Moana made me do it

We all have the crunch moment. That moment of no return. Moana inspired my divorce.

There’s a time when you look at your partner and realise there is nothing left to say or do. It’s over. You have exhausted every promise, heard too many “never again”s. But there was an again, wasn’t there?

And again, and again.

Separations often occur after Christmas, or during a period of immense stress, like a new addition to the family, and it’s also not uncommon for it to happen when there is a significant loss in the family.

In my case, I started to assess things seriously on an afternoon when I was watching Moana with my 3 year old and 1 year old. I received a phone call which interrupted the viewing. I received the news that my Grandmother had gone into intensive care. It didn’t look good for her. I knew she had little time with us left.

My daughter loved Moana, so we watched it repeatedly. The relationship between Moana and her Grandmother often made me tear up as my Grandmother was also important to me. She was my biggest advocate. I always felt like unlike many others, she truly “saw” me.

“Sometimes the World seems against you

The journey may leave a scar

But scars can heal and reveal just where you are

The people you love will change you

The things you have learned will guide you

And nothing on Earth can silence

The quiet voice still inside you

And when that voice starts to whisper

Do you know who you are?

I am Moana Song of the Ancestors

The person I loved had changed me. I didn’t recognise myself or my husband anymore. Our relationship was competitive and bitter. I constantly felt on guard, I was regularly judged and attacked by him. Whenever I objected to how he spoke to me, he told me off for being “sensitive” or a “feminist”.

I’ve lost count of the times I tried to approach the relationship “afresh” or the number of e-mails I sent begging him to be kinder. But there was that quiet voice inside me. The one that knew I deserved real happiness.

I was about to lose the only woman who had ever shown me unconditional love. Unreserved pride. An abundance of kindness. Without her on my side, I knew I’d need to become my own cheerleader. I had to learn to love myself the way she loved me, or I would be ground down until I was too weak to remember who I once was.

It didn’t feel like that was such a distant prospect.

It wasn’t at this time that I asked my husband for a divorce. But we did separate. The Disney lover in me hoped somewhere inside him was a Prince Charming, ready to reveal himself – ready to pull our relationship in rather than letting it cast adrift. Instead, he pulled off what remained of his mask, and found a way to constantly remind me why I was leaving him.

Every time I hear the “Song of the ancestors” from Moana, I am reminded of the empowering moment I told myself I deserved more. When I watch the end, I am reminded of how little there was of myself left, but I still knew who I was.

Enough to realise I deserved better.

“They have stolen the heart from inside you, but this does not define you. This is not who you are. You know who you are.”