Haven't seen the Disney movie Frozen? Oh, you're the one. But if you haven't seen it, you're bound to have heard it. Songs from the movie have become so recognizable they rival any of Disney's animated predecessors. Google "Let It Go lip sync" and over 7 million results pop up instantaneously. Mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, and even Navy baseball team players have charmingly thrown their miming hats into the YouTube ring.
The lyrics of "Let It Go" are empowering and positive. They speak to making tough changes and coming out whole. "Let It Go" is an anthem for anyone who's seen struggles and survived. The lyrics resonate while seemingly bringing out the Beyoncé in all of us.
It struck me recently that the lyrics apply almost too perfectly to the life-changer that is divorce. I don't know much about the folks who penned them (Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez) except that they're a ridiculously talented married couple. If I didn't know that, I would have guessed the song was written by someone whose marriage was ending and here are the very lyrics that support why:
"A kingdom of isolation and it looks like I'm the queen." Sometimes being a monarch isn't much fun especially if you're a divorcing one. Divorce is one of life's loneliest endeavors. From the very first inkling you may be headed there to standing in court to finalize it, you're pretty much on your own. Sure, you can bounce the experience off your cadre of besties but the ultimate royal edict belongs to you. And if you didn't want your divorce, you're now reigning over uncharted territory you didn't want in the first place.
"Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know...well, now they know." Divorce doesn't feel real until it's been shared. Until you tell your kids, parents and friends, it's just a torturous decision -- one you turn over in your mind until it turns to mush. So there's a lot of concealing when you're deciding to divorce. You don't want to pull back the curtain prematurely so you protect the façade of the marriage until you can't anymore. Once "they" know, you feel the palpable relief of not having to go through the motions and not living with the burden of this huge secret.
"I don't care what they're going to say." I'd recommend trying to get to this point before you announce your split. People may judge you. They may speculate inaccurately about the reasons for your divorce. They may try to dissuade you. But the only two people who know what happens to derail a marriage are the two people in it -- and even they can't agree! Is your neighbor staying in his marriage for you? Is your brother? Your clergy member? I think not. And nor should you feel compelled to stay in yours for fear of judgment.
"And the fears that once controlled me can't get to me at all." My recent research shows that the number one reason women 40-plus leave their marriages is emotional abuse. Number one! And the fears instilled by emotional abuse run very, very deep. Once you make the decision to get out of an unhealthy relationship, your fears -- whatever form they take -- will no longer own you.
"I'm never going back. The past is in the past." Whether you wanted your divorce or not, it's now over and done. In marriage, divorce and life, the fact remains that you can't go back. If you have regrets (and we all do), put them in perspective and learn from them. It serves no one for you to spend the rest of your days beating yourself up about things you can't change now. Decide to live your life differently and make better choices going forward.
"That perfect girl is gone." And good riddance to her! Did you expend a lot of effort and energy creating a picture of your life that was a solar system away from its reality? Did your yearly holiday card show a happy, smiling family while the marriage -- the beating heart of family life -- was anything but? Did you slog through your days feeling like a flawless fraud? You don't need to be that mannequin anymore. And who wants to be perfect, anyway? It's much more important to have yourself back -- the complex, flawed, beautiful, incomparable you.
"It's time to see what I can do...to test the limits and break through." Yes, it is that time. And thankfully you've lived to see it. What dreams remained unfulfilled in your marriage? What did you stop yourself from doing because your spouse disapproved? What scares you but excites you to your toes? Now's your time. Create a new story for your life that isn't defined by the ending of your marriage. In the words of Queen Elsa, let it go. Now, go.