Róisín Ingle . . . on letting go
“On my first visit to the cinema as a child to see Grease I remember not wanting to go home and wishing I could move in to Screen 1 at the Savoy – the seats seemed comfier than my bed – and just watch the movie on a loop forever. I was eight.” )
By the time you read this I estimate (with my magic calculator) I will have listened to Let It Go from Frozen seven million and eight times. The animated Disney tale of two sisters Elsa and Anna, one with awesome powers to freeze stuff, has been the soundtrack of our lives since late last year when we took the children on their debut visit to the cinema. They haven’t been back to the cinema since but the song has stayed with us and quite possibly it will never leave.
On my first visit to the cinema as a child to see Grease I remember not wanting to go home and wishing I could move in to Screen 1 at the Savoy – the seats seemed comfier than my bed – and just watch the movie on a loop forever. I was eight.
My daughters were five on this first cinema visit to see Frozen . I think maybe they were too young or their beds are too comfortable but they didn’t take to the cinema experience. They weren’t fans of the lighting – too dark – or the fact that there were other people there – too noisy – or the size of the room – too big – but from the second Let It Go started, something stirred in them. When the first tinkly piano notes played they stopped complaining about the chairs – too squeaky – and were singing along “let it go, let it goooo!” with the first chorus before it had even finished. And after we left, half way through the movie, they were still singing it, this song they’d heard only once. They haven’t stopped since.
I don’t mind. I come home from work and instead of normal conversation about how many nits are in their hair or their newfound love of playing something they insist on calling “THE GAA!” they sing Let It Go . There is a protocol. If one of them starts the song they get to finish it with no interruptions. If you interrupt, they go back to the beginning so we’ve learnt to let them at it. Also, while they sing you have to pretend that the whole house is turning into an intricate ice palace because of their powers. There were actual hailstones the other day while one of them sang and I pity the fool who would have tried to persuade her that she wasn’t responsible for the ice balls falling from the sky.
What a song. What. A. Song. It happened to win an Oscar (of course it did) so I played the girls Idina Menzel’s stunning performance of it on the laptop, appalled that John Travolta mangled her name in his introduction, calling her Adele Dazeem. On the upside, everyone who didn’t know Idina Menzel’s name before Sunday night knows it now. Online, slate.com has since offered people the chance to Travoltify their names. (Mine is Rhiannon Granite. Nice to meet you.) And Travolta has spoken about his blooper saying he asked himself what Idina would do: “She’d say let it go, let it go!” and he’s right of course.
One of my girls, the one who’s prone to drama (don’t ask me where she got that from), came home from school the other day with a sad face. When I asked what was wrong she said someone had told her she didn’t have magical powers in her hands like Elsa from Frozen . “Well, do you think you have powers?” I asked her. She answered by zipping around the room with her best imperious expression, everything she pointed at freezing to ice in the face of her fierce and wild imagination.
I can’t quite explain what the song has stirred in them, in us. I also can’t think of a more appropriate anthem for International Women’s Day: “Let it go, let it go/ And I’ll rise like the break of 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.”
We all have powers, is what Let It Go says to me. And as I get older, I feel less and less afraid of them. This is the line that speaks to me the most: “It’s funny how some distance/ Makes everything seem small/ And the fears that once controlled me/ Can’t get to me at all.”
Robert Lopez and Kirsten Anderson- Lopez, a husband-and-wife songwriting team, wrote Let It Go and in their funny, touching acceptance speech at the Oscars they finished by addressing their two little girls who had inspired the song. It was written, said Kirsten, in the hope that “you never let fear or shame stop you from celebrating the unique people that you are”. On this day and every day, it’s a powerful message for women and girls everywhere.