Dear Women’s Fashion: Size 12 is not XL

Okay, fair warning. I have my Ranty McRant pants on again.

This time the subject that’s been weighing on my mind recently is the ridiculous–and unfair–standards when it comes to women’s clothing. My musings on the subject began a while back when everyone was sharing a post written by Kallie Provencher for Rantchic.com called “24 Things Women Over 30 Should Stop Wearing.” No, I’m not going to share the link here because the post is pure clickbait. My reaction to it when everyone was talking about it was to tweet “The one thing women over 30 should stop wearing is the censure of random strangers on the internet.” Suffice to say, there was a lot of eye-rolling. I feel bad for the author, actually. If she’s lucky, she’s going to spend more time over thirty than under it, and according to her, life is over at twenty-nine and counting.

A beautiful rebuttal was written here, however. WarningCurvesAhead posted a brilliant collection of classy, sassy women wearing whatever pleased them–and looking smashing while doing so. I want to be these women when I grow up. I wish I had a fraction of their sense of style and their confidence in carrying off what looks great on them.

But one of the things Kallie Provencher frowned upon women over thirty wearing was graphic t-shirts. Which brings me to today’s subject: sizing of women’s clothing. Now, I’m a sci-fi geek. You can pretty much ask me about any sci-fi universe and if I can’t whip your butt playing Trivial Pursuit, I will at least have heard of it and am familiar with it. And I love my fandoms; Doctor Who, Firefly, Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate… I love mashups and crossovers. I love fanfic, fanart, and fan vids. My friends know the way to make me squeal in the ultrasonic range, so high I can only be heard by dogs, is to surprise me with something from one of my favorite shows. Just this evening, the BF surprised me with a CD of ambient engine noise from ST:TNG. Just think, now I can hear the murmur of the Enterprise’s engines lulling me to sleep on an endless loop instead of the usual white noise machine.

One of the things I love doing is sharing my fandom pride with graphic tees.

About the same time these previously mentioned posts circulated, another post caught my eye: Man Tries on Girlfriend’s “XL” Clothing and Gets Pissed About Double Standards.

Yeah, because my friends and I have been talking about this, too.

Now, for the record, let me state I am a solid size 12. There was a period of time when I was closer to a 10–there are days when I’m closer to a 14, but 90% of the time, I’m a hard 12. I wear a 36 C sized bra. Now I know in these pictures, I might look ginormous, but remember, the camera adds ten pounds. (I know what you’re thinking here, but trust me, only ONE camera is pointed at me in these photos…)

Let’s start out with a T-shirt I bought a few years ago. It’s a medium, but unisex. This is important, as you’ll see later on. NOT a men’s shirt, not a women’s shirt, unisex.

Medium UnisexYou can’t see it clearly, but it’s a “Hello, My Name is” shirt, with “Inigo Montoya–you killed my father, prepare to die” penned in. It’s also autographed. That’s neither here nor there. What’s important is the size.

This is a medium WOMEN’S T-shirt. I love Agent Carter, and this was sent to me by a friend. A friend who knows what I look like, and assumed I would wear a medium T-shirt.

Medium Women FittedOkay. I got into it, though I look a sausage encased in Saran Wrap. That’s what it felt like, too. And believe me, getting out of it was interesting. I seriously thought about using a pair of scissors… I was very disappointed, needless to say. I love this character, the show, and this sentiment. I should point out as well, that many of the graphic T-shirts I would order, like this one, do not come in a men’s or unisex option.

Right, then obviously, a medium is too small. So, when I ordered a T-shirt for myself (a lovely mashup of Frozen and Doctor Who), I ordered a large.

Large Womens Fitted

Um, I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t look all that much bigger than the medium to me. Okay, so maybe the material isn’t cutting off my circulation, but it is still sucking down to my skin like it was painted on. At this point, I *finally* took a good look at the sizing chart. That’s when I saw that a size 12 is an XL on most sizing charts for the graphic T-shirts I like.

Excuse me, WTF? 12 is considered XL? Since when? Since when does the size of the average woman in the U.S.–which is 12-14 by a Google search–considered extra-large? It brings me back to the pissed off boyfriend and the double standards of the clothing industry.

Okay. Deep breath. Order the XL. You like the shirt and you want to be comfortable. And you don’t want your arms to go numb when you’re wearing it. Exchange the large for an XL.

Here’s the XL:

XL Womens FittedNo, I am not kidding. This is the XL. It is microscopically different from the large, but honestly, it looks so much like the large I had to look at the time stamps to make sure I wasn’t posting the same picture twice. AND, I would like to point out, the shirt only comes one size larger–the XXL. That is insane. No, I’m sorry. It’s just wrong. What kind of message are we sending to young women (because obviously women over 30 shouldn’t be wearing graphic tees, right?) when 12 is considered XL? When there is so little difference between sizes that someone has to get the very largest size a product comes in just to be comfortable?

I honestly don’t know which is worse: vanity sizing, in which clothing companies mislabel clothing as being a smaller size than it is so women will feel good about buying it, or this. It  feels like a slap in the face either way.

BoysofSummer[The]FSOkay, rant over. In other news, Dreamspinner Press is continuing the Lazy Days of Summer sale until June 24th, which means you can get a copy of my award-winning The Boys of Summer for only a dollar! It’s the perfect beach read at the perfect price–but it won’t last long!

On Dreamspinner/Amazon/AllRomance

 

 

 

Fool'sGold-400x600And coming up next month, I’ll be releasing Fool’s Gold, a story about Olympic level eventing–just in time for the 2016 Games!

 

Let it Go is more than just a Disney song

Spring Kitty_resizedThursdays frequently wind up being frustrating for me. Ostensibly, they are my day off, but I typically have them so carefully orchestrated so that the whole day is spent rushing from one task after the other, for fear of being late and causing the whole house of cards to tumble down.

For the past six months, I’ve been spending a good bit of my Thursdays working off board for my two horses at the ‘retirement’ farm. My Old Man has been there for years now; this past spring, I had to move my no-longer-young mare there for financial reasons. Since caring for a community of horses, many of which are blind, lame, and need medication, is time consuming, I spend about 2 hours in the morning taking care of the herd–only to have to come back in the evening and do it again. My goal has always been to get out there early, hurry through my tasks, and rush home so I can do laundry, get groceries, and try to get some writing done before I have to head back out again. Thursdays are also the only night I can get to my yoga classes, and for the last month I’ve been skipping it. Well, that’s catching up with me, especially since I dropped all the other expensive manage-the-pain therapies I’d been doing for years.

I already had to skip the morning walk with the dog in order to meet a client before doing the first feeding, but today, instead of rushing through the chores, I decided, “Screw it. I’m taking my time.” Why? Well, the biggest problem about Thursdays is not how much I have to do but my attitude toward it. Far better to let go of the expectation of ‘getting something done’ and just be there in the moment doing what I’m actually doing.

BridleSo I took the time to appreciate the choreography of herd interactions–how the horses all know where they are supposed to go, and how doing things out of order upsets them. The last thing you want to do with a herd is let a submissive horse get pinned in a corner by a dominant one, so at feeding time, there is a lot of opening and closing gates so that the right horses end up in the right slots in the right order. It’s kind of beautiful when it all works smoothly. When you make a mistake, however, or one horse slips past you, ears pinned and teeth bared, there is the potential for serious injury (yourself included) if you don’t intervene right away.

I also took the time to appreciate the Old Man. He’s thirty years old now, and he no longer has any front teeth. He’s swaybacked, and despite eating $75 worth of grain every 2 weeks, I can’t keep any weight on him. But he is still happily puttering around the property, gumming grass and eating his mush–as much as I will give him twice a day. He still comes up to me looking for scratches and snuffling my pockets for treats. I’m sure if someone who didn’t know better saw him, they would accuse me of animal neglect, but he’s the equivalent of a 95 year old man and he looks it. I worry about him with the coming winter, but I also know he’s had wonderfully long life. I don’t regret a single moment since the day I bought him as a three year old for 89 cents a pound.

I also came to a decision today about the Mare Who Lived. This weekend, I’m going to bring my tack out to the farm. I’ve received permission to ride the fields out there. There’s no arena–just open fields–and my mare is a bit hot for just a simple trail ride, but I feel like I have to give this a try. If we survive the attempt, I’ll let you know. I’ve just put far too much of my life on hold to let *this* go. I look back at all the things I’ve let slip through my fingers waiting for ‘the right time’ or a better situation and I should have taken them when I could. When I had the chance.

There are other things we need to let go of, however. While I was taking my time at the farm this morning, I got a text from work: could I come in and see a patient that can’t wait until tomorrow? Well, there goes the carefully orchestrated day… but since I had accepted that I wasn’t going to rush around like a chicken with its head cut off, I was able to shrug, pick a time that would fit into the schedule, and say yes.Had the call come in before I’d made the decision not to rush, I probably would have been seething as I hurried through my chores, anxious to get home in order to salvage a little writing time.

All I needed was an attitude adjustment.

I know that attitude is everything, and I wish I could understand how to make that work for you when deep down you don’t believe you have what it is you’re faking. I can’t fake feeling beautiful and sexy when I don’t. I can’t fake confidence in my writing when I don’t have it. But I look at that picture of the cat in the flowers I posted above and recall how this little tomcat could prevent my 95 pound German Shepherd from leaving the house simply by sitting on the porch and staring at him through the door.

My boy would get to the door and back up, saying, “I can’t go out there. Dat bad cat’s out there.” And nothing I could do could persuade my dog it was safe to come out with me. The tom has since tamed down and been neutered and vaccinated. The dog will now walk past him without batting an eye, and occasionally will try to engage in play. The cat runs up to us when we’re outside and shoulders into the dog, taking a swat at his legs as the dog re-enters the house. They’ve reached a level of detente that they are comfortable with. But I am still amazed that a ten pound cat could stare down a dog ten times his size without even hissing.

That’s attitude. Or Catitude, depending on your POV. Because that cat was utterly confident of his ability to take on my dog and win–and my dog knew it. I think I could use a little Catitude. I’m a little too quick to listen to the negative self-talk because it is familiar, something I’ve heard my entire life: from family, from frenemies, but perfected by my self. I’ve been working on it. On dressing up for no particular reason, other than I know it makes me look good. Wearing something I like is empowering to me, be it a favorite necklace or a good pair of boots. That’s why I am so fond of International Walk Like Beckett Day. It’s not about how you look–it’s about how you think you look. And with little feel-good boosters, I can get there sometimes.

Writing is a different story. Or is it? I strongly suspect the only thing holding me back is my own negative self-talk. Chuck Wendig wrote this great blog post the other day about self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy, and it’s simply brilliant. This one line jumped out at me: And suddenly your doubt has the hunger and gravity of a collapsing star. Wow. Yes. Been there, done that, own the T-shirt, sing the song almost every day. Go read the rest of his post, it’s awesome.

But as I’m sitting here, just as earlier I contemplated the stupidity and necessity of trying to ride my horse again, it occurs to me that I’m my biggest roadblock. And I don’t have as much time left as I used to. So it’s kind of now or never, you know? I got an email last night from one of my friends who is an author–a ‘real’ author, someone who got published back when you had to have an agent and legacy publishing was the only way to go, and the walls were steep and topped with guards ready to pour boiling oil down upon your head for daring to approach the gate. I know, I’m a real author with a real press behind me, but there’s that doubt, you know? The one that says if not for the digital revolution, you’d be papering your walls with rejection slips. Anyway, in response to my saying I’m not good enough to write x-y-z, she tells me that I’m capable of writing anything I put my mind to, that is it the voices of little-minded people running down my confidence that’s holding me back. So… what if she’s right? What’s the worst that can happen if I assume she is? I’ve got nothing to lose by trying.

I’ve got two hours before I have to be at the next task on my list of things to do today. I can get a lot done in two hours.

Tennant You Should Be Writing

Why “Frozen” Embodies Everything the GOP Fears Most

Frozen_GOT Mashup

Frozen_GOT Mashup

Okay, so this isn’t the first time I’ve written about the movie Frozen. The first time was with delight, to share how much this movie resonated with me and how much I identified with Elsa, always hiding who she really was for the good of her people, to please her parents, for intentions well-meant but ultimately wrong for her. The second time I posted about it was in response to some of the ludicrous reactions that followed: that by breaking with the standard Disney traditions of the ‘princess’ being rescued by the Prince in the end, Frozen was somehow dangerous and should be prohibited viewing for young, formative minds.

Today’s post takes that theme a bit farther into darker territory. To be honest, I am reeling from the recent SCOTUS decision handed down in favor of Hobby Lobby ruling that they are exempt from having to provide health insurance for their employees that does not agree with their religious beliefs. In one single action, SCOTUS has determined that corporations are things that can hold beliefs, that the religious beliefs of one set of people trump the access to basic health care for another set of people, that employers have a say-so in their employees health care, and that women are second-class citizens. Ruth Ginsberg was right when she stated in her scathing rebuttal of the decision that this was opening a minefield. Already corporations are filing lawsuits to not cover other kinds of birth control under the same reasoning. One of the things I find most damning in the SCOTUS decision is the mandate that this ruling pertains to certain kinds of birth control only: that it in no way should be taken to mean that other forms of health care, which might also be forbidden or offensive to certain religions, will be subject to the same exemptions based on religious beliefs.

Oh. I see. It’s not people needing blood transfusions or having allergic reactions to shellfish that you are discriminating against. Just women who want to have some control over family planning. I had a woman respond to one of my tweets on the subject by saying “I don’t want my tax dollars going to support some other woman’s immorality.” That’s what it really boils down to. Sex is for procreation only, and if any woman indulges in it for any other purpose, well, then she is a dirty skank. Note that the prohibition doesn’t apply to men. After all, boys will be boys, right?  Let’s completely ignore the fact that many, many women take birth control for medical reasons (I was one such person, who could not function with erratic periods that hit without warning, resulting in overwhelming nausea and blackouts. Without birth control, I was simply not functional for several weeks out of every month) Let’s eliminate the case of the woman who gets pregnant as a result of rape as being “God’s will”.  So let me get this straight. It’s not God’s will that some man can’t get it up? What purpose is there for Viagra besides sex?

I was tempted to respond to my twitter troll by saying that I didn’t want my tax dollars going to support her church, but really, that’s not true. I haven’t minded the fact that my tax dollars goes to support schools when I have no children, and fire departments when I’ve never had a fire–simply because I believe in the idea of communities and having support available to all when they do need it.  However, if churches are going to become such huge political entities, I think we need to re-think their tax-exempt status.

GOP PLan for WomenI’ve read several excellent and damning articles on the subject over the last few days. Best selling author Kate Aaron has written an insightful essay into why we all should be worried about what this Supreme Court ruling means. She says what I’ve been saying about the implications of this ruling with far more eloquence than I have; you should read her post. I also read an excellent article posted by Salon this morning, which states what I’ve been saying all along: the only thing the GOP finds more frightening than the mythical “Gay Agenda” is the Independent Woman.

And that’s the heart of the antagonism toward Frozen by certain parties. If you haven’t watched the “Let it Go” scene (and where have you been, hiding under a rock?) then I invite you to watch it now. Go on. I’ll wait.

Did you see it? The most frightening thing to ever appear in a movie! *gasp* The heroine who discovers the power within herself to be herself–without a man standing at her side. Notice, too, how Elsa’s transformation into her true self was decidedly sexy and seductive–and yet with no other motive than because it pleased her to look that way. In another stunning twist on the old tropes, it isn’t Kristoff who saves the day when Anna is turning to ice (though it would have been a nice ending–Kristoff’s a good guy and he *isn’t* a prince, so Disney could have stopped there and it would have been trope-breaking enough). No, Anna’s last act before turning into a solid block of ice is to rush to her sister’s defense. To throw herself between her sister and the sword about to fall. Her sister.

You would have thought that this act of sisterly love would have embodied the core of the GOP’s professed ‘family values’. What could be more pure than the love two sisters have for each other? What could be nobler than the self-sacrificing act Anna made (which incidentally ended up saving her own life)? Nothing.

So how did Frozen come to represent the mythical Gay Agenda? Why were people jumping up and down and screaming that it promoted lesbianism, among other things? The answer is quite simple–and yet very ugly at the same time. As of the most recent US Census, women outnumber men in this country. Women represent 41.6% of the workforce (for which they average salaries over $10 K less annually than men). Single, independent women tend to vote democratic. There. I said it. It all boils down to politics. So why target Frozen as the work of the Gay Agenda? Because it’s safe to do so. Because the far right can still ramp up its political base with the words ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’. They are doing a good job of ramping up their base with the word ‘slut’ as well. And every single term is considered a permissible form of name-calling in today’s media.

But there was no slutty behavior in Frozen. And to scream, “But look at her! She’s promoting being a Strong, Independent Woman!” would sort of point out the GOP’s real agenda: to keep women financially dependent on men. It’s a harder sell to say, “Don’t let your little girl watch Frozen, as she might grow up to be able to think for herself!” than it is to say, “LESBIAN ALERT!!”

The fact that all of these words are used to denigrate and subjugate one group of people to the belief system of another is wrong. It needs to stop before we see the gradual erosion of civil rights across the board. You think I’m being overly pessimistic, don’t you? Perhaps. But I keep seeing posts about fathers making their daughters sign ‘purity pledges’ (and taking creepy photos with them like they were Prom dates or something–what’s up with that?) and men advocating keeping your daughters at home, preventing them from being sullied with education, and the like. So, yeah. I believe if we don’t wake up, we’ll be fighting to keep our very right to *vote* in another thirty or so years.

Talk to your boss

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe all of this has finally woken the sleeping dragon at last. You know the one I mean. The middle-aged woman who has been too tired to get involved in politics because she’s been too busy taking care of her elderly parents, and her own family, and working a full time job for less money than her male co-workers. She’s been up to her neck in house payments, and dealing with chronic illness, and surviving on too little sleep and anti-depressants, and burning the candle at both ends only to scrape up the wax and slap it back on the wick again because if she gives up and flops down on the couch, there is no-one else to get everything done. And this woman is *angry*. Most of the women I know are furious right now. And you know what? The GBLTQ community has our back because we have THEIR back. Since I’ve never met a homophobe who wasn’t also misogynistic and racist, it only makes sense that we support each other. And we’ll remember this come election time.

Dear GOP: Winter is coming.

 

Let It Go: How One Song Has Inspired So Many…

Frozen_GOT Mashup

Frozen_GOT Mashup

My friends and I have been discussing Frozen lately. I’m frankly obsessed with it, as I’ve mentioned before, but I’m finding that many of my friends are equally entranced. The movie itself has generated a lot of talk about some of the messages it sends—in particular I appreciated the fact that Princess Anna didn’t need a Prince to save her—she ended up saving herself. I also appreciated the message behind the “Fixer-Upper” song—in how none of us is perfect, and more importantly, we aren’t going to change the person we love. Love itself, however, will temper how we view perceived failings.

We’ve also discussed the ludicrous accusations of the Far Right that this movie somehow promotes the mythical Gay Agenda. Funny, I didn’t see that. I saw how the love that two sisters had for each other was more important than anything else in their lives—a testament to family. My guess is that the people crying ‘foul’ here are bothered by the real message: that a woman doesn’t need a man to be a whole person. There’s only one thing that scares the conservative Tea Party more than gays. That’s an independent, free-thinking woman. Why? Because collectively, we make up a very large minority. Big enough to take them down come next election time. This frightens them so much—which is why we are seeing more and more reactive legislature on their part: birth control and abortion restrictions, striking down laws for equal pay, killing programs that would benefit working mothers and help them get off welfare, etc. However, they can’t directly attack women without shooting their platform in the foot (again). Hence, the implantation of the idea that being an Independent Woman leads to becoming a Lesbian. That is a chain they can safely rattle, or so they believe. Keep your girls at home, don’t let them get an education. Isolate them from the world so they stay ‘pure’. Brainwash them into being the proper little women you want them to be.

Frankly, one of the many reasons I am so pro-marriage equality is that I’ve never met a homophobe who wasn’t also extremely misogynistic. I also believe that we don’t fight and win our civil rights battles once—they are an ongoing battlefield that must be protected every day, or else someone will try to strip us of those hard-won rights.

But that wasn’t what I started out to say here.

What I really wanted to talk about was how the song “Let It Go” has taken hold in the hearts of so many people. Everywhere I go, I hear people singing it. Jimmy Fallon does a rendition with Idina Menzel and the Roots on the Tonight Show. Type in ‘Let it Go’ on Youtube and you’ll get dozens of covers, from an Africanized tribal cover to one in multiple languages to a completely (and stunning) instrumental version by The Piano Guys. Why? Why has this song taken the world by storm?

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that is speaks to so many people on so many different levels. I think most of us have something we hide from the rest of the world, something that it is Real Us that we are afraid to share with the rest of the world because we’re afraid no one will like us, or that they will judge us. And truth be told, we fear with good reason. Most of us have been judged. Because we’re nerds who like Doctor Who and Star Trek beyond all reason, or because we are smarter than most of the people we know, or because we think we’re ugly, or we’re afraid to admit to our sexual preferences, or scared to follow our dreams. Because we’ve been taught to hide our real selves. We’re ashamed on some level of being who we are because who we are isn’t like everyone else and above all, we have to be like the crowd, right?

Wrong.

Who we are is what makes us unique. It’s what makes us interesting. It is where our power originates. The look on Elsa’s face when she finally releases the magic within her is truly glorious. I can watch that sequence over and over again as she remakes herself into her own image, stripping herself of the trappings laid on her by society. “The cold never bothered me anyway” has become my personal mantra.

We all have something that we need to let go. Past hurts and resentments. Fears and failings. The idea that if only we’d done ‘x’ differently, our lives would somehow be magically better. We forget that every decision made brought us to this moment in time, in contact with the people we know and love now, positioned to take what is being offered to us if we’d only take off the gloves holding us back. If we’d only stop letting fear control our decisions and instead, we embrace the uniqueness that is us.

Let it go.

Why A Middle-Aged Woman Identifies with “Frozen”

I recently saw the movie Frozen. I am completely besotted.

I should point out that this sort of obsession with animated musicals is not unusual for me. When I was in grad school, I used to record Jem and the Holograms and watch it every afternoon when I got home from class. It was the one thing I looked forward to during a difficult time in my life. Before that, it was Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Long after it left the theaters, I was belting out “Part of Your World” as I did the dishes and dancing to “Under the Sea” as I did the laundry. That first year I was out on my own trying to make a living under dreadful circumstances, I used to go to the Wednesday morning matinee of Beauty and the Beast every week until it was no longer playing. It’s hard to explain why watching these animated shows brought me such peace during difficult times, but they were the best anti-depressant I know. How can you resist Lumiere when he sings “Be Our Guest”? How can you not empathize with Belle as she bemoaned her provincial life in a town where no one read books and she was expected to marry and put all her love of stories behind her?

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see. Be the good girl you always have to be

I love to sing. I was a member of chorus all through high school, and played Tzeitel in a local production of Fiddler on the Roof. I enjoyed most of the Disney films, but the ones that really made an impression on me were the ones with the fantastic songs and terrific lyrics. I confess, I never became enthralled with Tangled in part because the songs were so difficult for me to sing.

It’s actually been a while since I became totally and completely besotted with a Disney movie, but oh! Frozen captured my heart. It simply speaks to me on so many levels.

Conceal, don’t feel. Don’t let them know.

Watch Elsa sing “Let It Go.” See her come to life, to realize her full potential.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched this sequence. I know the minute the movie is available on DVD, I will be buying a copy.

There is so much I love about this story. I loved watching Elsa give in to her true self. I loved how determined Anna was, how she loved her sister unconditionally, despite years of being shunned by her. (Okay, the kingdom could use some better management–surely there were Regents acting on behalf of Elsa until she came of age? She couldn’t just hide in her room all the time could she?) I loved Kristoff and his reindeer, Sven. And how Hans, despite seeming like Prince Charming, turned out to be a real bad guy in the end. My BF told me that Disney actually sat on this particular fairy tale for quite some time because they just didn’t know how to tell it so that Elsa was a sympathetic character. Then some one suggested that they make the main characters sisters, and the rest of the story fell into place.

I’ve heard some of the negative things people have said about this movie. Lord knows, I’m no reviewer, either. I can only answer to how this movie spoke to me, and this song in particular. I have always been the Good Girl. The Good Daughter. I did everything I was told to do, everything I was taught to do. For the last couple of decades I’ve been burning up inside with resentment over the fact that despite doing everything that was asked of me, it still hasn’t been good enough. I’ve worked hard my entire life. I’ve made personal and professional sacrifices because they were the right thing to do. And now, as a middle-aged woman, I feel as though this hasn’t gotten me anywhere. That I have ‘nothing to show’ for my efforts.

Now, this isn’t true. I do have things that are incredibly valuable to me, intangible things that don’t count as success in other people’s eyes. I’m a published author–how many people can say that? I have the world’s most handsome dog. My horse is a champion in my eyes. The BF is compassionate, scary-smart, and believes in me as a writer. And lest you think I’m all about making it big and becoming famous, I’m not. I just don’t want to be terrified anymore. I don’t want to live in a constant state of fear: fear that I can’t pay my bills. Fear that my house will fall apart because I can’t fix things, or that I will come home and find a soot spot where my house–and my animals–used to be. Fear that I am irreparably damaging my health because I can’t afford recommended dental work. Fear that I will end up as the stereotypical old lady, living off cat food.

Funny how some distance, makes everything seem small. And the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all.

I’ve been listening to this song over and over again. I hear it in my head at odd times. It’s the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning.

It’s time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through. No right no wrong, no rules for me. I’m free!

I think most of us, at some points in our lives, need some sort of talisman to hang on to. That’s why some people become fans: cosplay, write fanfic, spend hours making gifs for Tumblr. It’s why some people watch the same movie a hundred times. It’s why some people picture a character giving them courage, giving them strength to get through the rough times. It’s why we fall in love with characters, why we read, why we create.

Let it go, let it go. And I’ll rise like the dawn. Let it go, let it go. That perfect girl is gone. Here I stand in the light of day. Let the storm rage on! The cold never bothered me anyway.

So tonight, as I was listening to this song for the thousandth time, a question came to me.

What do you need to let go?

Wow. It took me by surprise, but only for a second. I found myself coming up with things to let go of faster than I could write them down.

I need to let go of the need for acceptance and approval. I need to let go of wanting other people to love my stories. I need to let go of expecting and demanding my stories to pay the bills. I need to let go of the ‘story’ that I’ve written for myself: the Girl with the Heart of Gold who lives like Cinderella in hopes of an invitation to a ball that is never coming. I need to stop resenting the fact that this invitation is never coming. I need to throw my own ball if I want one.

I think this is why this movie, and this song in particular, has resonated with me. I don’t think it is coincidental that Elsa’s power is to freeze things. I think most of us have a frozen bit of our lives, something we put away as being childish or foolish when we decided to grow up. Maybe we didn’t have faith in it or ourselves. There is no one to blame or resent but ourselves for encasing part of our lives in ice. After a lifetime of carefully sealing that door shut, I don’t think it is going to be easy to keep it open. But every time I hear this song, every time I hear Elsa sing, ‘the cold never bothered me anyway’, I do a little fist-pump for her–and for myself as well.