Sometimes we hold so tight to the control we think we need that we don’t realize the act of releasing control puts us more in control than when we were holding on. It’s a paradox. One that might make your head spin, but starts to answer the question of how to access more or at least a different kind of authenticity.
When my nieces play, they do a great job of sharing…most of the time. But, they are human and what’s more, they are children and so occasionally conflict does arise. This past year, they all dressed as different Frozen characters for Halloween (I know, you’re downright shocked), which was all well and good until Maggie, the youngest, got an Elsa costume for her birthday. Suddenly Sadie and Maggie could both be Elsa at the same time, while Bailey was stuck being Anna.
Anyone who has ever been around small children, can predict the next scene.
We tried reason: “But Bailey, you love Anna. You’ll be the only Anna. Don’t you want to be Anna.”
No. She wanted to be Elsa too.
We tried logic: “If you wear the Cinderella dress, you’ll look like Elsa. It’s blue too.”
No. It has a picture of Cinderella. Obviously one cannot be Elsa without a cape and with Cinderella tattooed on the front of your dress.
Clearly, she was left out. She could not be Elsa.
The Frozen phenomenon still strikes me as odd. Why do all the girls want to be Elsa? This is obviously a special case, but all over the world little girls are imitating this new Disney Princess turned Queen who doesn’t “get the guy”, who is not in the film as much as Anna, and doesn’t have as many musical numbers and yet, she steals the show almost every time. What is it about Elsa?
As I was reading though this chapter, It struck me in a new way: Elsa is the creator. Sure, she has magic, but even more she is an artists. And like all artists, she lives in a paradox—the more she tries to control something, the less control she has and when she let’s go—that’s when she becomes her true self…a conduit for creativity, change, power, and, of course, love. That kind of repression is something we can all relate to, especially as artists.
Regardless of whether or not you have or have had Frozen fever, or if you’ve even seen the movie, you can still relate to this idea of letting go and becoming your own true artist self. I dislike the idea of letting go—especially of control. It makes me uncomfortable, which is probably why it is most likely to work.
I can reflect on my life, and I know that the most fun I’ve had is when I let go of the fear, the worry, the regret…all of it and embraced the unknown and all the possibilities it could bring: surfing in the Pacific ocean, traveling around Europe, taking a train to Connecticut, singing Karaoke in front of a room full of strangers. I look back on these and wonder why I don’t do more of these things. The power in letting go brings us closer to who we really are, inside and out.
I became a better writer when I stopped trying to control the story. Maybe I’ll be a better person when I stop trying to control the world; maybe that’s really where the authenticity comes from.
My sister and I took both of Bailey’s complaints about the Cinderella dress to heart in solving the problem. Rigging a towel as a cape, my sister was able to solve one problem while I performed surgery on the dress to remove the Cinderella stamp. The blue dress was now ready, and donned in her costume, Baily sailed into the family room, singing at the top of her lungs right along with her two sisters: “Let it go…Let it go…can’t hold it back anymore!”
And you’re welcome…that’ll be stuck in your head now.