Many of us have been impacted by a song, right? A particular song that resonates with us for a particular reason; whether it’s the lyrics or the story behind the song itself that makes us relate to a time in our lives or a feeling we have had.
How often is it that we are moved by a Disney song? Not often. Sure, we all enjoy “Hakuna Matata” and wish we could live life with no worries. Enter the recent release of “Frozen” and the song “Let It Go” that is sweeping the world by storm (pun intended).
We, ourselves, rarely get to the movie theaters these days, and despite a strong desire to want to view “Frozen” based on the repeat trailers on TV, we never made it. A friend lent us a pirated, flea-market copy of the movie and the six year old resident of my house insisted on watching it IMMEDIATELY.
The quality of the illegal copy of the movie was just terrible, but the movie devoured me from the get go and my attention span overlooked the dark and fuzzy screen in front of me. The story line of two young sisters captivated me and before I knew it, I was mesmerized by the song of the lead character, Elsa in “Let It Go”.
Listening to the lyrics, I felt the pull on my heartstrings as Elsa sings about hiding her emotions, shoving the strong feelings deep down inside so no one else may see anything but the strong exterior.
“The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know”
Why are many young girls and young women forced to put on that strong exterior? I personally recall the need to be that perfect daughter to my parents. Having the odds stacked against me from my hearing loss at age 4 made my desire to be perfect that much stronger, and the need to please my parents was my ultimate goal. I am unsure where the need to be perfect started or how, but the stories about how my half- siblings from both of my parents’ prior marriages made me want to be that “good” girl that did everything right. I heard often about how these siblings made mistakes, from getting pregnant at an early age to having alcohol/drug problems to moving out and being independent at seventeen. My parents placed extremely high expectations on me, as well as even tougher restrictions so that I would be that “good” girl.
Being bullied in grade school for my hearing loss also fed my desire to be the perfect child. With each taunt thrown my way, I pushed harder to excel in my academics and I was successful by skipping fifth grade as a result. I ran harder and scored more in my co-ed soccer games, because whatever the boys could do, I could do better. I ran faster because I was told I could not.
However, the physical abuse I suffered, namely at my mother’s expense, forced me to protect myself by hiding deep within my being. I could not escape the beatings. After being hit on my little body with everything from her hand, to cast iron pots, to wooden dowels and wooden clogs, I was forced to hide the blood, the welts and the humiliation by keeping these feelings all locked away. Why did my mom beat me? At the time, I did not know and the answers were clearly nowhere to be found until a bit later in my life (see: www.curvygirls2012.blogspot.com/2012/09/not-all-mothers-are-created-alike.html)
In my later twenties I realized that I did not have to be that perfect person; and that in fact, being perfect was actually boring. I like the quirky quirks of my being! However, I still shoved my feelings deeper down within myself and used food as an emotional clutch to literally stuff away any uncomfortable emotions. Conceal, don’t feel, right? Isn’t that what I was indirectly taught by my mother?
Just how much did I conceal? Frankly, way too much. My life had gotten very much out of control and despite compliments from friends on how I seemed so well put together for a woman who had a full time, very demanding corporate career, two young children at the time, aging and ill parents living with me, coaching soccer and all the other *stuff* that comes with being an adult woman.
“Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care
What they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway”
How do I admit that during the 2003-2007 years, my commute to and from work were often laden with thoughts on how I needed to just check out of my life for a bit. Yes, I had those actual thoughts: if I could only escape the day- to-day burdens that were literally weighing me down, even if just for a small bit of time it would be glorious. I was tired of putting on “the face” and plowing through my life without living. Ah, careful what you wish for, as I was given a cancer diagnosis shortly thereafter. As a result, I was forced to literally check out of my life for the raging roller coaster ride through Cancerland during an unexpected pregnancy.
“It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all.”
Despite my illness and the fact that it brought my life as I knew it to a screeching halt, it really put everything into relevant perspective. When I actually feared I had no control over my life, it was crystal clear lesson that I possessed that power all along, but I simply had no idea how to use that strength to my benefit.
The next five years after the diagnosis proved more difficult to cope with the suffocating emotions that came to the surface. Cancer deaths surrounded me in friends and family close by. My father’s dementia and my inability to care for him were hurtful, and I wondered if I did the right thing by having him move out of my home and into senior living. My mother was thriving in her senior housing, but the emotional mind games she continued to play with me were overwhelming at best. I was still operating under the “conceal, don’t feel.” I STILL function as a matter of being hard-wired that way to shove my ugly or uncomfortable feelings way down deep into my belly (that is the blame of my thick mid-section, not the food I consumed when I could not cope). <Insert eye-ball roll.>
2014 brings a new year of embracing a new motto: Facing my fears, feeling them, not feeding them, and finally moving on from these ill feelings. My parents have both passed away, my dad in 2011 and my mom in 2013. Why are the unhealthy patterns and emotions they inflicted still regularly surfacing in emotions that I encounter? Is it not time to just let it go?
“My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back,
The past is in the past
Let it go, let it go
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone”
The past is in the past. INDEED! That perfect girl is gone. VOILA! Rebecca, it’s really as simple as singing the lyrics of this Disney song!
“It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand
And here I’ll stay
Let the storm rage on”
Here I stand. Here I’ll stay. You bet your ass, I will. Time to believe I can.
I have surpassed being an abused child. I have grown from being bullied by my unfortunate hearing impairment. I am stronger than ever after pushing through a raging cancer diagnosis. I am free from the emotional turmoil of my parents.
However, being the over-analytical thinker that I am – how do I teach this lesson to my children; especially my daughters? Don’t we all wish for our children to be empowered and carry this message with them now and continually throughout their lives. Don’t we want our kids to NOT wake up and be forty one day and be in a better place than we are now? I want my children to be strong emotionally but also be equipped and have the ability to let it go. There will be storms all around them during their growing years, but shouldn’t we enable them to stand strong and stay firm during the swirling winds of adversity?
How do I teach my children the opposite of conceal, don’t feel when that is all I have ever known? Am I a hypocrite to instruct them to let it go when I still struggle myself? Perhaps we will rise together, face our fears as one and weather the storm in unison.
Watching as “Frozen” takes our nation by windstorm and as the song, “Let It Go” continues to gain momentum and popularity, I smile and I am warmed as thousands of young girls hear the message behind the empowering lyrics.
Are YOU ready to LET IT GO?
Watch as the world does it, here:
Here’s two adorable twins doing THEIR version: http://youtu.be/JfMBcIVU6Rw
Watch the national sing-along here: http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/let-gma-hosts-epic-frozen-sing-long-event-132119661–awards.html
Here’s the official (UK) Disney video: http://youtu.be/iEKLFS-aKcw
Here’s my youngest showing us how to “Let It Go”: http://youtu.be/iUpMpeU_u_g