My friend Billie posted on Facebook that she was at the new Disney movie Frozen with her niece and nephew on Wednesday. I was driving to pick up my nephew to take him, and my parents were taking my niece. I’m new to this world of animated Disney movies. I always lived away and didn’t have young people to take to children’s movies nor to tolerate the re-watching incessantly when they got home. My siblings used to laugh at me when I was home for the holidays and the kids would be spellbound in front of the TV watching the same movie as they did three hours ago. “Didn’t they just watch this?” I’d ask, confused. They’d laugh at me with my parental ignorance. I actually didn’t know Frozen was an animated Disney movie. I had offered to take my nephew to a movie for his July birthday, and this is what he chose. I get it now.
We showed up for the 2:30 feature around 2 PM. That shows what a Disney movie moron I am. It was sold out, of course. But, thankfully, they had a much more expensive 3D version available at 4:30, so we signed up with my credit card and went to grab a bite to eat and wait for the start of the Frozen adventure story. Plied with a large popcorn and two large drinks the size of a liter Coke, we sat and waited with the rest of the children and adults while trailer after trailer played before our eyes. Bryce had told me there would be 20 minutes of trailers, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many. There was a film short that played before the movie that is the best short film I’ve ever seen. It is worth going to see Frozen just to see that film short. “How did they do that,” Bryce kept exclaiming during its run. I’m not going to spoil it, but don’t get to the movie late. You won’t want to miss it. Here’s the trailer:
I saw the Lion King when it came out on my own. I was intrigued by this whole Disney thing, and I wanted to experience it. I was amazed at the adult themes in the movie. I was expecting a cute cartoon, but there was death and grieving and bonding and all kinds of “lessons” that were quite astounding in their simplicity. I found myself thinking, “the moral of the story is…. “. Well, the moral of the story Frozen is one I’ve lived and learned more about than I ever wanted to know. I found myself amazed not only by the beauty of the animation with its icy castles and snow, but at the adult theme that was painting a visual picture of a battle I fought not too many years ago.
I’m not going to tell the story, but Anna and Elsa are sisters, and Elsa has powers that freeze anything in front of her and anything she touches whenever she “feels”. Her mantra is Conceal don’t feel, a debilitating symptom of co-dependency and a precursor for most addictions. This causes her to lock herself away, disconnected from her sister who loves her. Eventually, she has to let it out in a fit of pent-up rage and sets the countryside into an eternal winter. She flees and “ice-olates” herself in a gorgeous ice castle where she can finally be herself … alone. Her sister, with her own issues and desperation for finding love sets out on her own growth path, giving herself away in love to anyone who is interested with no boundaries to protect her delicate heart.
When I moved to Michigan, I had a friend who was very gifted in spiritual allegory. In a profound description of where I was in my life, she told me that saw me, sitting alone in a castle. The town was down below, on the edge of a forest, and there was dancing and fun for all. But, I sat alone in my castle until I packed my bags and moved further into the forest … and then packed again and moved further into the forest … deepening my own journey of isolation. But, she told me – and I couldn’t understand it at the time – that the irony was that I was not being authentic to myself. She told me that I was the type of person that wanted to be at the party in the town, surrounded by people and dancing. I remember crying when she told me that because my level of social anxiety and fear of being liked was so paralyzing that I had no idea how I would ever do that. But, she promised I could change it. And, I started my own journey of de-icing that still continues today.
I’ve also been Anna. Desperate for love and acceptance because of my isolation, I got involved in relationships with lots of space and no real intimacy. I so related to both of these characters, and their journey back home was so much simpler on screen than it was in real life. Filled with drama and adventure, beauty and pain, it was an hour and a half allegory of my life. I LOVED it. The music and the songs were filled with phrases and words I know from my own recovery and growth path …. conceal don’t feel … don’t let them in, don’t let them see, be the good girl you always have to be … standing frozen in the life I’ve chosen, you won’t find me ….
My favorite song and moment in the movie is when Elsa finally lets her power go and accepts who she is. She still has a lot of growing to do because at this point she is further isolating. She hasn’t learned how to control her own power in the midst of relationship. Because she’s never practiced being who she is, feeling her emotions AND being in relationship at the same time, she is destructive – freezing the world with every jolt of fear and every blast of anger that she feels. But, she is at last free in her extraordinary ice castle built by her own hands. And, she is really, really beautiful. It’s amazing how beautiful people become when they stand in their power. Beauty really is an inside job. I know that feeling of being free … of finally letting go of the expectations that others have for me … of being who I am and saying …. really saying and meaning it … like me or not, I am free.
Bryce and I both left singing “let it go … let it go …”. He tried to explain the thrill of the movie and the essence of the characters to his parents. They, of course couldn’t quite grasp it. It’s a “you had to be there” sort of thing, but I went home and purchased the soundtrack off iTunes and burned a copy of the CD for my niece and nephew. We were all singing the mantra, “let it go … let it go … ” at Thanksgiving. My mood was heightened by the excitement of remembering my own journey out of my castle and seeing it so beautifully played out on the big screen. I won’t spoil the ending, but, just like real life, the path out of isolation and desperation to be loved is always … always … true love. I’m a girl who grew up with Cinderella where true love comes from a man with a glass slipper. But this movie, in a more mature story line, shows true love coming from within yourself and the journey really being about learning to love yourself and others. I had a friend the other day that told me, “You are a social butterfly. You are so full of life. It is inspiring to watch.” Well, it hasn’t always been that way. I, too, have been frozen in an ice castle built from my own hands… afraid to feel … and by hiding my fear and anger, I also hid my love. It’s a practice – this trip from ice-olation to love. In the words of Elsa:
It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all
Up here in the cold thin air I finally can breathe
I know I left a life behind but I’m too relieved to grieve
Enjoy this video of Let it Go by singer Idina Menzel. I dare you not to get hooked!