Let it go

Ballet Boy knows that if he creeps up behind me before I’ve had breakfast in the morning and sings, “Mama, do you want to build a snowman?” in a whiny voice, I will cringe. Along with many American parents, I was subjected to the Grammy award-winning newest Disney movie, “Frozen.”

What a movie to see in the middle of Iowa’s most depressing, cold, longest, grayest, iciest winter in my memory.

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This Disney movie has been very popular, not only with the Disney princess crowd that is revelling in finding strong, independent, less Princess-y characters, but also with high schoolers that love to belt out the Demi Lovato version of “Let it Go,” the title song that won Broadway singer Idina Menzel instant fame at the Oscar’s when Travolta murdered her name.

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 anymore
Let it go, let it go

Why does this movie give me the heebie-jeebies? Why do I cover my ears when Ballet Boy belts it out, even if it has a fresh perspective sung by an unconventional boy? Because it pretends to have a feminist theme. It pretends to empower women when it is yet another Disney model of what femininity in the 21st c should be. The only good messages that should come home with young girls is 1)don’t marry the first guy you meet and 2) find your inner strength and embrace it.

But you don’t have to transform into a princess with cleavage and a slit up your dress to do this. You don’t have to be rescued by a good guy and your sister. You can actually do these things on your own.

This weekend the Brewmaster and I are surviving our first dance competition with Ballet Boy. He’s always been on the artistic side of things, just sticking to ballet, but this weekend he is joining his dance school’s team on the road to the Bravo competition. His musical theater production of Aladdin won overall champion in their division yesterday, but we also watched many acts that were not quite so tasteful. I was wary of the whole dance mom image after Ballet Boy subjected me to one episode of the raunchy reality tv show, and I was not disappointed when a couple of women behind me yelled, “Work it girl! Sparkle baby!” as their little eight year olds gyrated on stage. When a dad yelled, “Work it!” to his daughter, I was even less comfortable last night. What does this teach these girls about how to express themselves? A great message if they want to work a pole later.

I was proud of the Brewmaster from refraining from his version of the parental heckling, even though it was tempting. We knew Ballet Boy would never speak to us again if we yelled “Twerk it Boy” when he came out in his harem pants and Fez to impersonate the youthful Aladdin.

How about teaching these young women and girls to be strong? independent? unique? That spray tans and glitter are not the only way to success? I’m already anticipating the versions of “Frozen” that will be hitting the stage in next year’s competitions. Help. Me.

On a more personal note, this winter has been a reflective time for me. I’m not good at letting go. I get caught up in trying to change other people. Change students that don’t care, who don’t make an effort. Change local administrators of my orchestra that are making some poor management choices. Force loved ones to make the decisions or take the actions that I would.

It seems I’ve learned my lesson enough times that I should know by now. You can’t modify others, you can only change the way you react to their behavior. Or walk away. My perfectionism and high self-motivation do not always let me do this. I need find my inner strengths, tap into my needs and inner voices, and fly away.

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You won’t find me slitting my dress, wearing heels or applying make-up to do this. I’ll be tying my running shoes, putting on my Boudreaux’s before climbing on my bike, or breathing deep breaths in the pool.

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

 

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