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Monday, February 24, 2014

Let it go

I get the feeling this is going to be a very convoluted post, prepare yourself... I have a lot of thoughts that have been swirling lately.  A combination of a hard conversation, loving email and movie distilled in the vat that is my brain.

So let's start with this... Have you seen the movie Frozen yet?  It's the newish Disney movie that's taking the world by storm one little kid at a time.  There are parodies everywhere, and the story and songs are quite catchy.  In fact if I sing the words "Do you want to build a snowman" one more time, Ryan might divorce me.

We watched it for the first time a few weeks ago, and while I loved parts of it, the overall "singyness" was a bit much. I rated it a 7 out of 10 and knew I'd probably watch it again someday, but it wasn't going to be on the regular rotation of movies I need to watch again and again.  ie, Juno, Julie & Julia, Pitch Perfect, You've Got Mail, Pride and Prejudice and Tangled.  (I've linked all of these just in case you've been living in Gollum's cave and missed any.

Then I read this...

7 Moments That Made 'Frozen' the Most Progressive Disney Movie Ever

And while it didn't swing my opinion completely, it did give me a "huh" moment and make me rethink the story a bit more. And ever since I started thinking, I haven't been able to let it go. (pardon the pun if you've seen the movie).

One part that really stuck with me when I originally watched the movie was when Elsa sings the beautiful "Let it Go" and finally steps into her own skin.  I really identified with her struggle. Yes it's true, I also have elemental powers and was forced into isolation by my abusive parents.... I mean wait, no that's not it. Oh yeah, I also have struggled to let go of the expectations of others and just be me, who I truly am.

My grandmother wrote me an email yesterday that highlighted this so perfectly... She started out calling me "sweet girl", a term she and my mom have used with me for as long as I can remember.  And it's always been affectionate and loving. She asked me offhandedly in her email if it was still ok for her to call me that. I'm guessing because she didn't want to treat me like a child when I'm 30, with a child of my own now. And I replied that she could always call me "sweet girl", that it helps remind me of what I should try to be.

But you know what, as much as I have loved those words, and the tenderness with which they were always used, I have also felt a huge burden on my shoulders my whole life to live up to them. I've always felt the need to be good, in my actions, my behavior, my manners, my grades, my choices, even if the voice inside my head wasn't always as "sweet" as the exterior. Even as others around me were mean or hurtful, selfish or uncaring. It has always felt like my job to be the good one. And at times I was so jealous of others. Jealous of their indifference, even as my heart told me that I would never truly want to be that callous. Sometimes it seemed like it would just be so much easier not to care.

And then I got older, started choosing the type of person I wanted to be, and lo and behold, I do want to be the "sweet girl".  But now it's not because of the opinions of others, it's because I truly want to be good at the core, the place few people are allowed to see. I want my inside voice to be as kind as the one I use when other people are around. Because sometimes it feels like I'm living with a harpy in my head, mainly because of all the pent up feelings I keep to myself so that I can be seen as good.

Which leads to the real point of this post, ha ha, I knew it existed there somewhere! I had a bit of an epiphany last week during a conversation that elicited tears on both sides and let out a lot of pent up anger, frustration and hurt feelings.

The only way to change that inner voice is to let it speak. Even if what it has to say is hard sometimes. Even if it makes you or others cry. Even if it's uncomfortable, and you're scared, and you don't know what's going to happen. The longer you listen to it only in your head, the more bitter it becomes, and eventually I think that's what sours people on the outside. And just as important as letting your inner voice speak, is being willing to stick around for the aftermath and just "be" the person that voice has revealed. Don't run, don't pretend it's not a big deal.  Put on your big girl panties, face the music, and then, Let.... it...... go.

And with that comes the most amazing feeling of release. After that hard conversation, I felt 10 pounds lighter. I felt like myself, because the "sweet girl" voice was back in my head instead of the harpy.

Just a little insight and suggestion for any of you out there struggling with your own inner voice, or a situation that you're having difficulty letting go of.  Listen to the song if it helps.  At the very least you'll be a little lighter, and ready to get back on the right path of being who you want to be.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


I'm in a weird frame of mind.  And I've been here before.  It's not comfortable, and I guess it's not really necessary either, just another one of those "if only my brain worked differently" moments.

We're halfway through February, which means there's about 4 months left in this school year.  4 months left in Cairo, with AIS, with all the friends we've made here, and I feel like I'm in limbo.  I'm so excited about our upcoming move to Moscow in August, but there's not a whole lot I can do yet.  I know these next 4 months are going to fly by, but I'm stuck in a trench in my brain.  I really want to jump in feet first with planning for next year, and get all the information I can on Russian culture and what it's going to be like to live in Moscow.  I also want to absorb as much of the "now" as possible.  Go to dinner with friends, take Quincy to the Pyramids.  Not to mention that I still have a job and I'd like to leave feeling like the school is in a better place than when I found it.  But unfortunately I have absolutely no motivation to get involved in my life at the moment.

I'm stuck.  Between the future and the present and it's starting to make my brain hurt.

I've been here before, pretty much anytime we moved (which was a lot in high school).  My planner brain wants to drop everything that's happening now and only focus on the future.  Which is a waste, I totally get that.

I wish I could just let go, not worry about all the unknowns of the next few months, just revel in what's happening at this exact moment.  Let's try...

Quincy is really close to sitting up on his own.  He is a daily joy, we cannot get enough of his smiles, his laughter, the way he's started reaching to be held. The first tooth is coming in, so now he makes these little lip smacking noises as he tries to figure out what feels different in his mouth.

I have a great job, with lots of flexibility and so much potential to help people.

My husband truly loves me, cares for me in ways that I don't always remember to appreciate.  The other night, when I got out of the shower he'd laid out pajamas for me on the bed, with 2 different shirt options depending on how cold I was.  It's the little things like this that make him so special.

There's no doubt that life is good.  So why is it so hard sometimes to find balance between staying in the "now" to enjoy the life you have and focusing on the future?

This is my question universe... I'll expect an answer within 24 hours.  Feel free help me unstick my brain.