Olaf and my Mental health

I have young kids in my house- specifically a three year old girl in my house- which means that, like many of her peers, she is constantly requesting the Frozen and Frozen 2 soundtracks be played on repeat. After years with the original movie’s music blasting through our house, I think I’ve become immune to the original soundtrack, but I’ve been surprised to find recently that Frozen 2 songs have become a pretty good barometer about my own mental health during this pandemic… (also… spoiler alerts for frozen 2 ahead… and if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t care… this may not be a post that makes any sense to you anyway and you can totally skip this one!)Let’s start with the exceptions, the songs that don’t seem to change no matter my mood or mental health- my daughter’s favorite song from Frozen 2 is Some Things Never Change and that is just 100% non stop smiles. Not only is the song sweet and charming, hearing my kid sing it and giggle like crazy at her favorite part (“Peter Pumpkin just became fertilizer”) can give me a little pick me up even on my most frustrating or exhausting days. On the other end of the spectrum is the song All Is Found… which is so pleasant as background music with its folksy feel… until you hear your kids creepily singing “OR YOU MAY DROWN” to their infant sibling or their baby dolls as a bedtime song and then you think hmmmm…. hard pass on this…
Then there are the songs that are clearly MEANT for self-reflection and motivation. They start to hint at how going through parenthood in a pandemic is treating me. Such as Show Yourself… which I find the most moving part of the whole movie when the spirit of Elsa’s mother tells her:

Show yourself
Step into your power
Throw yourself
Into something new
You are the one you’ve been waiting for

Is there anything more terrifying and yet motivating than “you are the one you’ve been waiting for”?! It gives me chills every time. Most of the time this is inspiring for me… sometimes I think “oh dear God, I could really use someone else…” but that is nothing compared to the songs that REALLY hit me- one that my kids usually make me skip anyway, and one that I would almost always skip if I could get away with it… the inspiration for the title of this post… let’s talk about that one fist. The song I so often wish my kids loved less so I could skip it because it is an INSTANT mental health check is: When I Am Older 

On my worst days all I want to do is scream “SHUT UP OLAF you are a LIAR! This will NOT make sense when you are older! This is not a joke! Everything is just going to get scarier and worse.” On my more lighthearted days this song makes me laugh knowingly… hahahaha oh children you don’t understand that in this song the joke is on YOU because your parents really have no idea what is going on or what they are doing at least half of the time. We’re just trying to do the next right thing… speaking of….

My daughter demands we not listen to the “Anna is sad song” aka Do the Next Right Thing. And I can’t really blame her, I mean, I was not ready for a children’s song to START with the lines:
I’ve seen dark before, but not like this
This is cold, this is empty, this is numb
The life I knew is over, the lights are out
Hello, darkness, I’m ready to succumb

But also… did someone climb into my currently depressed brain and make a transcript?! I have been struggling so much recently and I truly cannot describe more perfectly how I have felt in this past month than Anna’s lyrics:
You are lost, hope is gone
But you must go on
And do the next right thing

My son’s drawing from this spring of Bruni the fire spirit…

I have been so exhausted, frustrated, deeply sad, disillusioned, anxious… and some days the ONLY thing keeping me going is that for the sake of my family I know I need to just do the next right thing. I wish it was the next ten good to great things, that’s the level I grew accustomed to functioning at a few year ago, but that is not what life is right now. I can tackle one thing… and I might not even do it well, but I’m just trying to make one right decision…. and sometimes that decision is really hard or exhausting, but other times it is much simpler. Sometimes the next right thing is just biting my tongue and letting my kids have yet ANOTHER Frozen dance party instead of screaming “SHUT UP OLAF!”… and that I can do. 

3 thoughts on “Olaf and my Mental health

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these songs, especially your vulnerability about the “Anna is sad song.” Part of me enjoys the idea of your kids creepily singing the “All is found” lullaby… I got big smiles from our baby when I sang it to her just now, so it might have to join our rotation (you’re welcome).

    I love the double meaning to “Show Yourself” — it starts out addressed to the spirit she thinks she is chasing, and ends up addressed to herself. I have a sign for my office door that says “Let your weird light shine bright, so the other weirdos know where to find you” and this song makes me think of it.

    I notice you didn’t mention Kristoff’s 80’s power ballad “Lost in the woods”… Good thing it doesn’t exist!

    Liked by 1 person

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