Painting heart-cries, word by word

What I Hear in “Let It Go” (Yes, this is about the movie, Frozen.) March 18, 2014

My family is slow to see the newest films, mostly because we aren’t a very movie-theater-friendly group. When your youngest is one year and your oldest is seven-and-a-half, the possibility for disaster is exponential. Therefore, I am very, very late to the bandwagon of blog posts about the movie, Frozen.

As far as review goes, my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My kids thought it was fantastic. The humor was clean (I’m lookin’ at you, Shrek), the characters grew and changed, the story was a fascinating expression of “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen, and the songs were brilliant. It was more like a musical than the typical animated kids film, which was a pleasant surprise for me. I love musicals!

One song, of course, stands out more than the rest. “Let It Go” is written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and sung by Idina Menzel. The character Queen Elsa has just exposed her magical ability to manipulate snow and ice in front of her subjects and she sings about the next chapter in her life. From a young age, her father coached her to conceal her gift and separate herself from emotion. The more emotional she was, the more her gift would explode out of her. Elsa is fearful of the hurt she can do (and has done) to her dearest loved ones and to her kingdom. She can’t control her ability. She can’t control how she feels.

And then one day, her choice to hide behind the palace gates is taken. Everyone sees what she can do. Everyone is frightened, including Elsa. So she runs away. She hides in isolation, just as she was taught to do by her father, only now she’s on a mountaintop instead of in her room. On the mountain, she feels a rush, a release. There’s no point in trying to make her power disappear. Alone, she is able to explore her power without hurting anyone.

To me, this is actually a complex part of the movie and of Elsa’s development as a character. As a child, she learned quickly and desperately how to remove her existence from the rest of the world (and even from her sister). She tried to pull her power inwards, tried to control how much it scared her, tried to tame it. With the urging of her parents, Elsa learned to keep everyone out—for THEIR safety as well as her own. But she also received a special prophecy by a troll that it was fear which would consume and destroy her.

Rather than explore what drives out fear, her family embraced fear and held it close. Elsa was a slave to fear. As an adult, when her parents were dead and gone, her sister was desperate for relationship of any kind, and her kingdom needed an involved and confident leader, Elsa was unable to rise to the challenge. She buckled under the pressure. Her fear ruled her, as it always had, and she ran away.

And so, alone on the snowy mountain, in her element of power and far from anybody who feared her, she sings this:

“The snow glows white on the mountain tonight,

not a footprint to be seen.

A kingdom of isolation and it looks like I’m the queen.

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!

Let it go, let it go!

Can’t hold it back any more.

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.

It’s funny how some distance,

makes everything seem small.

And the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all

It’s time to see what I can do,

to test the limits and break through.

No right, no wrong, no rules for me.

I’m free!

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’ll stand, and here I’ll stay.

Let the storm rage on.

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

Here I stand, in the light of day.

Let the storm rage on!

The cold never bothered me anyway…”

(Read more: Idina Menzel – (Disney’s Frozen) Let It Go Lyrics | MetroLyrics)

My soul soared while she sang this song. I’ve seen people describe it as an anthem and that is how it feels. But as she slams the doors of her newly created ice palace, a look of cool confidence on her face, I felt a pang.

Yes, I want to “let it go” sometimes. I want to feel wild and free and able to explore all my potential without fear.

But…it doesn’t work that way. You aren’t freer on the mountain top than behind the closed palace door. You’re still shutting people out, still pulling away. Her frozen powers built embellished walls for her prison.

And that’s what I love about this scene. Elsa is experiencing the exhilaration of releasing responsibility, but it comes at the same price which crushed her since she was a girl. It comes at the price of relationship. It costs her a real life.

This is an invaluable analogy for us, especially us ladies and girls. We would love to toss responsibility and consequences to the wind—we all would, at some point or other in our lives. And in this scene, in this anthem, we yearn to feel Elsa’s pseudo-freedom, to feel her exhilaration. If the movie ended there, if it said, “Well done, Queen Elsa. Go pursue your self-improvement, far from the expectations and needs of others. Become one with yourself. You don’t need anyone!”—I would hate this movie. I would hate it for the lies.

But Elsa doesn’t stay there. She learns to love and BE loved by the sacrifice of her sister (another blog post in itself), and she accepts her part in the world. She is forced to leave her ice castle on the mountain, but she also does not go back there.

It is vital for us to see this for ourselves. The allure of not caring is so strong sometimes. But the price of escape is self-imprisonment. You won’t be better off alone. You’ll just be alone. And you’ll never know what you were truly able to do. Elsa doesn’t discover how to complement her kingdom with her power until she uses love as her source. Instead of making an ornate barred door, she creates an ice rink in summer and saves the comedic sidekick snowman, Olaf, by giving him his own “personal flurry.” (I do wish they had explored how her magical ability fits into ruling her kingdom a little more, but you can’t have everything it seems!)

The only real exploration of your potential is in putting it to use in LOVE.

I do love this song. I love it for being poignant, for being honest, for so accurately encapsulating all I’ve longed to feel as I get weighed down by the struggle against fear. But most of all, I love it for being proven wrong.

Fear and Love do not coexist. Being alone is not freedom. Exhilaration is not true joy, and is swiftly swept away by the fear that sent you out in the cold and built your ice castle.

You were designed for self-sacrificing brotherhood. It is hard. It is exhausting sometimes. But stay, sisters. Stay! When you let go of the fear, you let love in. And love makes all the difference.


Oh My, So Talented! July 19, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — verbosevictoria @ 9:24 am
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Isn’t it odd what our culture deems to be talent? The value placed on different abilities, the standard of excellence and proficiency… It’s not consistent with actual value. It’s all very consumer oriented.

For example, people with a high intelligence in interpersonal communication are extremely and practically valuable. They are the people who act as diplomats in any and every situation, reading emotions and evaluating possibilities for compromise, facilitating connections between eternal beings forging their ways through time. That is pretty crazy awesome. It might be come through as the gel that holds a group of diverse friends together. It might be a high pressure job of talking with difficult commercial clients to ensure future investment. It may even be a mom who can diffuse the fights between her grown siblings so that Christmas is actually pleasant for everybody. Blessed are the peacemakers!

And yet, if those very same people can’t show a few letters of education after their name, if they aren’t musically inclined, if they don’t tell hilarious stories at parties, if they aren’t the best at getting a job done efficiently, if their social climb is more like a random meander–they tend to feel useless and aimless. Nobody puts an ad in the classifieds: “WANTED: Person skilled at peacemaking and making friends. Job qualifications may be varied and difficult to explain, but will be readily apparent to those with high intelligence in good conversation.” And if that ad DOES appear, nobody thinks it’s a legit opportunity. That sounds like baloney.

It’s so much easier to point to the talent we are used to valuing, but why do we value it ABOVE other talents?

Church is the worst for this sometimes. If you can sing well, obviously you could do worship team. If you can plan well, obviously you could help organize a ministry or work in the office. If you have a way with kids, you could devote the rest of your life to working in the nursery because let’s face it–nobody else really wants that job. (I am only kind of kidding.)

But if you’re “just” really good at being a supportive friend, you may feel like there is no spot in the puzzle where you fit. It’s not true but it FEELS true.

If you’re “just” really good at asking questions, you may feel like talent is something you will never have. Again, not true but it FEELS true.

If you’re “just” a very loyal person, the one who consistently shows up week after week and lends a hand whenever possible, you may feel like you are expendable. NOT TRUE. But it can sure feel that way.

I wish we spent more time in grade school and college and everyday conversation considering how MANY types of intelligence there are. People are proficient in so many ways! It’s such a shame to limit recognition of it to those who entertain or make our lives more comfortable. Yes, concert pianists and video game designers are talented. And that’s fantastic. I wouldn’t want a world without great writers, great painters, great inventors, great philosophers, etc.

But can we all agree to open our eyes and see what ELSE is out there?!


What is something you are talented in that you never felt was worth recognizing? Example: I can make most people feel at ease within a couple minutes of talking with them because God gave me the eyes to see something interesting in everyone. It isn’t worth making a Youtube video about, but I know He uses me through it.

Next time, let’s talk about using talents. 🙂


Freewrite [6] August 22, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — verbosevictoria @ 10:21 am
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Life is a many-colored thing. I have so much going on outside my control and so much going on inside as well, it amazes me how this manages to be but one life and that not even 30 years old. People are complicated. Relationships between people? Downright convoluted. Communication is our only hope, I think, and there aren’t many artists of communication. How does this all come together at all? I mean, forget science and evolution vs. creation battles–the sheer necessity and difficulty of relationships convinces me the world must be held together by God Himself. We would have died out long ago if not for Him.

And then, on the other side, I am baffled by how simple the solutions are. Be transformed into someone who cares and then take it one step at a time.

Bam. Done. What’s the hold up. Let’s go.

The simplest things are the answers to the problems in the world. No one would go hungry who wanted to eat if each person decided to care, to be generous, to work alongside, etc. Cures would be found, I’m convinced, to the worst illnesses in the world if money was not an issue and if creativity was encouraged while tradition respected. My Mount Everest of Laundry would disappear if I just chose to put it all away.  These aren’t difficult concepts. They are very simple solutions.

They are simple, and simply hard to do.

Why? Why are the simplest things the hardest ones? Say “I’m sorry” first. Be consistent with parental discipline. Help when it’s needed. Smile, because it gives someone else permission to do the same. Find the joy in everything. Change what you can, embrace what you can’t.

Tough to do. It’s a fascinating place, life. Full of fascinating, frustrating people. I wouldn’t trade it for any version I would come up with. And can you imagine what God sees it as in its originally designed perfection? Just…wow. I think Heaven will be a place where everyone understand each other, and that is miraculous. Think about it.