The 8 stages of Moana

I've been mulling over this post for a long while, dipping into a third year, as I am, of unemployment-by-choice, less "by choice" the longer I'm unemployed, but still "working" (maybe laboring?) like crazy: as a SAHM (a title I champion while also admitting reluctance in claiming), as a volunteer at my kids' schools and at the animal shelter, on my podcast, on my writing, and on my art. For zero money and not even a ton of feedback. Sigh. Prompted by this article on Etsy's weird evolution, and inspired by rereading my thoughts on wayfinding in the context of my "burning bridges" series about all the day jobs I've had over the past couple of decades (including my own Etsy business), I thought I'd finally try to articulate how I think of Moana in the context of (primarily) women and work. First, from my post on wayfinding:

I've talked with many women who identify with Moana at various stages of her narrative arc. Some have already overcome some major challenge and identify with Moana at the end of the movie, after she learns to sail and (spoiler alert) returns the heart to Te Fiti. I'm not there yet, and certainly one year ago I very much identified with Moana at the beginning of the movie, when she doesn't know exactly what she's after but she knows she's not happy with her current situation.
I guess you could say, two years after writing this, that I'm somewhere in the middle right now. Or, if we're thinking about this in terms of wayfinding versus navigating, I'm in the middle of this current cycle. I'll get to no. 8 eventually...and then something will happen that will put me right back at no. 1 or 2. Without further ado, the eight stages of Moana:

1. The unhappy girl next door.

At the beginning of the movie, Moana is unsatisfied with her current lot in life. What woman hasn't felt this way at least once in her adolescence or adult years?

2. The restless rebel.

She's determined to do things differently.

3. The defeatist.

As the song goes, despite her strong-willed determination, she loves her family and she's accepted her station. She shouldn't have to choose between what her family needs and what she wants and feels compelled to pursue.

4. The determined heroine.

Alas, she cannot deny her deep dissatisfaction with her potential future, and her strong attraction to the sea, coinciding perfectly with receiving the heart of Te Fiti.

5. Tested and discouraged.

Please note: this may happen more than once in any given "cycle."

6. The obstacle overcomer.

Atta girl. Did you start a new job? Did you exceed even your own expectations? Congrats! You're at stage 6.

7. Relishing in the reward.

Soak it up. Bask in it. You've earned it. You deserve it. Hell, like the slogan goes, you're worth it!

8. Smug sharer of life wisdom.

Yeah...so, note to those lucky enough to reach stage 8: please be sensitive to where your friends, colleagues, relatives, and acquaintances might find themselves in the Moana cycle. Having a drink with someone in the midst of stage 5? Maybe keep your success story on the DL and offer to pay for her cocktail.

What stage are you on?

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