Thursday, March 20, 2014

Frozen Blog Party: Letting it Go...or Not :}

Any of us who have children (and some of us who don't) are very familiar with the most popular song from Frozen:  "Let it Go".  It's fun and singable and has a message that many can relate to.  But is it the best stand-alone message?  

Before I start, I'd like to point out that I love belting out "Let it Go" at the top of my lungs as much as the rest of the world, and this is in no way meant to be a "bashing" post, just one to encourage us to think, and perhaps start a great discussion in the comments. :)

This song is a huge success for Disney, winning them an Oscar and becoming a world-wide phenomenon.  Why is that?  I think it largely has to do with the fact that all of us have some sort of personality quirk or flaw or some sort of issue we struggle with that makes us feel different and pressured by those around us to change.

All of us have had days where we just want to say, "Forget it!  I'm tired of trying to live up to everyone else's expectations.  I'm just going to be me, and I don't care what people think!!"

In my case, my biggest struggle would be my fight to control my weight.  Because of my genetics, height, and build, I will never be able to attain today's standards of weight and beauty (not that I would necessarily want to go that far), even if I spent every waking moment focusing on it.

On one hand, I could pull a "beginning-of-the-movie-Elsa" and hide myself away, obsessing and panicking about each little pound.  And to be completely honest, sometimes I do act this way.  There are days when I want to shut myself away in my room because nothing in my closet fits right and I feel about as lovely as a large dairy cow.  I constantly try to gage what others think of my appearance and wonder if the older ladies in my church are shaking their heads over the fact that I've really packed on the pounds in the last year or so.  That's one extreme.

Then there's the "Let it Go" moment, where I get so frustrated with living this way that I say, "Forget it!  I'm sick of dealing with this!!  I don't care what anyone thinks.  Forget rules, forget everything.  I'm just going to be free and do what I want!!"  (Which is essentially what Elsa is saying in her song.)  And then I start eating everything in sight without a care in the world...or so I convince myself.  Of course, in the back of my mind, I'm still thinking about how much I weigh and what others think and the fact that stroke and heart disease are rampant in my family.  And a few weeks later, when I go up two dress sizes, I'm not going to feel so "free".  That's the other extreme.

This is pretty much how I've made my food choices for the past few months, and the fit of my clothing proves it. :}  (I'd like to just say, though, it was so refreshing to draw a Disney character that wasn't the size of a supermodel!)

Now, as fun as it would be to throw off all restraint and live the way we want to with careless abandon and without any consequences, most of us know that things don't really work that way.  There are always results from our decisions, and to live in such extremes always costs us in the end.

Technically, I am "free" to overeat and do what I want, but I have to be willing to pay the consequences.  I have to be okay with buying bigger clothing.  I have to stop complaining about my body size and the fact that I'm too out of shape to take part in the activities I used to.  I have to be aware that my choices might affect my health in the future.  But if I were honest with myself, I would feel more enslaved than free by this lifestyle choice.  And just as I would not be truly free, Elsa was not truly free at the point of singing "Let it Go".

I don't blame her for that moment at all.  After spending her entire life stifled and paralyzed by fear and stress (mostly due to some sadly misguided parenting...but that's a whole different post), she needed that time to let everything off her chest.  And really, I think we all can use that little "LET IT GO" moment every once in a while when we're struggling with something.  The point is to move on and not get stuck in that moment. ;)

Sadly, by the time her next song rolls around, Elsa realizes that throwing caution to the wind and hiding away from everyone has not solved her problem. ("I'm such a fool, I can't be free...")  Once again, she is trapped by her fears, and she ends up hurting her sister in the middle of her breakdown/panicky moment during that song.

I think we've all been here, too (or at least I have).  When we throw off all restraint and live recklessly, we always pay in the end, whether it's that extra twenty pounds on the scale, or realizing we've unknowingly cursed an entire kingdom in eternal winter, or anything in between. :}  And sadly, when we live this way, we often hurt those closest to us, without meaning to.

But the beauty of "Frozen" is that Elsa's story doesn't end there.  She eventually comes to a balanced conclusion as the film winds down.  She doesn't have to hide who she is, but she has learned that holding everyone at arm's length and doing her own thing doesn't work either.  By controlling her powers with the love she has for her sister, she is able to enjoy who she is in a healthy way.

I will never be a size six.  However, I don't need to go eat everything in sight just because that is unattainable for me.  I need to try to eat right and exercise so I'm taking the best care of my body that I can, and then "let it go". ;)  Let go of the fears and the obsession with numbers on a scale without letting go of the self-control.

I think it's easy to get into a mindset of excess and extremes, at least for me.  I'm a very "all or nothing" type of person, as I've shared before on this blog.  If I can't be perfect, I want to give up.  What a silly way to live. ;)

As a follower of Christ, I have the added blessing of taking these concerns and cares to my Heavenly Father.  He is the best solution for the extremes I unnecessarily add to my life, and He always loves me in spite of my imperfections.

So as much as I love "Let it Go", I like to think of it in the context of the entire movie, and remember where Elsa ended up after her power ballad. :)

P.S.  Hmm, after doing this post, I'm realizing I actually can relate to Elsa a lot more than I originally thought!  :}


Juliet XD said...

I'm definitely an All-or-nothing person too :) I absolutely can't do softball throw for track, so at this point I am literally the worst on the team at that, considering the fact that I really just don't try any more. Maybe I'm not overweight, but I'm still crazy unconformable sitting next to any girl who can wear a skirt without constantly tugging it over her thighs :(

I also have some serious fun with the Frozen songs :) My best friend is named Elsa, and we sit next to each other in school. All the time, I just look over at her and go "Elsa? Do you wanna build a snowman?". Then I'll just end up singing the whole thing ;) Even better, we discover that I look a fair bit like Anna XD One time, during lunch, I told her, after singing the song, "You know I'm never going to let this go, right?". Naturally, I then starting signing Let it Go.

(PS- I love your drawing! Can I have a copy of that on my wall?)

BlackKitty said...

Wow. This is a beautiful post. You said it so well that I have nothing else to add. The fat Elsa is hilarious! But do you really think you look like a dairy cow? You aren't fooling anyone - we've all seen your outline in that AG photo ;) Of course, you should watch your health, but if the body you have now is your default size, don't be too hard on it!

beastsbelle said...

Juliet, I'm sorry to hear about your difficulties with your softball throw. It's frustrating not being able to do something as well as you want to. Just keep trying, though! Don't give up! :)

You and your friend Elsa remind me of my best friend and I. When we were in sixth grade, Aladdin came out. We could both quote the entire movie together. :} It's fun having a friend to do random movie quotes with. ;)

On the picture, are you talking about an online wall or the wall of your room? If you're talking about an online wall, feel free to use it. If you could link back here somehow if you do, that would be great. If you want it for your room wall, feel free to print it out or something. :)

Hi BlackKitty. Thank you so much. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

As far as the dairy cow reference, I was expressing how I tend to FEEL on those days, not necessarily reality. ;) I am not morbidly overweight, but I am above a healthy weight right now, largely due to a lack of self-control. The trick is to work on this issue in a non-obsessive way, and thinking more of health than appearance. :}

I'm glad you enjoyed the picture. It came to my mind earlier this week, and I had a lot of fun making it a reality. :)

Sunny_Harper1994 said...

Struggling with weight has never been a problem for me until I had my son. I had been 120 before I got pregnant but now my baby weight made me 168 and I am only 5' 2"! The hardest thing for me is to slow down the eating to be honest. I can't figure out how to switch it off, it is like my body can't understand I am not eating for two anymore. ;) I have been trying to stay on track with exercising and 8 months after baby came, I only lost about 9 pounds. I set a weekly goal to exercise for at least 30 minutes and for at least 3 days. I even write in a planner to help me remember to stay on track. It has been very helpful! Fiance even joined in on the exercising too! Lol!
I set a realistic goal to lose 140 by late May and it has been fun trying to get their. :)
Don't worry too much about it though, just keep eating healthy and exercising, your goal can be in reach.

beastsbelle said...

Having kids definitely makes keeping at a healthy weight more difficult. ;)

I'm glad that your weight loss is going well. :) I need to get my act together and get back to my exercise routine...without obsessing too much. ;)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post; it's probably not easy to share something so personal on the internet, but your views are refreshing and mature. I know I too struggle with an all-or-nothing mentality (partially due to OCD tendencies) in a lot of areas in my life, and this will be a good post to keep in mind.

Also, that Elsa picture is hilarious, and very well drawn. :)

beastsbelle said...

Thank you, Anonymous. It is difficult to be so honest about my struggles, but if it helps or encourages even one person, it's worth it. We're all in this together. :)

Glad you enjoyed the post and the picture (it was really fun to draw). :)

MyLittleMegara said...

To me, Let It Go is a faith statement. Elsa's voice seems to be saying to let go of my little problems and give them to God. Even if I'm not perfect, God still loves me and he's going to raise me up like the break of dawn. Does that make any sense? I hope it does. Just wanted to share my opinion. :)

Oh, and that Elsa pic is hilarious!

beastsbelle said...

Hi MyLittleMegara, great to hear from you on this blog! :) (By the way, Belle wishes to apologize for being so behind on her blog comment responses on Belle's Bulletins). ;)

What you said makes sense...I could see how that could apply, and I completely agree that we should let go of our problems and give them to God. I have a hard time completely interpreting the song that way because of some of the lyrics, though, especially "no right, no wrong, no rules for me, I'm free". As believers, our freedom comes from believing in Christ and following His Word, not from being free from right and wrong. I do get where you're going with it, though. :)

beastsbelle said...

Glad you liked the picture, too. :)

The Dolls said...

Aw yes, ye old; Let It Go. I really see little point in diets and such, I'm more of the: "Exercise, eat healthy, ish, and you are perfect in your won way." But I do understand,

I'm only a child, (A child in most people's opinion,) but every other girl and woman I know would pay to have a "build" and body like mine. (Because yes, I'm tall, thin, ish, and around a size six dress... :} )

But even thin girls with small bodies wish for a change.. Height, weight, etc. It's normal, my opinion, (As written in this Let It Go parody I made):

It's funny how some people, think thin is always best! But once I clear those thoughts out, I don't mind the size of my dress!

It's time for people to see you, to overcome the ideas and break through! No right no wrong, no diet for me!

We're free! Let it go! Let it go! There is no perfect size! Let it go! Let it go! No reasons to cry!!

And that, is my little 'Let it Go' parody, and bashing of modern weight and size opinions. ;)

beastsbelle said...

Very nice, Abbie. :) I actually am not into "dieting", either. The times I have succeeded with weight loss have been when I've made a healthy lifestyle change with my eating. The key is just to stick with it, because it's very easy to fall back into old unhealthy habits. :)

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

MyLittleMegara said...

Thanks, Beast'sbelle! I've also been enjoying Jane Austen and Unicorns (I started it this morning) and your blog, although I haven't gone into it quite as much. I've really been enjoying all of them- please pass the word on to Belle, Tess, and Maggie! :D

Jen said...

I do like your take on Let it Go, and balancing its message against Elsa’s character arc as a whole. You are right – as triumphant as the song is, it’s only a half-triumph, and needs to be tempered by Elsa’s return to responsibility and maturity at the end of the movie.

So of course I had to stop and think *why*, of all the songs, Let It Go was the one that I latched onto. One thing I love about that sequence is the sheer joy on Elsa’s face as she starts to create the ice palace – she’s not destroying, not hurting –
she’s creating. She’s not being a monster, she’s being an artist. Of course, she is unknowingly causing destruction, but in those moments, she's taking what has caused her nothing but fear and pain and isolation for most of her life, and using it to create something beautiful.

And so I look at it less as a song of rebellion, and more as a song about learning to embrace the unique talents you’ve been given, and breaking through your fears to achieve new and wonderful things.

And, of course, it’s always nice to see a Disney song that a) is about a woman’s feelings of self-
acceptance, and b) that isn’t tied to a guy in any way, shape, or form!

Just my overly wordy take on things - and best of luck with your struggles! As someone who loves all things deep-fried far more than I should, I am right here with you, and hoping you get to a good place soon!

beastsbelle said...

You're welcome, MyLittleMegara. :) I'll be sure to pass the message along to Tess, Maggie and Belle. Tess and Maggie have been super behind on blogging in the past few months, but they're hoping to get back into it soon. ;)

Jen, thanks for stopping by. I agree that it is wonderful to see the relief and joy on Elsa's face as she has the freedom to truly use her powers for the first time. As I said in the post, the poor girl needed that time after feeling so trapped and panicked all her life.

I'm not against "Let it Go", but I prefer it in the context of the movie. I guess when I was talking about it being "rebellious", I was thinking of what the message of the song would be if listened to without the rest of the movie, if that makes sense. ;)

I'm just always thrilled when a Disney movie has a good solo to sing along with. ;) It was never easy to sing something from "Beauty and the Beast", because there wasn't really a song where Belle sang by herself, aside from "Belle (Reprise)", which wasn't quite as fun to sing. ;)

Of course, I was considering doing a Frozen song cover on YouTube as part of the blog party, and "Let it Go", as the main female solo, seemed like the obvious choice. However, I tried a trial recording of "Let it Go" and it was pathetic. :} Most of the last chorus is in my range where my voice changes, so I really can't belt things out like Elsa does in the song (I'm not really a "belty" singer, anyway). It sounded like Fluttershy singing "Let it Go". ;) Maybe I'll skip the song cover. :}

As far as getting to a good place,to be honest, just talking about it here has been extremely helpful. I tend to bottle all this stuff in, so getting it out in the open is always a great way for me to move on and start doing something about it!! ;)

MyLittleMegara said...

Fluttershy... singing "Let It Go"... omigosh that sounds like the most adorable thing ever!!!!! I'm getting this hilarious mental image... okay, moving on.

It's great that you'd love to make a cover! Maybe you should try just the beginning of "For the First Time in Forever" or one of the deleted songs, like "More Than Just the Spare." Although I'm sure your "Let It Go" would be lovely. It's just if you want other ideas!

I'm actually singing "Let It Go" as a choir project right now. :D

beastsbelle said...

What a fun choir project, MyLittleMegara! :) I'd love to have an excuse to "have" to practice Frozen songs. ;)

I don't know if I'll pull off the cover or not...I'll have to see how things go in the next couple of days. Good suggestions, though. :)

MyLittleMegara said...

It would've been a lot better if my voice didn't decide to crack and give out halfway through... ah, well, it was still fun! And I did love "having" to sing "Let It Go" semi-constantly. :)

My friend and I are doing a cover of "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman/ Of Course I Wanna Build A Snowman," but we've only ever had time to practice video recording my part (Anna's part. My friend is Elsa- we're also planning a group Frozen cosplay with one of our guy friends as Olaf... we're all completely obsessed. :D)

You're welcome! ;)

beastsbelle said...

Oh, that's the worst! But hey, if it makes you feel any better, Idina's voice cracked at the Oscar's performance, and she's the one who originally sang the song! ;) None of us are perfect.

I hope your cover and cosplay go well...that sounds so fun!

MyLittleMegara said...

Thanks. I remember seeing that video- Idina's amazing. It did make me feel better about my little mishap. :D

Me too- thanks!

beastsbelle said...

Glad to help! :)

Anonymous said...

What I've wanted to say for a long time:

Me (a 12 year old girl with blue streaks in her hair)=/=the norm x idiots.

THAT MAKES NO SENSE BUT THIS POST IS AWESOME!!! And that drawing was me on Christmas, except she wasn't puking up Hershey's.

beastsbelle said...

Ooh, Anonymous, that doesn't sound like a very fun Christmas! :{ Hope you were still able to have a good holiday with your family.

Thanks for stopping by. :)