What Moana Taught Me About Trauma

As the monster crawls toward Moana – huge, roaring, and terrifying – the future chief shows no fear. She walks calmly and confidently toward the raging beast, singing:

I have crossed the horizon to find you.
I know your name.
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.

Once the monster realizes that she is finally seen for who she truly is, the fire fades, and she leans toward Moana with a sigh of relief. Her heart is restored, and it is revealed that this creature was the beautiful Goddess Te-Fiti all along.

This.

This scene.

It undid me.

I see my pain as a monster of fire. I am so afraid of it. I want to stay far, far away. But it is a part of me. I have had to work so hard to get back to that place. To walk toward the fire, instead of running away. Back to that four-year-old little girl. To tell her that what happened to her does not change who she is. To sit in that pain for the first time in 27 years. I cannot turn away. I must approach the monster, touch its face, and tell it the truth. May I be as brave as Moana as I face what is part of me, but does not define me.

I see my pain as a monster of fire. I am so afraid of it. I want to stay far, far away. But it is a part of me.

You are not defined by your darkest hour. You are greater than what has been stolen from you. It is never too late to heal. It is never too late to make a fresh start. It is never too late to have your heart restored.


Kimberly Poovey is a writer, speaker, wife, and over-caffeinated new(ish) mom. She runs a teen pregnancy prevention program for a nonprofit and is a founder of Pearls, an organization that serves women in the sex industry and fights human trafficking. You can find her over on Scary MommyThe Mightyher blog, and on Facebook.

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