2019 was a weird one. I like to think I had some pretty concrete goals at the beginning of 2019, but this probably isn’t true. I was never a fan of New Year’s resolutions- I usually I associate them with the gym being crowded from January until about the end of February or beginning of March…whenever all the resolutioners give up. I think resolutions really just put unnecessary pressure on you which for me anyways would just get me to lose track of why the resolution exists in the first place. (I have similar feelings about giving something up for Lent. People who give up something like junk food because they want to lose weight are kind of missing the point.)
Despite the lack of New Year’s resolution, I think I had some loosely thought out goals lined up in my mind. Maybe they weren’t even things that were meant to happen in 2019. Or maybe they weren’t even goals at all, and they were more general ideas for certain things I want to achieve in life (wait, that sounds like a…goal?).
I had some vague idea of a couple of different writing projects I wanted to work on, but I think only one of them ended up happening. Writing outside of work has been something I’ve struggled with for the past couple of years, and it’s really unfortunate. I love freelancing, don’t get me wrong, but between having a full-time day job and some regular freelancing work I’ve lost touch with the more creative side of my writing. And I wish I could say this sentiment was new to 2019, but it’s actually been like this since I was in college. I needed the money, and once I learned I could get paid for my writing (I mean, that’s the dream, isn’t it?) this cycle started and it got me out of the habit of writing anything just for fun. While this wasn’t a conscious goal for 2019, I think this was the underlying theme of the year for me. I never flat out said it as a New Year’s resolution or anything like that, but for the first time in years I had come up with some ideas for writing outside of my usual work but they didn’t really begin to happen in 2019…until the last month or so.
Now that you’ve read three paragraphs about me rambling on about how stupid I think New Year’s resolutions are, I’m sure you’re wondering how this is related to Frozen. Well, as you’ve probably come to expect from me, I can relate nearly any situation to a Disney movie, so here it goes!
When the first Frozen movie came out, I was obsessed. I was not much into writing about Disney movies at the time (*I’m still not–the parks are really my thing, please don’t invite me to Disney trivia as your secret weapon, you’ll be disappointed) but I wrote at least a handful of posts about Frozen. I analyzed the music, the animation, meticulously dissected the plot, and even went on a whole bunch of silly tangents about whether Anna and Elsa would be included in the official Disney Princess line and all kinds of things that quite honestly really don’t matter.
My obsession with Frozen did not fade over the course of the following year, and when I moved to Orlando to participate in the Disney College Program the summer after the movie came out I was pumped to take in even more new Frozen experiences. Months before I made the move, I had connected with my future roommates on Facebook who were also Frozen fans and we impulse bought tickets to see Frozen on Ice that debuted that year in Orlando. We hadn’t even met each other yet, but we were going to just deal with however that went in the name of getting a group together to see Frozen on Ice. Priorities…
At first living right outside Walt Disney World as a Frozen fan was everything you’d think it would be and more. Hollywood Studios Cast Members gave out these adorable Olaf fans to help with the summer heat and humidity, photo ops popped up where you would comically pretend to be freezing despite it being August in Central Florida, and I was all over spending far too much of my paycheck on Frozen merchandise. But by September or October things began to change.
A temporary skating rink and snow play area for kids opened in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Cast Members could be deployed to work there. Thankfully I never was, but the one or two times I went in the place I was low-key furious that I had moved to Florida and was face-to-face with snow. My chances of ever being deployed there were slim to none, but I’m sure I lost some sleep over the prospect of moving thousands of miles south only to work in a pile of snow. I went to work one day, in Merchandise in DinoLand at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and attended a mandatory morning meeting where we were told that our shop would be converted to the park’s toy store (as the then current store, Creature Comforts, would become Starbucks), and as a result we would stock the Frozen merchandise in Animal Kingdom. What on Earth does Frozen have to do with dinosaurs… Merchandise Cast Members in DinoLand also run those God forsaken Fossil Fun Games, and with the popularity of Frozen some of our trainers directed us to include themed jokes, especially at Mammoth Marathon, the skeeball game based on the Ice Age.
Then Disney announced that the Maelstrom, the epic boat ride in Epcot’s Norway pavilion that focused on vikings, trolls, and general Norwegian history and folklore, would be replaced with a Frozen attraction. I loved the Maelstrom, and how it represented actual stories from a real-life country, and while I did love Frozen, I began to resent it for interjecting the fictional kingdom of Arandelle into an attraction once based on an actual culture. I rode the Maelstrom on its last day that it was open, and while it was obviously closed for construction the following day, when I went back to Epcot the gift shop next to the old post-show area were open…and stocked with Anna and Elsa dresses and plushes.
During the Christmas season, Elsa took over for the Fairy Godmother in lighting the DreamLights on Cinderella Castle. It was the final straw for me and Frozen. It’s Cinderella Castle…in the Magic Kingdom. This isn’t Arandelle. And the way that Elsa goes about lighting the castle is extremely awkward if you ask me– She fully acknowledges that it’s not her castle and that her and her sister Anna along with Kristoff and Olaf are guests in the kingdom. But the other characters then proceed to peer pressure her into lighting the castle, and they even get the audience going with chants of “ICE AND SNOW!” Way to be an example for the thousands of kids watching…apparently vandalizing property that isn’t yours in the name of marketing(?) is an okay thing to do?
With that, I was done. There was a time that I loved Frozen, and I appreciated it for what it was still but my obsession was over. And as strange and convoluted as this sounds, my relationship with my own writing seemed to mirror this. 2013 (when Frozen came out) was the year I started freelancing. The more I freelanced, the less I wrote anything creative. It was the same year I was working on my thesis, and between April and the summer a whole host of stressful situations were thrown my way, and I stopped making time to be creative. Throughout 2014, I was in full work mode to save money to move to Florida and by that point I was doing well enough freelancing that it basically took up the rest of my free time, outside of school and work at Staples, two museums and my college’s library.
During my Disney College Program from 2014-2015, I was working on writing my first book, Brittany Earns Her Ears. Of course, I’m thrilled that I was able to document my program in the book, but between working in DinoLand (and then at Lights, Motors, Action!), freelancing for a couple of websites, and writing the book, I was totally out of touch with any kind of creative writing by that point. When I moved back to Massachusetts, this cycle continued while I kept finding myself between jobs and freelancing was really the only constant. By the beginning of 2019, I had really begun to think about what I was doing and I finally acknowledged that years had actually gone by since I’d written anything for myself. Writing had gone the way of Frozen– it was something I was extremely passionate about at one point, but by the beginning of this year it wasn’t entirely fun anymore because I associated it so much with work.
Then Frozen 2 came out. I was skeptical. Despite writing numerous pieces about new merchandise for Frozen 2 for Inside the Magic, I wasn’t particularly excited. I felt like I had a kind of PTSD only Disney interns in 2014 would understand, and I wasn’t sure the film needed a sequel. Somehow, despite my then resentment for all things Frozen, and the fact that I didn’t even plan on seeing the film while it was at the movies, I was wrong. Frozen 2 is, in my opinion, so much better than the first. The character development, the MUSIC, and just all of it is what a Disney animated film should be like.
I ended up writing about Frozen again, and not just about new pajamas and cookware with Olaf on them, but things like the writing in the film, and development of characters like Kristoff, and I was enjoying it. And then I thought, if I’m enjoying writing about Frozen again, I bet I’d enjoy writing something creative again. I’m not quite sure why that was the connection I made, but this all seemed to make some sort of sense. I kept diving deeper into the second Frozen film, and at the risk of driving myself crazy with the soundtrack, I became totally obsessed with “Show Yourself”. And little did I know, this song perfectly sums up my personal growth throughout 2019- and of course it does…Isn’t that how it would work? That a song you assumed you’d hate months ago just ends up striking such a chord with you that it defines how you’ve changed as a person?
If you’ve seen the movie, you know the song. If you haven’t, you can check out the lyric video for it here. Just know that there is technically a spoiler in it. If you haven’t seen the first Frozen you probably won’t get the spoiler and I imagine you’d forget it before you get to this point of the sequel so the decision is yours but you’ve been warned. The song covers Elsa’s journey as she herself goes through some serious personal growth, and it’s something that’s resonated with me in such a similar way. I’ve been looking for some way to make sense of what’s been going on this year, specifically the past couple of months where through a series of strange and coincidental events my drive to be creative has been revived.
Every inch of me is trembling, but not from the cold. Something is familiar, like a dream I can reach but not quite hold. Me, 100%. An exact contextualization of my feelings when I realized some things over the past couple of weeks that finally got me back into some creative writing and kick started this newfound (yet all too familiar) zest for personal goals at the beginning of the year, and even before that if I had to guess. Might add to this point later…still thinking.
I can sense you there, like a friend I’ve always known. I’m arriving, and it feels like I am home. Without giving too much away if you still haven’t seen Frozen 2, Elsa isn’t really talking to herself here but when I hear these lyrics I can’t help but find myself getting more in touch with certain feelings I’ve been having and trying to make sense of them. Maybe the timing is coincidental, or maybe I’m overthinking this (2,000 words later at this point, you think!?) but lyrics like this are something I seriously needed to end out this year.
I have always been a fortress, cold secrets deep inside. You have secrets too, but you don’t have to hide. Oh you know, just Elsa giving it to me straight. Affirming some subconscious thoughts I’ve been having about certain directions I’m taking creatively and in terms of new (old) goals going into 2020.
Show yourself, I’m dying to meet you. Show yourself, it’s your turn. Are you the one I’ve been looking for all of my life? I’m not sure if this is related to my personal creativity or…something else. But it’s striking a cord. I definitely set out looking for some kind of clarity at the beginning of the year, and I think it may all be coming together…
Show yourself, I’m ready to learn. Or re-learn how to write something for me again. Guess that explains the “Something is familiar” a couple of verses back.
I’ve never felt so certain, all my life I’ve been torn. But I’m here for a reason. Could it be the reason I was born? To actually write something I’m passionate about?! Elsa is coming through with the clarity here…
I have always been so different, normal rules did not apply. Is this the day, are you the way, I finally find out why? I understand myself why this line is resonating with me, but I’m not sure about writing this one out yet. Stay tuned.
Show yourself, I’m no longer trembling. Here I am, I’ve come so far.
You are the answer I’ve waited for all of my life
Oh, show yourself
Let me see who you are…
Come to me now
Open your door
Don’t make me wait one moment more…
Where the northwind meets the sea
There’s a river full of memory
Come my darling, homeward bound
I am found.
Step into your power
Into something new
You are the one you’ve been waiting for all of my life
Oh, show yourself.
To be continued.
(Lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez)