Encanto: To The Girls Who Never Got to Hear ‘I’m Sorry’ From Their Grandmothers
**Warning** Major Spoilers if You Haven't Seen Disney's Encanto. Encanto is Now Available to Stream on Disney Plus
I know I'm late to hop on the Encanto craze. Forgive me, I tend to avoid movies where people who have watched it say "I loved it! I cried so much!" Not that I can't handle a good cry, but I definitely need to be in a space to mentally prepare myself for Disney breaking my soul and taking my money at the same time.
I decided it was time to give Encanto a try when I felt a bit stronger. But it hit me in a way that didn't touch most people.
First off, I heavily relate to Mirabel. The quirky one, the odd duck, the black sheep of the family who could awkwardly joke her way out of any situation,
Much like Mirabel, there was a moment in my young life where my grandmother adored me as her other grandchildren, I enjoyed this moment in my life as many people, old and young, looked up to my grandmother as some sort of royalty.
When Mirabel sings "Abuela runs this show" it's a familiar sentiment in my family, What grandma says goes. Also like Abuela, my grandmother was statuesque, her stance was graceful, and her knowledge was bountiful.
Like Abuela, my grandmother never yelled or even raised her voice. But the feeling of her disappointment or disapproval was loud enough to shatter glass.
Just like the moment that Mirabel was unable to open her door, a shift happened between me and my grandmother. Suddenly, I went from Golden Child to Black Sheep. I went from being a precious child to someone who would not fit into the family mold.
My grandmother was delicate and skilled in her need for control. The foundation of the family was a chessboard, and we were all my grandmother's pieces. We were to move in ways that dictated the family image in a good light. And if we didn't, it was never a subtle sign that you weren't a playable piece. Back in the game box we went.
Was there trauma in my grandmother's life like Abuela? Absolutely. There was pain, there was hurt, and there was loss.
But unlike Mirabel, I never would hear the words "I'm sorry" from my grandmother.
Abuela recognized what she had done when Mirabel brought it to her attention. She took the time to wrestle with what she had done, versus what she had meant to do. She didn't resist rebuilding the family foundation after being faced with what it had done to the family.
But some of us are not as lucky.
I cried because I never got "I'm sorry." I cried because when I stood up to my grandmother, I was seen as the enemy; as a defiant, spoiled little girl. I cried because I will never get her to understand that her house is crumbling. She will stubbornly stand tall, as everything crumbles around her, and think "This is all because of Quinzel. If she would have just been normal like everyone else..."
I couldn't save the foundation that I was born into. There was no way to seal the cracks once they got big enough to let floodwaters in.
So I left, and I built my own foundation. And started my own family.
Some of us are tasked with breaking generational curses. Some of us are here to expose that the family foundation is sinking.
To the girls who heard her disapproval loud and clear.
To the girls who wanted a hug and got a look of disappointment.
To the girls who never got to hear "I'm sorry" from their grandmothers.
You are more than your grandmother's approval
Mirabel was only able to help her family after they accepted her help. Don't burn yourself out trying to keep others warm. If the first home doesn't welcome you, build your own. Build it with sweat and tears and coping techniques and calming exercises. Build it with an excellent therapist who helps you along the way.
But most of all, build it with a village full of people who see you, just you. Not a reflection of their own trauma.
Did you see Encanto? What did you think of Mirabel and Abuela's relationship? What's your relationship with your own grandmother like? Tell me all about it in the comments below.