During the conversation with my therapist, I felt like if I was heavily involved in a creative pursuit - writing a book, rehearsing a play, or even just concocting new recipes in the kitchen - that I was not taking the best care of my physical self. If I find myself working later than scheduled, I don't feel like I'm being the best Melissa for my partner, my family, and my friends. It's a teeter-totter kind of feeling and it can leave me feeling like a failure. It makes me feel like I'll never catch up, never get out of student debt, and never be able to find myself in a place in life where I feel I can take a rest.
My therapist listened and then spoke.
"It's hard to feel like you can never quite catch up. It's painful to not be where you want to be and understandable to want to give up."
I nodded, appreciating that she was holding space for me to be with my feelings. Then she asked a question I didn't see coming.
"If you were watching yourself in a movie, would you be rooting for yourself?"
I just kind of stared. What? She went on.
"You are a creative person, right? You love stories, right? Well, what if you were a characters in a story and you were watching yourself on screen? What would you see?"
I answered more quickly than I expected.
"I see someone who has so much love for the people in her life and the things she makes, Someone who feels overwhelmed often but tries really hard. Someone who has a good heart and deserves good things."
Whoa. She kept going with the questions.
"And if you put yourself in the story, would you root for yourself?"
"Absolutely." I felt myself bypass my long held modesty and fear of thinking too highly of myself and blurt out what was essentially unabashed self-love and support for me, the character in the never before made movie. In the process, I felt myself pulling for me, Real Life Melissa.
When I started to see myself through the perspective of the heroine of my own story, I see someone that is overwhelmed, true. Flawed, of course. Stubborn and scared and mad as hell sometimes. And I see someone who has such a zest for the people I love, the stories I create, and the adventure that is life itself. It's almost as if the things I love about myself mean even more because of the hard, painful feelings that are perpetually present alongside those things. All in all, I see someone in the middle of a life changing quest that is testing every ounce of their strength, endurance, and hope.
Why would I not root for someone like that?
Now it's your turn. Imagine yourself as a character in a movie. What do you see? Faults, sure. Messy parts, no doubt. And passion. Curiosity. Playfulness. Humor. Determination. A love of beauty. Someone in the middle of a life changing quest that is testing every ounce of their strength, endurance, and hope.
Why would you not root for someone like that?
If you need a further push to imagine youself in the story, take it a step further and write a two to three page story featuring you as the hero/ine.
Sketch out a movie poster that depicts you as the main character in the middle of the quest.
If you like, choose a movie where you always root for the main character, no matter how times you have seen it. Ask yourself what you have in common with them. Chances are, more than you think. Ask yourself: If I'm rooting for them, why aren't I rooting for myself?
Take care this week, Friends. You're the hero/ine you never you knew you were.