Quite a few weeks ago, Riviane handed me a piece of paper the moment I walked into the door. “Mummy, look, look, look!”

In the Unknown
All is Found

Profound and cheesy at the same time, I thought. She told me her teacher gave it to her. I was perplexed at why an adult would give a white piece of paper with such wisdom out of nowhere. A few days later, it transpired that it was a quote from the movie, Frozen II, and they had discussed it in Chinese class. Even stranger – a quotation in English from Chinese class?!

I forgot about it. Out of the blue, Riv asked me for the piece of paper as she wanted to show Daddy. She seemed quite upset afterwards, and told me she had shown Daddy but he did not understand, and asked me to explain to him. I said that I would do so.

employee mental health China, employee mental health Asia Pacific, employee mental health Singapore, employee mental health Hong Kong, prevent burnout, workplace stress, depression, mental wellbeing, mental resilience, mental health in China, depression in China, recover from depression, suicide prevention, mental health awareness, how to get out of depression, suicide, international executive, women leadership, women entrepreneur, expatriate life, self awareness, finding yourself, balanced life, overachiever and depression, burnt out cause depression, stress cause depression, prevent suicide, Beijing depression, Beijing suicide, Noch Noch, Bearapy, playfulness, creativity, founders' depression, entrepreneurship, women, female executive, Stress In The City, author of mental health

The next day, when she bounced through the door after school, she asked me if I had shown Daddy that piece of paper and explained to him. I had not, but assured her I would. The second day came, then the third day passed, and the fourth day began. She asked again and again, and again, and again. I told her I had told Daddy already. She was not satisfied. “But did you show him the piece of paper? Did you show him?”

A few subsequent days passed, and each day Riviane was relentless, checked if I had done what she had asked.

So eventually out of exasperation, I went through the motions, showed Timmie the piece of paper, explained again the context. He said he had seen it already. I reported back to my daughter. She finally nodded her head and told me I can keep the piece of paper.

Frozen II started showing in the cinemas about a month ago. She went to see it but not with me. I was bracing myself for another craze of song repetition. Instead, I was hit with a request to go see the movie with her again. Riv did not ask me directly. She told Daddy. And Timmie told me. I forgot about it, until a few days ago he told me that she has been asking again, and the movie might go soon. So, with a huff and a puff, I organized movie tickets though I was not all that excited.

Today, we went to see Frozen II.

It was cheesy. It was profound. It was painful. It was magical. It was real. It was simple. It was metaphorical. It was direct. I cried.

I had been crying a lot these last few days; I woke up in the middle of Friday night, crying. My heart and chest were so tight I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Thoughts like razor blades cut through my skin. I spun in my own madness. I had barely slept a few hours each day for the last week. I was supposed to go see the psychiatrist again on Friday too – I went to the clinic, and as I was about to step inside, I stopped, looked at the receptionist, turned around, and went home. I had not been taking the meds, so what was the point of this check-up? I have no faith in the medication, for they would only numb me. I needed to feel everything including the voices in my head in order to make sense for myself.

I have not had much energy capacity to engage with my thoughts. In fact, the only coping mechanism that worked so far was to distract myself with endless tasks and burn myself out so I don’t go too quickly through the list of affairs I had jotted down. I was buying myself time.

Without seeing it coming, some of that time was spent enjoying Frozen II, which was surprising. I could feel every character in the movie, even the reindeers and the water dam. I could feel every song, every words, every rhythm, every sound. I saw the wonder in Riv’s face as she watched the animation, sucked into a 3D world of unknown. My favourite character was the Spirit of Fire, full of rage and light and translucent colours, and when extinguished by the appropriate intensity of ice and invitation, turns out to be one adorable little creature with goggly eyes that beckons cuddles.

Following Riv’s lead, I immersed myself in the splendor on the screen, metaphors for so many aspects of my recent torment. I see a little more reality in the phantasy.

The songs’ lyrics were not complicated, almost overused, but nevertheless thought-provoking. I have been ignoring the whispers, so they turned louder, willing me to follow them into the unknown. I have had an adventure ten years ago that started around the same months as my latest dilemma, and I did not think I needed nor wanted another one. I do not know where I want to be, but I know here is not. What would I risk if I did follow the allures, and stepped into my own power? What is my next right step?

I now understand. Riviane was making sense for me. She wanted me to go see Frozen II. She must have grasped something when she saw it the first time, even though she could not articulate what she was sensing. But she knew. She gave me that piece of paper so the unknown could etch itself subconsciously into my thoughts. She was the bridge that the sisters in the movie were, by insisting that I show Timmie the words, and talk to him about it. She was so patient with me, whilst I would allow my impatience to hurt her. She took me into cinematic darkness, into her world, into her language, and showed me the way through her lenses.

This evening, I told Arlen my eyes hurt as I was getting him ready for Timmie to put him to bed. He stopped his spinning, came over, cupped my face in his little hands ever so delicately, kissed my left eyelid, and then pecked on my right eyelid. His lips were so soft, so tender, so gentle. He looked into my eyes, then giggled, and resumed spinning.

In the Unknown
All is Found

Every adult needs to watch Frozen II. I might even watch Frozen I now.

Comments are closed.

about Noch Noch

Enoch Li, (pen name: Noch Noch) was born and raised in Hong Kong and Australia. She has also studied / worked / lived in the US, France, UK, Japan, The Netherlands, China, and has travelled to more than 40 countries. She loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2010 due to her illnesses and after spending time in recovery, cooking, practising Chinese calligraphy, reading and writing – in short, learning to take care of herself and letting out the residual work stress, she has transitioned into a Social Entrepreneur and founded BEARAPY to help corporates make workplaces mentally healthy, and support executives to become more resilient.