An Authentically Cold Place


Spring is barely, just barely, showing its pallid upper Midwestern face but it’s still winter in my heart. Don’t feel sorry for me, though: I’m embracing coldness by choice.

Let’s get the Frozen analogy out of the way up front: I’m definitely more of a Princess Anna than a Queen Elsa. I’m way more likely to embark naively into the unknown with my heart on my sleeve than I am to brood in an ice palace of my own making.

And yet, the latter somewhat describes my present state better.

My three year old son is really into superheroes the moment. If he could have any super power, dragon fire and super strength are high on his list. But his choices are measured. He’d rather be the ‘Regular Hulk,’ with, you know, just the right amount of strength. And when he shoots fire as a dragon, it’s usually to save someone from a castle (I haven’t quite worked that one out yet.)

if I were going to choose a superpower, I’d usually say teleportation. Or apparition, if Harry Potter was a real thing. But going along with my son’s predilection for simpler powers, I think I’d say….my very own ice shield. The kind which could repel negativity and keep my own, burgeoning authenticity in tact, unable to be penetrated by anything outside my own mind, heart and soul.

I’ve built an imaginary ice shield recently. I don’t see it as permanent; it’s just there to protect me while I get my heart right. I’ll surely warm up again.

But why do I need an ice shield?

I’m discovering the importance of letting go (oh no, more Frozen tie-ins) of people who aren’t good for my well-being. This includes relationships where I do all of the work, people who I want to like me but they just don’t, and people who I want in my life but they don’t reciprocate. I’m older now, and I feel a proper sense of discernment about who should stay and who should go. I used to hold on to everyone, but I’m not that naïve anymore. I’m naturally inclined to form one-sided emotional ties. And, ouch. I need that ice shield.

I’m  also discovering the nature of most criticism. And it comes from the criticizer’s own issues nearly 100% of the time.  Yes, that’s a made up internet statistic. Unsolicited insults (well, when are they ever solicited?), rude remarks, and people and institutions making you feel not good enough….ice shield, please. I don’t have time for others to put me down or make me  feel less than.

Why? Because I’m learning the art of authenticity.  And each day I’m working to discover who I am, really. What I stand for, who I stand for, and how to make each action, word and gesture of mine a deliberate reflection of my authentic self. I’ve never been a dishonest person (although I have been dishonest; there’s a difference ). I highly value integrity in myself and others. I’m often called brave or ballsy (Go, Go Gryffindor), but I STILL find authenticity a work in progress because as humans we often act contrary to our ideals. I don’t want to do that anymore.

This is somewhat heavy, I know. Just look at my ice cold stare. Or glare.

The takeaway?

We’re all only doing the best we can. Or, we should be. We need to be kind to one another, but also ourselves. And sometimes the kindest thing we can do  is say ‘screw you’ to those who have created the need for ice shields , but not out right. Unless you’re looking for a fight.

I’d suggest saying it out loud to an empty room, taking a deep breath and the high road ,and of course, letting it go.


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