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How Disney's 'Moana' Reminded Me I'm More Than My Depression

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As a certified Disney enthusiast, it’s not a complete surprise that I loved “Moana,” but the music of this movie has affected me in a way I hadn’t anticipated.

If you haven’t seen the movie, I need to emphasize that you absolutely should. Spoilers: It’s amazing. Aside from the incredible songs, the story is moving, the animation is beautiful, and the characters are entertaining.

Ever since I watched the movie, I’ve been obsessively listening to the soundtrack. There’s something about listening to the Polynesian lyrics that I find has a calming effect — “Tulou Tagaloa,” “An Innocent Warrior,” “Logo Te Pate,” and “We Know The Way” all contain lyrics in the Tokelauan language.

However, the songs that had the biggest impact on me were “How Far I’ll Go,” its reprise, and “I Am Moana.” Auli’i Cravalho, who voices Moana in the movie, has a beautiful voice, and the lyrics in these songs have done wonders for my self-confidence over the last few days:

If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
One day I’ll know
How far I’ll go

If I can keep pushing forward, I can do things I’ve only dreamed of. The future is full of possibilities, and there’s no limit to what I can do if I just try.

All the time wondering where I need to be
Is behind me
I’m on my own
To worlds unknown

I don’t need to stay somewhere familiar. I can find a new home, somewhere where I feel like I belong. The world is a big place, and there’s nothing wrong with exploring it to find my place in life.

Every turn I take
Every trail I track
Is a choice I make
Now I can’t turn back
From the great unknown 
Where I go alone
Where I long to be

Going somewhere that’s unfamiliar can be scary, but it’s also a choice. I can choose to take a risk and to try something new. I can choose to travel and explore new places. I can choose to chase my dreams.

I am everything I’ve learned and more

Everything that has happened in my life has shaped me. My decisions, my experiences, my hopes, my fears, my failures, my successes, my friends and family, the strangers I have met. My existence is contingent on the world making its impact on me. I could not be who I am today without these things, and I know the world is going to continue making me into the person I am meant to be.

I will carry you here in my heart
You’ll remind me
That come what may, I know the way

The people I have lost are not truly gone, and it’s OK to miss them, but I also know I can make it through the difficult times in my life. I am not alone. I have the memories of people I love to help me through whatever hardships I face.

When I face a particularly difficult day, I feel as though listening to these songs will help me remember just how strong I am. Depression does not define me. I am more than my depression — I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, a writer, a feminist. I am also all the Disney movies I’ve watched and loved, I am the laughter I shared with my friends, I am the places I have visited, I am the stories I have written, I am the love I have experienced.

Thank you, Moana, for reminding me just how versatile humanity is and that I’m more than my depression.

Image via Contributor.

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Originally published: December 9, 2016
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