Frozen came out in November of 2013 and girls ate it up. It's a movie about two powerful women, Anna, who is funny and resourceful and brave and Elsa, the queen, who has scary but amazing powers and who sings a kick-ass song. 2014 iced over with all things Frozen, the costumes, the toys, the music. Then there was the inevitable backlash - "If I have to hear that song one more time...!!" regarding "Let it go."
I was at a distance to the movie as Harper was only two when it came out. We watched it via our screener in 2013 and enjoyed it, but never watched it again until a few months ago when Harper wanted to watch "Anna and Elsa" (as she calls it). I really love the movie and never get tired of seeing it.* Now she wants to hear the music on its own in the car and I'm happy to oblige as we drive to preschool.
But here's what I didn't expect - that I would listen to Let It Go on repeat all the way home by myself. I theorize that for every one person who says "I never want to hear that song again!" there are another fifty who secretly listen to it alone in their cars or showers, belting it out as they drive or shampoo.
Most of us women of a certain age have been brought up to be good girls, to follow the rules, to not make waves, to do what you're told and as Elsa says, "conceal, don't feel." And as wives and moms, we are expected to be perfect, understanding caregivers to the kids, ever smiling and generous partners to our spouses. As women in the work force, we are expected to work harder, then wait longer for the reward for all that work. It's ingrained in us good girls not to complain, not to get mad, not to reveal the true powers at our very cores.
And we are powerful! And that power can be scary at times, but it can move mountains -- heck, it can create mountains. When used wisely, it can make miracles. And listening to Elsa discovering her tremendous powers and throwing off that symbolic cape, I'll be honest-- it brings tears to my eyes.
Every time I hear the song, a different line will speak to me. It's like each day I get a new idea to meditate on. Lately this speaks to me: "It's time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through." My own inner barriers are coming down, sometimes I smash through the stone walls, sometimes I can only chip away with tweezers, but I'm always working on breaking out of my fear and finding my true strengths.
If you've watched the movie, you know that Elsa does go overboard (She freezes Arendelle over in the middle of summer). I rarely like to criticize my homegirls when they break out, lean in, stand up, but there are a few limits in the real world. Elsa says, "It's time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through" which is great, but then follows up with, "No right, no wrong, no rules for me!" Well, as much as this good girl does like to break a few rules now and then, I still know that I can't break them all. I can't actually live in an ice palace, alone, at the top of a mountain. (Though I think I could rock that dress.)
But sometimes the pendulum does need to swing too far to really break down the walls. Let's not forget that awesome phrase by the amazing Rear Admiral Grace Hopper: "It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission." Let's go get what we want, test our power, break through our (mostly imagined) limits. I know from experience that it's a lot less scary once you get to there and then you have the courage to keep racing forward.
As Elsa says, "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, that perfect girl is gone."
In her place is a powerful, courageous, graceful, beautiful woman. That is all of us!
Watch the the Idina Menzel version of Let It Go here.
*I'm lucky because Harper never stays fixated on one movie too long. Frozen is usually in rotation with Cars or Kung Fu Panda or Curious George.
At this moment my favorite scene is "big summer blowout!"