“You’re supposed to be the leading lady in your own life, for God’s sake.”
When I heard Iris in “The Holiday” say these words with exhaustion, I was yanked from my scrolling and felt them in my gut. My heart skipped a beat. “Oh my God,” I thought, “Why am I not?”
Seriously, why do I take a supporting role in so many aspects of my life?
I’m pretty easygoing and laid back. If someone asks me what I want to eat, I typically say what I don’t want to eat, and then I’m usually fine with anything else. Sometimes, when I say what I don’t want to eat, they say that’s what they are craving—so we compromise and have that or go there. I have more plans cancelled on me than I cancel on others. I agonize sometimes about not wanting to do something, but knowing I committed, I still go.
I don’t want to disappoint someone because my reasoning is only that I just don’t feel like it. I always feel like I need some kind of “I might be dying” excuse. But the same doesn’t go for everyone because I rarely react—not outwardly, at least. When someone cancels on me because they don’t feel like it, or they made other plans they would rather do, or because the night before they got too rowdy and therefore they can’t muster the energy to do anything with me, I say, “no problem,” “feel better,” “another time,” or “I get it.” But in my head, I’m thinking we made a commitment to spend time together, which meant I did not go out and get rowdy the night before, or I did not let better plans have an option. I feel hurt, but I stay quiet.
I refrain from committing if I think another offer, which I might rather do, comes along. Is that rude? I think it is better than committing and cancelling on someone.
If I have a bad week, and you did too, your problems come first. I am addicted to being there for other people. When they don’t need me anymore, I feel lost. Because I am the supporting actress in their drama—when it becomes a romance or a comedy, my role has been cut.
But when it comes to relationships, I don’t play the lead, I don’t even play the supporting actress—I play an extra. The person calls into the scene when it makes sense for the story, for their convenience. When I heard Kate Winslet utter those words, it was perhaps the fifth time I had seen that movie. I was distracted in thumbing through my phone, wondering why I was getting ignored again by the man I was seeing, and those words echoed in my living room.
I wasn’t being ignored—my role had been cut from the scene, the one which involved, literally, the Christmas holiday. It took a while for me to cast myself back into the leading role of my own story. (To be honest, it took a few other holidays and a surgery, but I did it.) I still struggle with it. I have a hard time wondering where I fit in, when I should speak up, even how long I should pretend the pain isn’t real. But I just keep reminding myself that I am the leading lady of my adventures.
Sometimes, the universe says things enough times that I am catapulted from my distractions just enough to shake myself into my own reality series, and the drama is way less interesting than the adventure.