Monday, 10 March 2014

Why Elsa from Frozen should be the Aspergers’ heroine

Elsa was born different. She has a power that her family don’t understand and are therefore afraid of. One day, while exercising her power, she accidentally hurts her little sister, Anna. The troll (so-called ‘love’ expert) responds by removing all memories of that power. Anna is not permitted to know her sister is different; she is never given a chance to understand her sister as she truly is. Her sister is stolen from her by people who believe they are acting in her best interests.

Subsequently, through terror of hurting her sister again, Elsa is forced to hide away, to hide her ability, her true self, to force down her feelings, any feelings. “Conceal. Don’t feel. Don’t let it show.”

How many of us feel we have been forced to hide our difference through the fear of hurting others, inadvertently? Forced to fit in, to pretend? Or just to hide away, alone, as Elsa does, if we can’t manage to fit in successfully, to pretend to be like everyone else?

And what was the result for both Anna, and Elsa? They each lost their sister, their loving relationship, through their parents’ crushing fear of Elsa’s difference.

At the coronation, the problem comes into full force. Elsa’s difference is revealed, and reviled. She escapes, to be alone and free, to finally be who she wants to be. Why do so many Aspies feel happiest alone? It is because we can finally be ourselves, not forced to try to fit in, not forced to be what they expect us to be.

And her power is beautiful and wonderful. She is creative, free, amazing. But yet again, the fear that was instilled in her long ago, threatens to ruin her world. Again, she hurts the person she loves the most, ironically through fear of hurting her. She pushes her away. I know that feeling; so hurt by people in the past, I have pushed away potential friends through fear of being hurt, or of hurting them.

And what is the answer, after all this? Love. Love is the answer. Elsa does not lose her powers, but she learns to control them because of the love of her sister, which was denied her all those years ago. Once she accepts that she is loved, and understands that love can undo any hurt that her difference has caused.

I have only experienced that sort of unconditional love from my children and my wonderful best friend. Sadly, my husband has yet to come to terms with my difference. He is still trying to get me to fit in, to be that good girl Elsa tried, and ultimately failed, to be. But to be yourself, and to be loved for being yourself...if we can achieve that in life, we have won.

“Let it go, let it go. Can’t hold it back any more. I don’t care what they’re going to say. Let the storm rage on. The cold never bothered me anyway.”

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