with Lynne and Leslie

Where You Are

by SweetMidlife

Hi! Lynne here. Been a long time. But this post keeps wanting to write itself so I let it.

I have a little kid, so we watch a lot of whatever the latest kid movie is when it gets to Netflix, and sometimes that makes me want to stick my head in a bowl of sand to soothe my ears and eyes from whatever overwrought cheese we’ve been looking at. And other times, I wind up suggesting that thing that we’ve seen a million times because I also love it. That is certainly the case with “Moana”, the story of a strong young girl who looks to save her island from starvation by going out on the sea to complete a task that will restore the sea’s health and her people (I won’t give it away if you have not seen it. But see it.). The art in the movie is beautiful, the music is singable and will be in your head for a long time, and the message of stepping outside of where you are now even if you are scared is one we all need to here. Moana’s big number, “How Far I’ll Go”, has been sung by a million little kids who belt out this anthem of braving your fears to answer the call inside you, and it’s the song that I want most to connect to because it’s about really being yourself and the greatness that can be out there if you change your scenery.

However, for real though, the song from the movie that rings in my head the most lately is not “How Far I’ll Go”, but the song that it seems to answer, the song that comes before it. That’s “Where You Are”, a seemingly jaunty ditty sung by Moana’s dad, the chief, that he sings in response to Moana’s desire to leave their island home and go out beyond the reef surrounding them. In “Where You Are”, the Chief tells Moana of all the amazing things that they have there, like the beautiful coconuts, and all of the people who help each other out, and everyone’s singing and dancing, and happy to be where they are, and just as happily, the dad sings a line that says “And no one leaves”. And that line always gets me. We are happy here. Why go anywhere else? And that seems like a million memes shared on Instagram, about being happy with what you have, and taking care of where you are, and being satisfied and not chasing waterfalls, and sticking to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to, right? But Moana’s dad’s lesson is one taught out of fear, as he has a story about what happened to him personally when he strayed too far, so now he thinks that it’s in his best interest to stay where he is, and to make that the rule for everyone else.

And I get that. We all have foundational beliefs and traits that make up who we are in essence. Maybe it’s a religious faith, or an identity, or a person. And we want to hold onto those things because they keep us stable. But stable and shackled are two different things, and I fear that we often are more bound than we are grounded, people. I keep thinking of this every time someone on social media declares that the people that they disagree with are soulless zombies with no free thought. This is on both the right and left side of the political aisle, y’all. And we only listen to news from certain places. And only read certain things. And we only have conversations with people that agree with us, and we only comment on the pages of people we disagree with so we can disagree with them. And we stay inside our reef. Eating the coconuts that are there, even when they are starting to get diseased and we feel it. But we continue to eat from that poison fruit because it’s what we know because we are too afraid and stubborn to see what else is out there, because we are afraid that we won’t be us any more, so we starve on our pride. Where we are.

And no one leaves.

But right outside the borders you have set up, there are people and things that might scare you. You’ve decided that they have no hearts. But if you venture out, and just ask a question without thinking you know the answer, you might see that they want the same things. To feed their families. To be safe. All of the things you want, they want too. They have probably been afraid of you, too.
You all should talk. And listen. And you might still not agree. But it’s harder to throw punches when you acknowledge that your wounds land on soft skin that hurts, like yours does.

Step out of where you are. Stop choking on rotten familiar fruit.


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