried his best to roar like crazy, but his nerves greatly impacted his performance
He had it in him all along, of course. But as any anxiety-sufferer knows, it’s hard to truly let it go when your internal monologue is telling you you’re worthless.
2. When his crippling self-doubt became a nuisance to his fellow toys
Impostor syndrome is no joke… and can become a self-fulfilling prophecy if you let it.
3. When he spent his free time playing out a zillion different outcomes in his brain…
Running through every single disastrous outcome for hours on end? Nope, I’ve never done that…
4. … Most of them involving a world far worse than the one he was living in now…
Yes, things could get better, but they could also totally get worse.
5. But then it all worked out OK, and the worrying was for nothing
Now, on to the next thing to worry about!
6. When he got so caught up in his perceived shortcomings that it negatively impacted his end goal: to defeat Evil Emperor Zurg
Sometimes, a deep breath is all you need. Just remember that you are enough.
7. When he worried about the final outcome, instead of focusing on what he could control in the meantime
Maybe if Rex had focused on putting one leg in front of the other instead of on the overwhelming task of defeating Evil Emperor Zurg, the whole process would have been less daunting.
8. When he automatically assumed that every other toy was more put-together than him
Buzz Lightyear has his own issues… and so do all of those people you obsess over via Facebook and Instagram.
9. When he got so nervous about where the toys would end up, that Sunnyside Daycare felt like a relief, because at least the uncertainty was over
You have to learn to live with—and even celebrate—life’s many uncertainties. But for someone with anxiety, who almost always thinks that change will bring about something awful, this is no easy task.
10. When he doubted his own usefulness at Al’s Toy Barn
… But guess what? They never would have rescued Woody without him. And that’s a fact.
11. When he spent three movies doubting his self-image, only to learn that Andy considered him “the meanest, most terrifying dinosaur who ever lived”
Sometimes, when the anxiety and self-doubt take over, just look at your radically awesome friends and family: if they believe in you—like how Andy believed in Rex—why shouldn’t you treat yourself the same way?
12. Like, seriously, have you EVER met a creature more ferocious?
13. Do your worst, Evil Doctor Porkchop