Perhaps that is the message in the song Let It Go from Disney’s movie Frozen. When I read the lyrics and saw the video, it was a beautiful example of how someone who had to hide her non-conformity began to accept it. In the video, the star character, embraced her individuality. What an inspirational message for all ages actually.
When I am with my grand-daughter, who, coincidentally is in love with not only the movie but the theme song, I am always reminded of freedom of expression. Ava does not hide behind a wall of shame for how she feels. She does not fear retaliation for who she is and what she is becoming. She, like the Elsa, wraps her tiny arms around herself as she is, at any given moment and celebrates the thrill of life. She will laugh throwing her head back and let out a laugh that comes from her toes. Her celebration of good humor is simply something to listen to because it causes everyone within earshot to split at the seams into laughter just from the musical sound of her laughing, with no reservation. She will laugh at herself as easily as at anyone.
The messages consumers get, especially women, to always look your best are pounded in from an early age. Commercial marketing is powerful. Ava is a party to this already, praising and loving little princesses. But, what is different about her is the gentle acceptance of herself. She can throw herself into a beautiful gown her mom can buy her and then, in the blink of any eye, tear it off and run around in the most unbecoming of items in the house without a single care in the world! If anyone were to walk in, which has happened when I have been over visiting, does she react like most girls and run for cover? Well, here she not in her girly best, pink or purple, matching clothes with a closet full of beautiful outfits but Ava has no concern whatsoever to greet anyone with whatever she happens to have on. Not for one minute would she hesitate to make a guest wait! Ava is front and center with a friend or anyone that is a guest in her home. You must like her and accept her for who she is in the same way she will accept you, no labels allowed by this little lady! And she will greet everyone as friendly as the next person no matter who they are or what they have on!
Living in the moment is something too many of us do not do. I think it probably took having cancer for me to get a much better handle on this. My grand-daughter came of it naturally. I am not sure if having two autistic brothers has played a part or not but she treasures time spent with others. If she gets a minute of your time, she inhales it like it is the best gift she has ever received. Most children take it for granted. Not Ava, she will let you know in her own unique way that you made her day. She will be engaging, entertaining and create a memory that will be everlasting. Why can’t we, as adults, embrace our interactions with others with this same passion? We always seem to assume there will be another time, another visit, and another day. We have no guarantees that this is going to happen. We should seize the moments as they come. Languish the time we have with each other. Give undivided attention when we are with someone we want to share out time with so that we are not wasting our moments or those.
So many people have thoughts running through their head that get in the way of listening. These internal tapes also disallow people to sometimes take down their walls and be open to each other about who they are. Conformity seems to be a top priority and the fear of rejection overrides being real with others. Thus too often others put up a façade of who they are to project an image to gain acceptance. This is stress inducing, unhealthy and self-limiting. You are who you are and should be proud of it! Society needs to stimulate an environment more often than not that promotes this. Once you celebrate your acceptance and openness of who you are, your own uniqueness, you open the door for others to be unrestricted as well. Let go of your preconceived notions and the negative tape of others programming you. This also means allow your children to be different to some extent.
I pray my grand-daughter can continue to accept her independence her entire life. May she always have no self-consciousness about hugging herself for exactly who she is. I know those of us that surround her are constantly reminded by her of the importance of staying true to living in the moment with Ava around, she will never let us forget it.
We can see through her eyes a world filled with joy,things to celebrate! We can learn from her to forget what it is not. With Ava, we celebrate little things that give color to the world, even weeds that look like flowers instead of complaining about all the 'have nots' in our lives, the people that won’t play with her, the brothers that have autism and can’t talk well to her. She loves them dearly and would not trade them for anything or change one hair on their head. From Ava we see a new way to laugh at the world, finding humor in the smallest of things, instead of being miserable when things don’t look right. Yes, a little girl who's immediate reaction is always to smile followed by a laugh.
Most importantly of all, Ava is like the character Elsa at her tender age of 6. She is learning to take her image of being a little girl and letting it go. She can be and is, whatever she wants to be. Stereo-types don't mean much to Ava. She is modeling her mother and her father and all the other people in the world she comes in contact. And she is being real about it. And she doesn’t hide who she is but is right there, in your face. I can run faster than boys, dance great with girls, and get over disappointments quickly.
So are you? Are you able to let go of preconceived notions of what the world wants you to be? Are you able to be real with yourself, real honest, and throw out the old tapes in your head of other's expectations and accept yourself and be true to you? Only when you can, can you find that inner sense of peace, love and happiness.