fireez: (Quotes - Geek Fangirl no apologies!)
[personal profile] fireez

Browsing through the tag, I’ve seen people interpret Elsa’s part of the story as a queer coming out story. And while this is a valid interpretation, I have a different one. To me, it’s about mental illness, and how to learn to deal with that, especially from a chronic MI perspective.

Spoilers ahoy!

For me, the punch in the gut moment was when Elsa talked about how her parents taught her to “conceal, not feel”. It’s something a lot of mentally ill people learn: never let your true emotions show, because people will judge you. They will call you a freak, they will ridicule you, they will fear you. That last part is especially true for those of us whose MI comes with the stigma of being potentially dangerous for others - schizophrenia, borderline, bipolar etc.

Once Elsa’s parents learned that her powers had the potential to hurt someone, they decided to minimize her human contact and to teach her to conceal her powers. Not because they didn’t love her, mind you, but exactly because they loved her so much. They didn’t want her getting hurt, be it by society’s attitudes towards her power or by accidentially hurting others. They wanted to protect her from others and herself.

Thing is, Elsa was born with her power. And you can’t protect someone from something that is in them. You also can’t teach them to deal with it by saying “conceal, don’t feel”, because not feeling it is impossible.

Isolating someone is also no way to protect them. It was made pretty clear that Elsa’s outburst of power happened because she was being stressed by a situation she had never had much experience with  - being among people, being confronted with her sister who had the exact opposite of a “conceal, don’t feel” attitude. It is impossible to learn how to handle yourself around people if you are never around people.

The moment Elsa finally lets it go, finally accepts her powers, something inside her changes (and not just her wardrobe). She’s no longer afraid of herself, because she is no longer afraid of what is part of herself, and by that, she becomes a whole person. She’s still afraid of the judgement of others, though - else, she wouldn’t be hiding away on a mountain. But Anna shows her that those who love her won’t judge her, which is a very important thing for mentally ill people. Not only do we need to learn to accept what we are, we also need others to accept us. And once that acceptance is achieved, things usually start looking up. We can work on truly controlling our MI without having to constantly devote energy into hiding and fearing.

Then there’s this tiny little sentence right in the beginning, where the troll asks: “born or cursed?”. It’s pretty interesting, from a neurodivergent perspective. Some people “aquire” a MI during the course of their lives, and the chances of being healed are usually good, provided they have access to proper health care (if not, then they’re obviously not). But for people who are born with differently wired brains, well, we can’t be cured. You cannot cure something that is part of a person’s hardware. You can help them deal with it, it can go into remission, but it will never go away. Born, not cursed.


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June 2014

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