We all know that the protagonist of a movie is supposed to learn something. There are ways around every “rule” and “should” and “always” of course, and plenty of movies where the protagonist learns absolutely nothing. And some of those are even good. But there’s nothing like that moment when you watch someone you can relate to figure something out, win the day, and become a smarter/better person.
Now there’s plenty to say about that one phrase, “that you can relate to”, but that’s for another post.
I have seen memes about “be the hero of your own story”. From a specifically movies standpoint, what does that mean? Well, let’s look at one aspect of movies, especially as opposed to TV – it’s about something that happens that can really only happen once. A Big Event. With TV, you’re looking for the kind of event that can happen over and over, such as “solve crime as part of your job” or “be funny because you failed to communicate with your friends”. With movies, you want “save the world” or “stop being an alcoholic”.
So if you want to be your own hero, but more specifically be the hero protag of a movie about you, the thing I want to point out is that this is something to look into repeatedly. I know, I know, I just said that repeatable stories are for TV. But we’re not looking for a story that can repeat itself, we’re looking for the story you could be the hero of RIGHT NOW, based on your current circumstances and what you currently suck at and need to improve on. When you’ve improved that, and your circumstances change, you’re back at square one in a sense, and there will be a completely NEW story you could be the hero of – more like a sequel 2 years later than episode 2 of the show.
So look at yourself right now, as you are, where you are. The TV show of your life should be obvious. What kinds of things do you repeatedly do? What people do you stick with, what situations repeat themselves?
Now look beyond that. What movie is waiting in the wings? What big thing do you need to change, get over, stop, or start? What would maybe end the TV show as it is now, or radically change it? What battle are you losing because you’ve been unwilling to learn, or unable to figure out what you should learn?
Dig deep. Don’t go for the “nobody changes” movie. That’s everyone. Everyone’s life could qualify as one of those. Level up. Get proactive, and get ahead of that rock bottom or very unpleasant inciting incident that’s coming for you.
Here’s mine: Some Hallmark thing where a woman who thinks her goal is to lose weight actually needs to learn to stop depending on food for her emotional control. She’d get betrayed by all her current friends one by one, just basic people being basic and not actually capable of supporting someone who wants to really change their life and question the usual. She’d find some new person or people that she can relate to on a more advanced human level.
She’d have a montage where she throws out a ton of her stuff in a feverish whirl of “let me get rid of EVERYTHING I don’t need!” It would be set to bouncy, quirky music and there’d be a funny bit at the end where now all her stuff fits in one room of her apartment and it looks ridiculous, and someone probably pokes fun at her for it, but she’s learned by now that people laughing at you means absolutely nothing to whether or not you’re doing okay. She’s doing okay. Then some family stress thing would happen, she’d get thrown back into the exact environment that created the food addiction and obesity in the first place. She’d get so down she almost throws in the towel.
But with the things she’s learned on the way to weight loss, she’ll be able to help her younger sibling get out of the toxic home environment using the things she’s learned while upending her life for this weight loss goal. Understanding just how far she’s come, and having actual wins under her belt now, she’ll be able to make the last big change to her life that allows her to fully let go of her self-flagellating, separate entirely from the people who take take take, and focus on moving forward and doing the wild and crazy things that she’s always wanted to do and only didn’t because she assumed she couldn’t. Wheee, happy ending.
Yeah, sounds cheesy. But you know it would fly off the Hallmark shelves. 🙂
Cheesy or not, when I ask myself the tough questions, that’s what comes out. That’s the movie that’s in front of me. I can keep pretending I’m in some other movie, but that will get me nowhere.
So alright, I’m just gonna get to it. I know I need to lose weight, and I know that behind that, what I need to do is rely on God and myself to get through the day, not hurting myself with bad food so I can feel numb. The only reason I’m not a drug addict is that food was available when I was young and drugs were not. Honestly, it’s that bad. The first thing I found that helped me disappear, I went with it.
I’m terrified. I’m at the beginning of the movie, I’m a protag who has no idea what’s in store for them. But I think that this is what artists do that maybe others don’t: this separation, this ability to look at yourself from the inside as well as from the outside, to say I am me but also I am her, and this is what she looks like, and this is the truth that I can put in a painting or a novel or a sculpture.
What movie is in front of you?
Live on purpose, my lovelies!