Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Obedience School Rivalry



So I got a dog. And he's perfect. His name is Inigo Montoya and he's part border collie and part blue heeler.
Inigo and I the day we met. 
I found Inigo at an adoption event about two months before I was scheduled to move out of an apartment that wouldn't let me have a pet. And I didn't yet have a pet friendly apartment to move into. So it was pretty much a miracle that when my roommate, Elaine, found us a pet friendly place Inigo was still available. We were meant to be basically.

Once I got Inigo, I quickly realized something. I know nothing about dogs. I foolishly put a PILLOW in his kennel. 

video

He ripped apart all kinds of toys and I'll be honest I was also slightly scared of him because I didn't even know if he was a biter? Needless to say, I pretty quickly decided that obedience classes were a must because I didn't know what the h-e-double hockey sticks I was doing. 

So off we go to obedience school. And once I actually knew what I was doing, it turns out that Inigo is a genius! Since he's a mix of two herding dogs he is, according to one woman my roommate met on a walk "the smartest dog in the world". It's fact people. He caught on to everything really quickly. Except....for leash training. 

Leash training is rough guys. Because not only is it a difficult concept for dogs to not drag you around everywhere, but it's also something you have to face EVERY CHINESE DAY (which, fun fact, is what I thought the emperor said in Mulan at the end to Shang about Mulan until I was probably 25 and had been teaching world civilizations for a couple of years, and then I thought, oh dynasty. Yeah that makes more sense). Especially when you have a high energy, intelligent dog and you live in condo with no fenced in backyard. 

In order to find a way to muscle through this, I needed to find something to help me push myself. It came in the form of another dog in Inigo's obedience class. In Inigo's class there was a real mix of dogs, some puppies, some rescues (like Inigo), but most owners at least were on the same level. But one owner did not seem to recognize that. This owner was annoyingly smug and practicing all the time that our instructor was talking while the rest of their owners were just desperately trying to get their dogs not to hump or eat each other. Scenario: I am holding Inigo's leash real tight because all he wants to do is sniff the heck out of the puppy next to us. The puppy's owners are in a similar situation while we try to listen to our instructor's directions. There is a short pause in her speech, we quickly check our dogs to make sure we haven't choked them to death and there's Roux's owner, drilling his perfectly behaved dog while Inigo's face turns blue and his barks no longer come out because I'm holding on to his leash so tight. Pretentious little prick of a dog/owner combo. 

 Now, I took Inigo the first couple of weeks, but one week I had to miss because of a performance, so my roommate Elaine took him (we're co-parenting). After Elaine came back she told me all the lovely things they had learned that night and then she asked me what I thought about a certain dog/owner combo. It was Roux. Elaine asked me if I thought Roux's owner was a little on the full-of-himself-because-of-how-good-his-dog-was side. YES. I vehemently agree and kind of hate that guy! I was validated!

And so began our rivalry. While before it had been a chore to train Inigo at home and I had always felt like a failure, suddenly it was a competition! Beat Roux! And so we trained. And we trained. I mean it wasn't anything like a Rocky montage but we did some good stuff. Every time our trainer gave Inigo a compliment, I victoriously yet silently said "Take that Roux!". Before we went on walks to leash train I hyped myself up by yelling "We're gonna beat Roux"! This always got Inigo very excited. But I'm pretty sure it's just because I was jumping and yelling and pumping my fist when it happened. He loves jumping. 

Eventually we came to our graduation day. We had learned so many things, sit, stay, leave it, lay down, come. I mean, my dog is basically amazing. So for our final session our trainer decided to have us teach our dogs a fun trick: shake. 'Oh heavens', I thought, 'Inigo doesn't need to know how to shake that's just silly.' But when our instructor asked if any of the dogs already knew how to shake, I think we all knew whose owner raised his hand. That's right, up goes the hand of Roux's owner as our instructor goes over to show the whole class how shake works. And then that pretentious little dog shook his owner's hand....and I knew I had to get Inigo to shake at all costs. By the end of the session Inigo still couldn't shake. But he still got a certificate! So of course we had to get a graduation picture. 

We're still working on his modeling skills. 

Also his ability to wear a hat

We'll get there. 

There is a happy ending, because Inigo FINALLY learned to shake, a mere two months later...But he's so good at it that it's ridiculous.


video


Also, he can also jump on command! Take that Roux!

video




Now let's end on this perfect picture of Inigo and a peanut butter jar. Because we can. 

Disclaimer: Roux and his owner are actually lovely. I'm just obscenely competitive sometimes. 





Sunday, September 20, 2015

The day I became a dinosaur.

It was my first year of teaching. Those of you who are teachers don't need the stage to be set at all, those are all the words you need. Anyone who isn't a teacher, let's just give you an idea.

For the first time, people are trusting you with their children's future. Suddenly, you are an adult who is in charge of a classroom and what goes on in there. It is both exhilarating and terrifying. It is empowering and daunting. And that combination of excitement and terror makes for some crazy power struggles in the classroom.

One of the first things you've got to do as a teacher is decide how to practice your authority. If you've only ever been a student, I'm going to tell you something about your teachers that may shock you. They were terrified sometimes. And depending on how much experience they had and what kind of students they had in class, they were possibly terrified more often than not. Now, being terrified can make teachers do crazy things. If I, as a teacher, am terrified that my students will see through what feels like a phony facade of my authority, I might react a little bit crazily. I might be angry when they do any little thing wrong. I might arbitrarily enforce or create rules for my classroom because I feel threatened. And I did all these things my first year of teaching. Because I was terrified.

This story is one of the first examples of how I stopped being quite so terrified and learned to laugh at myself and let my students do that to. It can be terrifying to be laughed at by teenagers unless you've learned to laugh at yourself.

But really, this is actually just a story about me turning into a dinosaur.

Shortly after the school year began came the dreaded day. Picture day. One nice thing about teaching school is if you hate your ID picture, you get a new one the next year. Since this was my first ID picture as a teacher, this felt like a big moment. After I got this card I could get all the cool teacher discounts (that are always at places so expensive that even if I use my teacher discount it still doesn't fit in my budget) and I could feel more legit.

On picture day I shepherded my students into the art room where the photographer was and waited for them, one by one, to get their pictures taken. Once it was my turn I dutifully smiled and hoped they would come out alright.

Now here's the thing, my pictures came out GREAT. In fact, one of the best school pictures of me ever. There was just one small problem. It was my name.

My last name isn't easy. It's fairly uncommon and is always mistaken for Jorgensen. If that was the mistake they'd make, I'd have rolled my eyes and moved on with life. If they'd gotten a step closer and put Yorganson, I'd have let out a small sigh and said "next year". But they didn't just change my name into some more recognizable and common.



They made me a dinosaur. And not only that. They made me a married dinosaur! In the scenario created by this ID card, there is a Mr. Yorgsar somewhere out there that I come home to every night. Maybe even little Yorgsars. 

Shortly after getting this mistake of a card, the principal assured me they would make a new one with my correct name. But I decided this was too good. I shared it with my students. And they loved it. It was even crazier than the nickname they had given me...


Yep. You read that right. Miss Yolomcswaggins. Middle schoolers .

Now obviously, getting these great nicknames and letting students laugh at me didn't change everything. They didn't suddenly respect me totally, I didn't stop losing it at them every once in a while. But it was a step. Honestly. Humor is the way I deal with difficulty. It's a gift (and a curse). And when I can bring humor into my classroom and allow my students to see that I can laugh at myself (my current way of doing that is by using hilariously outdated slang and pretending I'm cool) my students see that I know that I'm human. They accept my authority more readily. So there you go, use humor to create authority in your classroom. 

Well. Humor and dinosaurs. 


Friday, July 10, 2015

Mr. Pilates

This story has two important background points.

1. Due to nostalgia of my folk dance days and a stunning realization that my pants are starting to get real tight, my desires to work out have skyrocketed recently.

2. My hair has been chopped from super regular long 'do that I could have cut myself...

to a fancy, short, asymmetrical cut that makes me feel cool and edgy.
Cool and edgy people pose with Benjamin Franklin's printing press.

Now that you have the background. We can get to the story.

I resolved on Wednesday morning to start going to fitness classes. This is new for me. I was always able to dance my way into shape and then I left college and that's no longer an option. Now I actually have to do work out things, with spandex and gym memberships and running. And I don't know how that world works. I have never understood people with gym memberships who go to Zumba and Pilates and who own workout clothes. But suddenly, due to the aforementioned shrinking of my pants, I decided it was time to enter that world.

I spent the day at my summer job looking for fitness classes that seemed fun, non-threatening, and inexpensive. I quickly became overwhelmed because there are 1800 fitness studios just in my little piece of Salt Lake. I thought to myself 'Well I tried. I'll just figure it out later, like when all my pants split open.'

But fate didn't want my pants to split open, because when I got home that night and mentioned to my roommate that I had been looking for fitness classes, she was literally getting ready to go to a Pilates class. So of course I was trapped. I couldn't say no to a Pilates class after I'd just mentioned my commitment to health. So off we went.

Now, I made some bold decisions when dressing for this Pilates class. But I didn't realize how bold they were until I was holding a plank position while facing the mirror. Let's just say there was more of me visible than I've ever intended to show in public.

My roommate and I arrived about 5 minutes late. #classy. But we weren't as late as Mr. Pilates. Shortly after we came in and found a place to lie our mats, in he came. This man looked to be about in his 40's, black tank top and short black shorts, very tan, curly dark grey hair pulled into a ponytail. Exactly the kind of man you'd expect to be in a Pilates class really (although sidenote, 75% of that class was male so apparently the men of Millcreek are very interested in Pilates, or in the adorable Pilates instructor).

From the moment this man came into the room, he'd locked on to me. Remember in junior high when you totally thought your crush was looking at you, but you actually secretly thought you were just crazy or paranoid (just me?). Well, I've since learned that if it feels like they're looking at you, it's likely true. And this man's gaze was locked. Like uncomfortably locked. So the Pilates class was a mixture of trying to work my core, trying to not look like an idiot (that's just a constant really), and trying to avoid what seems like the lecherous gaze of this man.

Many thoughts ran through my head. I'm way to young for you dude. Wait, am I too young for him? Wait, he is kind of attractive. I mean, what is age really? No! He's old! Stop looking at me, stop looking at me. Why did I wear this shirt, it's showing everything! He's looking down my shirt, he's looking down my shirt....Oh no if we face this way he'll just stare at my butt the whole time. But mostly I just repeated over and over, 'stop looking at me, stop looking at me, stop looking at me.'

Well it didn't work. Homeboy gazed in my direction most of class and I felt thoroughly uncomfortable. Class ends and I roll my mat up and manage to put it away without saying anything to him. I must be in the clear. I've made it. I won't get asked out by middle aged Mr. Pilates. But then he corners me, and do you want to know what he said!?

"Who cut your hair?"

Yeah. Yeah. He's a hair stylist and he had not been lecherously gazing at me the whole class he had been looking at my sweet haircut and wondering who did it. And in fact he had some great tips for how to make it an even better cut next time. And once I knew that's all he wanted to say, I realized I probably seemed like a jerk the whole time. He was just trying to get my attention so I would give him some hair stylist deets and I pointedly avoided his existence during the entire class even though we were right next to each other for like an hour.

Sorry Mr. Pilates Man. Sorry for thinking you're a creep. You actually seem pretty cool.

Will you cut my hair?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The sunburn.

The last couple of years have been pretty crazy for me, and it's reflected in my blog. I'm trying to get back to reality and get humor back in my life. Because that's always been a big piece of me and I seem to have lost it in the post-college kerfuffle. And so I'm starting this attempt off, with a story about a sunburn. A story about the sunburn.

This past spring break (aka the second best time to be a teacher) I lucked out. The heavens rained down a blessing in the form of my best friend Amanda and I somehow having the exact same spring break as each other. This despite the fact that we teach on opposite sides of the country (me in Utah, her in Mississippi) and we both had spring breaks that were different than the schools around us. Hallelujah! Once we discovered this, we planned an epic road trip in the south with me coming to visit her.

Painfully unaware of the sunburns to come. 

And it was glorious. And I could probably write 15 hilarious blog posts about it, like the tiny bottle of complementary rum we got or the 3 in the morning knock on our hotel room door asking us where the money was. But that's beside the point. The point is, I got a sunburn. Let's backtrack.

Our original plan included a couple of days at the beach in Alabama while we stayed in a precious little cabin in a campground near(ish) the beach.


How precious is this cabin? On a scale of ladybugs to baby animals? And yes that is a swing you see on the porch.
This was a great plan, the only thing we didn't plan for was the fact that we are idiots. We both went to the beach with next to no sunscreen on. I put a minimal amount on my arms, chest, and back and then stopped there because I couldn't ever remember a time where my legs had ever sunburned. Maybe because I've always put sunscreen on them. Hindsight guys. Hindsight.

So Amanda and I lounged at the beach. And we looked adorable. The both of us.
Check out that hottie of a best friend. 

I've never looked cuter. But oh man did I pay for it. 
After a few hours of lounging/reading poetry aloud/seeing drunk college students and wondering what the heck the appeal of drunken spring break is (another side note, did you know there is such thing as a G-string fanny pack? Because that is definitely a thing we saw), I started to think 'I might be a little sunburned'. I didn't actually look sunburned, but I started noticing when I put my finger on my leg, I could see the white outline of the finger for a few seconds after removing it. I mentioned this to Amanda. She assured me I was fine, I didn't look sunburned. Spoiler alert: she was wrong.

We eventually packed up from the beach and started looking for a good seafood place, still unaware of the burns boiling in our bodies. At some point, my legs started to hurt a bit and I realized I did have a little burn. My legs were also starting to firmly protest to my wearing of jeggings (my staple leg wear) in the form of feeling slightly like they were on fire. So Amanda and I decided to turn back to a Target to get me some shorts.

Now the first step to trying on shorts is taking off your pants. And when I took off my pants, what did I see? My two lovely legs covered in a color somewhat akin to a mid-life crisis sports car.
What a lovely color, I think I'd like my legs to look just like it. 
It's funny, as soon as I realized how red my legs were, the pain became exponentially worse. And I quickly realized that even wearing shorts would be painful. Sadly, walking around with no pants wouldn't work for me (although I'd fit right in with those college kids), mostly just because I hadn't shaved in some time. (And I soon realized that I would not be able to shave again for even longer, holy smokes guys.)

I eventually picked out a nice maxi skirt, we picked up some aloe (as Amanda's sunburn was starting to set in as well) and off we went to our seafood dinner. 

I had insisted on finding a seafood place because I always thought I didn't like it until I had it fresh on the coast of the Adriatic Sea (did you catch my slight international travel bragging?) and since then when I'm on a coast I like to go for it. Amanda found this lovely place and we had an even lovelier waiter and we got a nice platter to share. This food was so good, but you see, the sun sickness was setting in. NO. So even though I hadn't eaten a meal in quite some time, this was my plate after I finished.
I took at least one bite out of everything, and then sat back and hated my life. 
I wasn't necessarily nauseous per se, which was a big fat blessing considering my phobia of vomiting. But I definitely didn't want any food. In fact, after dinner we had gotten s'more supplies for our little campsite, I attempted (and failed) to eat one s'more. I made it through maybe three small bites. (That campfire, by the way, is a pretty hilarious story in and of itself. I blame it on the fact that I only attended one full girls camp that Amanda and I needed serious help from our neighbors to get that sucker going. Even with matches.)

The next fun symptom was shivering, by the time we got back to the cabin I was freezing my buns off but I also didn't like anything to be touching my skin. Slight problem. I solved this by finding a good position in my bed and not. moving. at. all. under the covers. 

And the very best part came the next morning, after (very painfully) trying to walk to the bathroom near our cabin I had to quickly come back to the cabin for a few reasons. 
  1. Blinding pain
  2. A wave of nausea and a few telltale signs that vomit was forthcoming (NO) (also ps, I didn't throw up, thank the heavens)
  3. You know those black dots you get when you stand up too fast? Well I had a bazillion of them and they wouldn't leave. In fact, they only left after I was sitting for a good five minutes. 
After a quick Google search that told me that I should most def seek emergency care Amanda and I drove back to her house where we both laid on the comfort of her cold, cement flooring. 

All in all, I learned a lot of things here. 
  1. Wear sunscreen
  2. Sun sickness is real
  3. Wear sunscreen
  4. Your legs WILL burn even if you don't remember them ever burning before
  5. Wear sunscreen
  6. Sunburns give you cankles
  7. Wear sunscreen
  8. Bad sunburns turn your legs purple and make you look like a dinosaur in the affected area for months
  9. Wear sunscreen
  10. You can't shave sunburned legs and when your sunburn is really bad, your legs won't look normal for months
  11. And most importantly, when you're a white girl who rarely spends time outside because you're a weirdie and then you spend spring break much closer to the equator than you usually are, and are laying on a beach for a few hours...WEAR SUNSCREEN. 



Saturday, April 4, 2015

Those opposed to #anyopposed

I don't know much about the group Any Opposed. In fact I had never heard of them until today and just opened their website up about 1 minute ago to make sure I had their name correct. I also wasn't even listening to conference at the time of the vocal opposition to the sustaining of the First Presidency and Quorum of the 12 Apostles. I was teaching munchkins to dance. So I was busy. BUT, after having seen what happened on Twitter and reading some articles, I found myself extremely disheartened.

And it's probably not what you expect.

Shortly after conference I went to Facebook, hoping to see other quotes and thoughts people had on conference from the session I missed. And what I saw were so many who were adamant about their support for the Prophet (fine), right alongside their anger and annoyance with the opposers (not fine). People who said "they should have given their tickets to someone else!" Or calling what they did "antics". Or asking why they are even in a church they are opposed to.

Let me tell you something.

I've been the one opposed. I've been the person who is in severe disagreement with the Church. I've been the one who feels like her voice will never be heard, her concerns never listened to, and her questions never answered. And you want to know why? It's because of you.

It's because it's socially acceptable to call out those who oppose and shame them. If those who have questions, doubts, and concerns aren't listened to, do you think those questions, doubts and concerns will just leave? They just magically disappear?

I have posted a couple of posts about my Mormon feminism. Here, here, and here. And what started as honest questions, doubts, concerns, and misunderstandings became deep, dark, cynical, angry thoughts. Now of course, I recognize my role in that. I will never pretend that I didn't choose to go that way. But let me tell you, I wonder what difference it would have made if I'd felt more comfortable to actually ask these questions in Sunday School or Relief Society. I wonder what could have happened if I wasn't hearing through social media that I should just leave the Church or I didn't truly understand the temple ceremony or I was a prideful sinner? All these from people who didn't know me, didn't know my life experience and why I had arrived at these ideas and concerns and questions.

What if when people mentioned doubts to you as a friend, or when you heard a dissenting voice in Sunday School, you honestly listened? What if you set aside your "preach" mentality and let them just open up and have their concerns? What if you trusted them that they really feel this way and it isn't because they're a sinner or they just don't understand, etc.? What if you were kind on social media and didn't use your tweets and instagrams and sweet little graphics to shame and guilt?

Listen to them.

Trust them.

Our Church should be one where all can feel welcome. Even for those with doubts, questions, concerns, and dissenting opinions. Especially for those with doubts, questions, concerns, and dissenting opinions. You'd be surprised how many people do. I only recently learned of a handful of friends I have who have had deep concerns and questions about the Church that has caused them to severely question the Church. Some have left, some haven't. But the secrecy of those questions and concerns makes me sad. While not all things need to be shared, if we are to be Zion, if we are to be of one heart and one mind, we should probably make more of an effort. Being of one heart and one mind doesn't mean "those people better conform to my views because I'm right". One heart and one mind means we all grow together. It means we have an eye "single to the glory of God". And do you remember what God is? God is love.

Unconditional love. True support. Unending patience. Eternal mercy.

If God wasn't those things, I wouldn't be where I am today. And neither would you. Please remember that next time you hear someone say something you disagree with.

*Please recognize that I'm not necessarily trying to chastise you, I just want you to be aware. This only sounds angry because I feel so very strongly about it. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A hellhole.

That's about the best way I can describe depression. At least for me.

I realize everyone's depression is different. Everyone experiences it differently, processes it differently, deals with it differently, describes it differently. But for me, it's a hole chuck full of hell.

Because when depression roars its ugly head it consists of demons, fears, insecurities, the stuff of nightmares. My depression isn't a vague gloom. It isn't a cloud over my head or a dimmed light in my life. My depression is a ferocious dragon, and it takes everything good from my sight replacing them with horrors.

But that makes sense. My depression fits my personality. I am fiery. I am aggressive and intense and decisive and deep and fast. So my depression follows suit. I remember when I first decided to acknowledge that it might be depression. I was sitting on the couch with a sister of mine and I mentioned that I think maybe it was time to call what I was in, depression.

Sidenote. All of my sisters have experienced depression on and off in their lives. For a long time I considered myself *lucky* because I didn't have depression. I thought I was the one who was strong enough to not get it. First of all, presumptuous. Second of all, nice try. Third of all, rude. 

Back to the narrative. My sister told me that perhaps it was the lot of Yorgason women to deal with depression for whatever reason. "But", she said, "I think yours will be like you. Quick and deep."

And oh that's what it is. While my bouts of depression rarely lost long (the longest being a few months, the shortest being a few days) they. Are. Deep.

When I am in these places, there is seemingly no way to get out of them. There is no ladder in the hole of hell. There are no guiding lights. There is no hope. Everything is terrible and overwhelming and incomprehensible. It's at these points that you simply don't want to exist anymore. Dying sounds a relief. Because the emotions are too big for your little body. The pain is too deep to fathom and assuredly too deep to heal. The trials loom so large that your eyes can't see the tops or bottoms, the heads or tails.

But.

There are heads and tails. There are tops and bottoms. There are lights and ladders and hope and life. Sometimes you just don't to see them. Sometimes you don't want to see them. Isn't that remarkable?

When I am in the depths of despair and someone throws me a helpline, first I just sneer at it and think "it can't be that simple". And if I don't think it can be, then I'm right. Because if you think that helpline won't get you out, it probably won't. You won't touch it. You may consider it with a smirk or an outright frown. You might give it a tug. But if you don't trust it, you'll never put your full weight on it so you'll never get out. And sometimes, I think, that's okay.

Because I've realized that it is important to experience those emotions. As terrible as they are, feeling those deeply painful emotions must happen in order for the healing to begin. Acknowledging them, validating them, and knowing them must happen before they can be resolved. You've got to be in that hellhole and understand it before you can fathom escaping it. In fact, for whatever reason, before you even want to escape it. Because in the hellhole, cynicism reigns. And all of those silly, optimistic solutions are watery and convoluted. So before you believe those solutions could even possibly be real, you have to take a good long hard look at the hellhole to realize its faults. You have to see how hard the hellhole is lying. And oh man, it's lying big time.

Once you see the lies of the hellhole, you know there must be something else. But going down would only reveal more lies, deeper and darker lies that are so profoundly twisted from the truth they should never be faced. Lies that would not only be rejected outright in a normal frame of mind, but would likely be met with confusion, surprise, and horrific shock. And once you recognize the lies around you, you don't want more lies you want something else. So there's nowhere to go but up. To see what else there is. And that helpline is the only thing leading up. So logically, the sneer becomes a contemplative glance. A tug becomes prolonged. And little by little, you put your full weight on that helpline.

Of course once you get out of the hellhole, it doesn't always mean you're out to stay. But maybe you won't sneer at the helpline so long this time. Maybe the trust will come quicker.

Because living in a hellhole is a hell of a way to live.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Let it go and defy gravity.

I've been thinking a lot about a couple of intensely popular Idina Menzel songs in the last few years. Frozen's "Let it Go" and Wicked's "Defying Gravity". Both songs are really inspirational and exciting and are written to say you can do anything if you just let your true nature out and go for it.

Both songs are about letting go of something and doing what you really feel, regardless of what people think.

"Elphaba, why couldn't you have just stayed calm for once instead of flying off the handle?"  
"Couldn't keep it in, heaven knows I've tried...I don't care what they're going to say. Let  the storm rage on, the cold never bothered me anyway."

Now, if that was the whole lesson, these songs would be just what most people think of them as, inspirational. Because it is important to be true to yourself, it is important to be true to your feelings. These are  really important lessons and I really hope they are ones I can transmit to my current children (my students) and my future children (biological, one day, maybe, we'll see...).

But something has stuck out to me about these two songs, and that something is perhaps even more important than being true to yourself. Now, coming from me that's kind of a big deal because I find it extremely important to be true to yourself. Like, it's one of my things. But perhaps the deeper meaning of these songs is coming to me now as I mature and see the next step in being true to yourself: taming yourself.

In Wicked, Elphaba decides she must go against the grain and be "wicked" in order to achieve her just cause. And once she decides that is what she is going to do, she sings this song and begins to then "defy gravity" both literally and symbolically. She is defying the norms and rules that would normally keep her down. She lets her powers out and uses them for this purpose.

"It's time to try defying gravity. I think I'll try defying gravity, and you can't bring me down!"
In Frozen, Elsa decides (after losing control of a situation) to just let her freezing powers out and stop following the rules that have been put on her by her parents. She "lets go" of the rules and constraints that keep her power from being shown.

"Let it go, let it go, can't hold it back anymore. Let it go, let it go, turn away and slam the door."
Both of these characters have extraordinary powers that are powerful and are unique to them. These powers are special strengths which they have chosen to hide from the world for whatever reason, and keeping them hidden for so long eventually caused them to snap. So they let them go, so that they could defy gravity. So they could finally be themselves.

But the thing about letting something out that has been kept in and hidden for so long is that it can be dangerous and hurt other people.  Elphaba has to turn away from her friend Galinda and other friends and family in order to defy gravity. Elsa has to run away from her sister and the kingdom she is supposed to rule over in order to let it go.

Now, I'm not bashing on these shows, because both shows do highlight the problems this brings. We just forget about it because the songs are catchy.

In Wicked, Elphaba realizes that her choices to defy gravity have actually limited her. Her resources aren't what they used to be because she has turned back from the system that she disagreed with and tried to change it from the outside instead of the inside. Being on the outside had its benefits, but ultimately it didn't allow her to achieve her goal.

"I'm limited, just look at me, I'm limited. And just look at you, you can do all I couldn't do Galinda. So now it's up to you, for both of us. Now it's up to you."

Elphaba is so far gone she has to pass the torch to her friend Galinda. She sees her mistakes is unable to rectify them. While she was true to herself, by letting her true feelings and powers out untamed she unintentionally boxed herself out and hurt those around her.

Thankfully, Elsa makes the realization before it's too late. She is snapped into reality by her sister, the reality being that letting her full self out hurt many people other than her. While she was being true to herself and intensely using the powers given to her, letting out that untamed version ended up terrible. When she accepts that reality, she is able to go back, fix the damages, and responsibly use her power. She is able to eventually be true to herself, be true to her unique powers, but able to use them to the benefit of those around her.

Maybe this being news to me is embarrassing and you've all known this for ages. But as someone with a strong and unique personality, someone who has at times "let it go" so I could be myself because that's what you're supposed to do, it was a a good reminder. Being yourself is important. Being your best self is more important.

Be who you are, but make sure the person you are is a good one. Use your unique powers, your God-given gifts to help and care and lift and bring joy, to educate and inspire and love. If you're not hitting at least one of those perhaps you're letting it go untamed.

Because the thing is, our true selves are imperfect. They aren't always motivated by the best of intentions. They are often scared and selfish and inconsiderate. But they are powerful. Letting them out without restraint will often end up in negative results. However, harnessing that power you have and giving it a little training will lead you to a place of much greater power than you had before. Because you'll have not only your power, but the power of those you helped, lifted, inspired, etc.

So by all means, let it go and defy gravity. But let's be responsible about it alright?