Mon, 25 September 2017
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #176
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" . . . bring women to the front of their own stories, and make them the hero of their own stories." —Reese Witherspoon at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards
~Spoiler Alert: The ending of Hallie Meyers-Shyer's new film Home Again will be shared.
The power of a Hollywood script which makes it to the silver screen as well as to the small screen, better known as our television sets, is unconsciously more powerful than most viewers realize, especially younger viewers unaware of the biases, exigence and purpose of the writers and creators as well as the producers. Novels as well must be sold to a publishing house, and if the publishers do not believe they will be able to sell the plot to readers, the manuscript isn't accepted. In other words what determines the plots that will eventually be published, produced and brought to consumers is what will sell. But the obvious flip-side is we need to become savvier consumers of entertainment.
The good news is producers will listen to noticeable shifts. For example, in 2016 movie ticket sales indicated that the largest growth in sales was taking place with Latino moviegoers, as a result (or possibly, due to) films began offering more diversity in their casting than in previous years.
I share this example because when Reese Witherspoon accepted the Emmy with the ensemble for Big Little Lies last weekend (she starred and was an executive producer of all seven episodes), I had to give her credit. She lives what she desires to be brought to the forefront in Hollywood films and series: women being the heroes in their own stories.
For example, she started her own production company Pacific Standard with Australian producer Bruna Papandrea (Wild & Gone Girl), branched out on her own with Hello Sunshine, a digital media company, and is bringing to the screen a few titles you might recognize Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Something in the Water.
And as I shared in episode #174 of the podcast in my review of Home Again, a film produced by Nancy Meyers and written and directed by her daughter Hallie Meyers-Shyer, it was the ending of the movie which again revealed that Reese is indeed serious about changing the default in Hollywood that is long over-due for a change. Home Again, as she describes it in a recent interview with The New York Times, isn't a romantic comedy, but rather a modern comedy. A comedy in which, in this case, a woman becomes the hero of her own story. She doesn't end up with a man who saves her from a supposed life that is empty without one, rather her character Alice Witherspoon chooses to divorce her husband (not because he cheated and not because he was abusive) because their ways of living life, of making the most of the one journey they have the opportunity to live, had strayed into two completely different directions. The love, the fondness was there, but it had changed. Her character sets boundaries, enjoys herself, supports her daughters, chases her dreams and creates a life of everyday moments that she savors on her own terms, not Hollywood's (well, in this case, yes, technically it is Hollywood, but she is now a part of Hollywood and so is Meyers-Shyer and they are changing what the definition of a happy ending).
Recently a good friend of mine who is nearing forty (as am I) shared that all was well in her life except the missing piece - a man. And having just stepping out of a relationship, that I can honestly say I wasn't looking for but was delighted to have been in, a good life is determined by one and only one person, the person living it. I continue to urge readers and listeners to fall in love with their lives, to cultivate a life you enjoy living regardless of your relationship status because whether you are in a relationship or not, your issues, the hiccups you haven't dealt with, will continue to bubble up, the stresses you haven't figured out how to handle, will continue to exacerbate and hinder your ability to savor the everyday goodness and the relationship skills you still need to polish will continue to seek your attention until you heed them whether in a relationship with a lover or a friend.
I am not saying being loved and sharing love isn't an extraordinary experience. It absolutely is, but believing that our hero is someone other than ourselves to assuage the conjured up emptiness is a lie that we have accepted (man or woman), and depending upon the known or unknown perpetuators of this life story line (Hollywood, novels, parents, church, school, etc.) we need to relinquish its/their “how life should unfold” belief from our mind. Because I wholeheartedly not only believe, but can say to know as truth, everyday can be truly breath-taking with or without a partner. And the key is to be the hero of your own story.
"Once we belong thoroughly to ourselves and believe throughly in ourselves, true belonging is ours." —Brené Brown, from Braving the Wilderness
I want to end with mentioning of Brené Brown's new book because her book is a reminder of what type of courage is needed to be the hero of our own story. Stepping away from the city or place of comfort that is not serving us and toward the wilderness is terrifying initially, but as we step away from seeking the approval of others and head in the direction of the wilderness, the "first step will take your breath away". And as writer, pastor, philanthropist and community leader Jen Hatmaker is quoted saying in the book, the loneliest steps are the in between, but if you "stay the course long enough to actually tunnel into the wilderness . . . you'll be shocked by how many people already live out there —thriving, dancing, creating, celebrating, belonging." Ultimately, if we can all just remember and live each day, who we are and what we can give to the world is our gift. "True belonging doesn't require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are."
~SIMILAR POSTS YOU MAY ENJOY FROM THE ARCHIVES:
~Why Not . . . Be Brave? (episode #83)
~A Powerful Couple: Boundaries & Vulnerability (episode #126)
~Growth is a Choice: 11 Ways to Grow Up (episode #101)
~French melon, Charentais, with paper-thin slices of prosciutto, sprinkled with a dash of flaky sea salt.
~click here for more pictures and details about the melon and the recipe.
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