Mirror of Children’s Movies

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It’s been a really long time since last I posted here. It’s been a really long year. It’s been a long week. It’s been a long month.

Shutdown in my home was interesting, in the way we grasped it. My husband went into full on survival mode, with the need to survive and protect and do whatever we can to come out the other side, unscathed and alive. I went into deep mourning. Mourning over school, seeing friends, sitting at a coffee shop, going to the gym, over not being able to see live music, you know, the everyday life things we took for granted; and a huge amount of grief over having my family so far away and no clear date and time when I will be able to hug my mom.

We, like many others, upped the screen time of our kids for a bit of peace and quiet. We started Family Movie day on Sunday early afternoon while my youngest dragon napped. One of the movies we watched was “Sing”. Have you seen it? It has super cute animals who are in a Reality Show style singing contest which this snazzy koala invented to save his decaying theatre. (there may be some spoilers ahead, so if you are really into watching kids movies, go watch it now and then come back and read this piece).

Anyway, there is this character named Rosita. She is a pig, married to Norman and with 28 children. Yes, 28. She seems content in her life, she seems fine, and yet she sings while she does the dishes and looks out the window with a longing she can’t even understand.

She has an incredible voice (by Reese Witherspoon) and sings Katy Perry, Bananarama and Taylor Swift songs. She cannot dance, she cannot feel comfortable in her skin.

Did I mention she cannot get a babysitter to take care of her kids while she pursues her dreams? so, in pure superhero mom mode, creates all this machines and mechanisms which feed her kids, do the dishes and even says goodbye to them while giving them their backpacks (with a prerecorded tape). It also reads her children a bedtime story (again, with a prerecorded tape).

Never mind the father who doesn’t even realize what is happening in his own household.

Rosita feels naughty by figuring out her whole life so she can actually do something for herself, she actually snickers as she leaves her house for rehearsal in her full on mom-jeans.

Her singing partner is also a pig, Gunter, a wonderful, flamboyant porcine wonder, who makes up for his lack of singing talent in his dance moves. He tries to get her out of the shell she has created for herself, get her to feel the music and dance, she feels its impossible.

Then at the supermarket, in one of her everyday chores for survival of her clan, the Gipsy Kings come on and with spices as castañuelas, she goes into a full dance episode that even the security guard applauds. Within her cotidianity she has begun the journey of discovering herself, she is found.

Why am I telling you Rosita’s journey in this children’s movie?

Because it has made me cry.

Every single time.

Because when you watch a movie with kids like mine they want to watch it over and over. And have the music playing constantly (which is an earworm blessing considering the alternative of the earworm of constant Frozen playing in the loudspeaker!), and every single time I watch that movie, I cry a bit in the final Rosita scene.

What is this scene you ask?

It is the show with the finalists (I won’t give you more details). She sings Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake it off’, the scene starts with her with a load of laundry and the first lines. Then as Gunther takes over, she steps behind a shade and changes clothes in a very sexy manner. When she comes out she is wearing an incredible black sparkly leotard with a hood and a cape. Her husband drops his jaw. He is seeing her. For the first time in years.

He sees her.

At the end of the scene he jumps on the stage and kisses her, before being interrupted by her gazillion kids.

Why does the scene make me cry? Yes, the husband lost sight of his love within the chaos of parenting, of the everyday, of the tornado that is life. And it is his gaze that has been recovered in that space. But before that it was Rosita that recovered herself. It was Rosita that didn’t only want to sing as a backdrop to the chores. She, with her whole magnificent body took center stage and did it all, for herself.

She was her mirror.

But she had lost herself.

Had it not been for the contest and for her amazing dancing partner who pushed her to feel herself, to move her body, to simply be, she would have not been able to complete the journey of self-discovery.

The husband seeing her for the first time is an extra, it’s a nice cherry on top. But.

She had already won: herself.

I am finding it that in this time in which worry is so much a part of us, in this time in which you can’t plan a week ahead because you don’t know what that week will bring, in this time in which everyday things look so very different and holidays with family are not happening, in these times, we are losing more of ourselves.

As women we carry so much of the burden to keep things afloat. We just do. We have an incredible amount of balls up in the air which we never let drop. Childcare and work and food and schooling and making tiny choices that are really quite huge, and all of it on our shoulders. We don’t let them drop but we don’t gaze inwards, we don’t have the capacity, the time or the space to do so.

As is I find that many women forget themselves, especially in parenting, right now the amnesia is fully taking over. Let’s not even consider pleasure, intimacy, sex or the acceptance and care for our own bodies!

We are last in the priority list. We don’t even realize it because there is no mirror to show us. We don’t have a singing partner, we don’t have the luxury to create mechanisms to feed our kids and clean the house while we go discover ourselves. We don’t have the luxury of being resentment free.

This is a call for all of us to be more Rosita, to go out into the world (our own tiny bubbled up world) to seek a mirror in which we can see ourselves and start recognizing who is that person staring back. Yes it would be wonderful if our partners (if we have them) could gaze at us with wonder at who we are, be those mirrors, but first and foremost we need to be our own reflection of admiration and wonderment.

We need to go back, to us. To who we used to be before the world came to an end (or at least the world as we knew it). Retake or adapt to a new style of Self-Care.

We need to drop a few balls, and that is ok if they break, and take a moment to breathe, and to take care of ourselves. We need to look at us, see if we can find ourselves again, and if we can’t, seek a mirror who will help us find ourselves again.

I’d be honored to be your mirror.