It’s been three months since I last wrote a blog post. Weird.
I guess life really has a way of, well, getting in the way.
But tonight I’ve chosen to write. Because as much as I owe it to the people who have followed my story, I also owe it to myself – to take an hour to do what I love, to take an hour and just let some shit go.
These past few months have been an absolute whirlwind.
I scored an amazing full time job and even took on a supporting lead role/ performed in a musical. Yes – singing, dancing, acting, the whole shebang.
And while both of those things have been empowering, amazing, and life-changing… I feel a bit mad at myself that I haven’t written even one word, in three months, for myself.
Amidst the musical, and my new job, there’s a lot that’s been going on under the surface – in my mind and in my soul.
The truth is, most days I’ve been busy performing.
Performing on stage and performing at work – to do and be my very best.
But underneath it all, when I’m in bed and all alone, and no one’s around to judge me, or critique me, or to tell me whats right and wrong, what’s left?
Who am I when nobody’s watching?
The answer came to me recently.
In an effort to spend some more time with my family, (who I had been neglecting in the chaos of rehearsal and my new job), I jumped at the chance to see the film ‘Before I Fall’ with my step mother and little sister (her choice).
While I assumed right away that the film would be cheesy, and just another teen romantic comedy, I was completely taken aback by the impactful subject matter.
Spoiler alert: The popular main character, Sam, re-lives the same day over and over, with the power to change the day’s events as they unfold – attempting to understand why she is stuck in some sort of limbo. After altering each day to discover more and more about herself and the people around her, Sam eventually realizes she has likely died, needs to pass on, and can only do so by setting things right – by saving the life of another girl who has been contemplating suicide (and whom she and her friends have bullied).
The underlying messages of the film explore the following concepts:
– If you only had one day left on earth, how would you spend it? Who would you spend it with? Friends? Family? At a party? Losing your virginity? What’s truly important?
– Who do you choose to surround yourself with and why?
– Are you a good person?
Powerful stuff, right? But it’s that last one that most spoke to me.
Are you a good person?
I don’t know.
I hid my tears from my sister as we exited the theatre.
When I got home, I sat quietly on the couch until my mother joined me, and just like Sam had asked her mother, I built up the courage to ask mine, “Do you think that I am a good person?”.
And it began.
My mother and I talked for two hours as I sobbed.
While my little sister hadn’t grasped the film’s deeper message, and the two teens who had sat behind me hadn’t either (claiming “that was the worst ending ever”) – I understood.
I related to Sam on a level that I was hurt and ashamed by – the part of her that laughed along with her friends as they bullied another girl, the part of her that was more obsessed with her friends, and boys, and partying, than her family.
I also related to the way she felt once she was able to reflect on her life, and the person she felt she needed to become… A better, more compassionate, more thoughtful and giving version of herself… someone she could be proud of. Someone with purpose. As I too had been battling those revelations.
Like Sam, I was popular throughout school, and although I thought of myself as a good person, there were times I followed the crowd and didn’t stick up for someone when I should have.
However, I interestingly also related to Juliet – the once popular character who was later bullied, leaving her suicidal and hopeless….Because, while popular in High School, as my depression developed in University, I often felt alone, rejected, and I lost many friends who weren’t able to stick by my side as I self-destructed.
I spoke to my mom about the ways I felt and how badly it hurt to reflect on the state of my own conscience and seemingly scarred-up soul. We talked about the guilt I felt for not taking care of myself, for not fighting for myself, for hurting people around me – when I really didn’t mean to.
I spent the rest of that night thinking about all the things I wanted to say to my little sister…. All the things I wanted her to know, and be prepared for, and to understand.
I wanted to protect her from all harm, to remind her how important it is:
To be kind to everyone, even when it doesn’t seem cool.
To believe in herself, even when she thinks the other girls in her class are prettier.
To guard her heart, from people who don’t deserve it.
To know her worth, to know she is loved, to know she will never be alone.
I prayed and prayed that with this knowledge she would never have to make any of the mistakes I did, or feel any of the same self doubts, or be heart broken, or be sad, or regretful, like I had.
I tried thinking of all the ways I needed to prepare her for high school and university, and for everything that is to come.
But then I began to cry again, knowing that I couldn’t protect her the way I so badly wanted to – that she needed to experience life in her own way, on her own terms, and that I just need to be there… to catch her whenever she does fall.
I began to realize that no matter what I wanted to warn her about, she wouldn’t understand from the shoes she currently stands in as an eleven year old… just like my younger self wouldn’t have understood, if I had been able to pass down what I know now.
And as I continued to talk all of this out with my mom, my purpose suddenly became more and more clear.
I didn’t need to save my sister, but I did need to be there for her, and I needed to be good person – a role model she could look up to and depend on.
Suddenly, just like that, the question that I had spent so much time stressing and worrying about throughout my depression, and into my adulthood, was in front of me the whole time….
I was put on this earth for a reason.
And that reason is to be as good of a person as I can be, and to inspire good in other people.
I’m sorry if you’ve gotten this far and you’re not more shocked or impressed, but I’d like you to hear me out on this.
We’re all here for something, and many of us will spend our whole lives trying to figure it out… But what if it is that simple? What if we’re just meant to try and be better than we were the day before?
To reach out to people. To connect with people. To help people. To truly be there for other people. To remind others of the power of being kind – by setting a good example.
Knowing who you are and who you want to be isn’t easy. For me it took a few rounds of heart break, losing friends I thought I’d have forever, the sudden tragic death of a best friend, years of depression, travelling to Europe, years of questioning everything… and to top it all off, a 14A movie.
But being good isn’t hard. All it takes is a little hope, a bit of compassion, and a some love.
Be someone good today.