I’ve been watching a lot of kid movies lately. There’s a lot of terrible ones out there but some are deeply wonderful. I’ve been thinking about how we cordon them off into ‘kid’ world so the only adults who know about them are ones with kids, and that’s a shame, because the experience of watching a magical movie through a child’s eyes as an adult is a beautiful creative act.
That’s one of the things i hate most about white supremacy culture, the way it splits everything into binaries, polarities, one side or another, and I especially notice it around parenting.
You either decide not to have kids and have nothing to do with kids, or you decide to have kids and exist ONLY in a world of kids. And it makes the decision whether to have kids or not really fraught and intense. You’ve got two options: have kids and give up your identity and never have another meaningful adult conversation, or don’t have kids and never get invited into spaces with kids ever for any reason. It’s a weird way to approach it, right? Like, WHY? We all lose in that scenario. We get into this war of who has it worse, single people without kids or parents spending all their time with kids. I hate that war. I don’t want to be in a war at all, I want to build a culture where kids are part of it, where my kids have adults in their lives they love and trust who are not their parents, where I get to go out at night and sing karaoke once in a while. That is true in some cultures and it’s something I’m working on, that a lot of people I know are working on.
I mean so much of this has gotten more intense in the pandemic when none of us are doing anything BUT be at home, with or without kids. I am dreaming of this healthy thriving culture where we all coexist together, support each other, raise kids together. Lots of aunts and uncles and cousins. Kids running around everywhere.
Anyway, so I just re-watched Moana, and what struck me this time was the scene where Moana is alone on a boat in the ocean, doubting herself and her ability to continue. She’s lost her way, and the spirit of her Grandma comes to help her.
Her Grandma tells her, you should be proud of what you have done. You have come so far and if you want to go home now, I will go with you. You don’t have to go any farther if you don’t want to. That permission to fail is so beautiful. That’s what we need sometimes from parents or grandmas or people who love us, right? Not someone to talk you into doing what you need to do, but someone to tell us it’s ok not to. It’s ok to fail. I love you no matter what, I’m here with you all the way home. That is what allows Moana to make the next step herself. No one talks her into doing it. She comes to it on her own.
She starts by standing up and saying her name out loud. I am Moana.
She says who she is, who her people are, where she comes from. I am a girl who loves my island, I’m the girl who loves the sea. It calls me. I am the daughter of the village chief. We are descended from voyagers who found their way across the world, they call me.
She says what she has done so far, the things she thought she could not do that she has done. I’ve delivered us to where we are, I have journeyed farther, I am everything I’ve learned and more, still it calls me.
She remembers what calls her, why she’s doing what she’s doing. And the call isn’t out there at all, it’s inside me. It’s like the tide, always falling and rising. I will carry you here in my heart you’ll remind me that come what may I know the way.
She repeats her name: I am Moana!
Then she dives into the ocean to reclaim the green stone, the heart of Te Fiti. When she comes back up to the boat, she is alone.
Crying! It’s so good!
I feel like this kind of self talk is what we all need right now to find our way through this dark time.
I am making this my daily prompt for the rest of the month (and the rest of 2020…!).
Who am I?
Who are my people?
Who am I descended from? (How could I choose a word to describe them, like Voyagers?)
What calls me?
What object symbolizes my call?
They are not easy questions to answer — when I ask myself, who am I, who are my people, what calls me, I’m not sure what the answer is. That is the problem! That’s why I like to draw and write and dance to find my answers — it’s okay not to know. My body knows the answer before I do. I draw the answer, I dance the answer, and slowly come to understand what it means.
I realized just now singing along to Moana (which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND DOING) that I am Faith, and what calls me is my art garage! It calls me, the paint, the paintbrushes, the candles, the quiet, the space to dance. Communicating my thoughts to you this way calls me.
What calls you? What is calling to you right now that maybe you’re not noticing? What is your name? Who are your people?
You know the waaaaaay!