Played Out on the Big Screen
Thank God our lives are not played out on TV or in a theater, live or film. But if they were, would we be more accountable for our actions? Would we more readily recognize our responsibilities, instead of ducking, dodging, or blaming? I used to think the big screen could never hold my life or my history; it is sordid, to be sure. I have made my share of mistakes, both professionally and personally. Interestingly enough though, I am eager to face the jagged music my life has composed – because it’s me. These are my lyrics and my tune – a soundtrack often derailed. But it’s mine, thorns and all.
Twelve Years in Two Hours
The film Boyhood was an attempt to share the winding story of one family, one boy – but it was every bit as much about a mother and a father, as well as a sister, their educations at the school of life. Many people didn’t like this film, but I was drawn to it – me, the twice-divorced mother of four whose murky decisions became the patchwork quilt that now keeps me warm. We each cut out our squares – piecing them together as best we can to create a living masterpiece. We write our own story, compose our own song, and deliver our living eulogy in the dash before dark.
I recently completed my binge viewing of the entire series called Weeds, eight seasons of a single mom’s attempt at survival. I say attempt because she failed, often – but raised three sons in the process, lost four husbands, sold pot, grew pot, did jail time, was shot in the head, and showed us a future of clear smart phones, Starbucks selling pot, and her own empty nest. An extreme life, of course, but that is entertainment, that is why we watch – the ludicrous situations Nancy Botwin found herself in were oddly and eerily similar to the crazed life of Lucy Ricardo but with insanely tragic twists. Scenes of life played out in our living rooms.
Whenever I think I have failed at work or life, or the stupid mistakes from my past rear their ugly heads and weigh heavy, leaving me to wonder if I should never have grown up – I imagine these pretend families, lives blowing in the digital wind, waiting for a writer to construct a ridiculous cliffhanger or heartbreaking conclusion. It is then that my efforts don’t seem so meek or impotent.
I am not a pawn. I am not a character.
I am the author of my own life. I choose my path, I select my direction. Me.
I played a role, most certainly. But I wrote the original screen play and selected my accompaniment. Not always with the happy ending, but most certainly with as much gusto as I could muster, wrapped in the necessary kevlar to make it to the next day.
It’s Your Funeral
It’s your history. Don’t be the victim, blaming others for your state. There are people who hate you, people who you’ve hurt – intentionally or otherwise. There are others who are jealous or gossip because they can. There are those with poor ethics or evil natures. There are givers and takers. Decide who you will be, then don’t lay it at the feet of someone else or a group of someone else’s.
Be the Writer
Your story isn’t over and there will be many more players who will grace your stage. Writer’s block or stage fright will set up house – figure out why, then hit the boards and leave it out there, give it your all.
A theater director once told me that the dust on our stage may have mingled with the same dust that layered Shakespeare’s. That’s powerful stuff, the mingling of dust – the crossing of streams. We are players, yes – but first we are the writers. Some may write and share the perfectly fake lives we see on Facebook. Some may complain about everything – politics, celebrities, gas prices, and religion. Others will lurk.
Choose your own adventure!
Remember those books where you, as the reader, chose the path the story would follow? You get to do this. You are the writer. Sharpen your pencil, refill your ink, or recharge the batteries in your wireless keyboard.
“Life is too short for a long story.” – Mary Wortley Montagu
I disagree Mary, it isn’t too short. An I plan to make every word count in my own long story.