I'm a little late to the party when it comes to blogging about Frozen.But lately, it has been on repeat in our house again, and it got me thinking, again. I will not be writing about how awesome it is that the true love is a love between siblings, or that it isn't a movie about needing to find your prince charming, or about how Disney flat out says "you can't marry a man you just met," or even about how funny it is that there is a disclaimer at the end of the credits absolving Disney of any liabilities concerning Kristoff's views about all men picking their noses and eating it. Those are all great, but they are not what has been stirring in my brain for the last year or so.
No, I will be discussing how Frozen makes me cry because it can be used as an allegory for so many different aspects of life with or around mental illness. Things like isolation and healing and stigma and support and letting go. I was going to write one post about how I love Let It Go but not because it's a hit song, but because I really feel that song. I am still going to write that post, but in doing some quick research (while watching Frozen for the millionth time) I realized that there is much more about this movie that really strikes a chord with me in a way Disney may not have intended. I am not the first, or the only person to notice this. About a year ago, I read a Washington Post article by a psychologist on the parallels (I saved the link once, but can no longer find it). And I found a number of touching and encouraging blogs by others who live with mental illness.
During my daughter's most recent watching, what really struck me was the look on Elsa's face and she begs Anna to just leave her alone after Anna has confronted her in the middle of the coronation ball. The animators very wonderfully portrayed on her face what I feel so very often.
Elsa knew it was not the time or the place for that discussion. She could feel herself losing control of her emotions and her powers. She knew that she was about to do something foolish and dangerous and probably not very nice. And she knew that is was only partially her fault. She was doing everything she could to keep cool, but Anna kept pressing. So she begged Anna to stop, and she tried to walk away. She tried to protect those she loved from herself because she knew she was about to lose it. As she tells Anna to please just leave it alone, the desperation on her face is what I feel in my gut so often when my husband and I have what should be small tiffs (like most married couples do I imagine).
I don't know how many times in the last few years (post DBT classes and cessation of medication) that something silly has started to turn into something nasty and I have tried to walk away. I have tried to change the subject, I have asked nicely to talk about it later, and I have begged and then fled because I have felt myself losing control. I have been in that place where I know I am at the end of my own self control and that I am going to blow a gasket in a very ugly and not very nice way. And my husband keeps pushing. Sometimes it's not my husband, sometimes it's my kids, or a friend. Occasionally, it's a strangers, but oddly, I find it much easier to retain control with strangers, perhaps because it is easier to walk away and not be followed. I don't blame my loved ones, they know I have the tendency to exploded (Anna did not know what her pushing would do to her sister), but I imagine walking on eggshells is hard and sometimes impossible. I just wish desperately that they would listen and back off when I say to them " I can't do this right now, we need to do this later, this is not ok and I am not ok and please just leave me alone to calm down for a minute. Granted, I don't grow nasty sharp ice crystals when my emotions go all crazy insane, but the words that I say can cause much more hurt and lasting damage, and I always feel scared, hurt, and angry at myself afterwards.