Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sunday Scribbling - Fortune

Two fortune cookie slips hang on my fridge. Tucked in between the photos of the kids and their laminated Bible verses from Sunday School.

They hang there, trying to be promises, maybe pulling off a bit of motivation, but more recently, they stare accusingly from the freezer door as reminders that there are places in my life that feel empty and lacking.

“Unveil your ideas and be ready to act on them.”

“You will be successful in your career.”

Tonight, Brad and I went to see “Little Miss Sunshine”. There are very few movies that we both really love, but this was one of them. Within the first five minutes, I could feel the sting of un-cried tears behind my eyes. These were people like me. These people were fighting the most frightening of real life monsters – disappointment. They had no super powers, no burly stud muffin that would save them, no clever, intelligent, super-spy hero to save the day. They only had each other and a warped vision of success loaded with the world's expectations.

The older brother has a wonderful sequence of lines in the film. It comes after a heartwrenching realization that one of his goals might be unreachable. It went something like this, pardon my paraphrase, “Life is one beauty pageant after another. F*ck this. F*ck them. I don’t want to be judged by their standards. I say, do what you love and f*ck the rest. If I want to fly, I'll find a way to fly.” And by the end of the film, this family embraces this profound truth and it gives them something they hardly realized they were seeking. They slayed the beast. Disappointment was replaced by the sweetest of victories. They were united in their love, in their imperfections and boldly showed their messy selves. And the world did not end. And the next day was a new day. The problems would still be there, but they were ok. The beast of disappointment was banished from the kingdom of the yellow VW bus and never was there a more lovely chariot to carry off those heroes into the sunset.

I left the theater with red puffy eyes, a twinge of a jealous heart (that someone else wrote this gorgeous screenplay, and I didn’t) and a new resolve to be brave enough to dance to the way I want to in a room full of plastic, sequined beauty queens.

Translation: I’m not looking to win the Miss Sunshine contest of writing, blogging, mothering, wifing, daughtering, or anything else. I want to dance to the music I choose. I want to live the life I want. I want to serve my God the way WE decide – not the way I think would be acceptable, agreeable and logical to everyone else.

I want to cry. I want to laugh. I want to scream. I want to dance. I want to live full and love deep. And most of all, I want to write. I am a good writer. It’s enough. I don’t need to publish. I don’t need to get paid for it. I don’t need to be the best ever but I DO need to STOP listening to the voices that tell me that I can’t be happy unless that happens.

Screw the fortune cookies. (Except the actual cookie part – I still like that part). The fortunes are coming of the fridge and going in the garbage tonight. I don’t need a slip of paper to tell me what I can or can’t do or pretend to know what’s ahead for me.

I need a little girl with goofy glasses a top hat and a dream. I need to remember, beauty queens eat ice cream. I need to practice my act and be ready to dance. I need to know and accept the journey is often the biggest part of the prize. I’m not going after a fortune, I’m going to live a life.

For more Sunday Scribblings, go here.

(And go see “Little Miss Sunshine”!)


briliantdonkey said...

If the movie made that big of an impact it was certainly worth the price of admission. Good for you to come to that conclusion. Sometimes it is hard to turn off that inner editor or the dreams of NYT best seller. Nice post as always. Myself, I am drawing a complete blank in the fortune cookie prompt department.


papyrus said...

Yes, how easy we let others and their expectations control our lives for us. We know it's stupid but we get sucked in. Good to see your courage here to stand against this.

Kamsin said...

Sounds like a really good movie! We need to define success and fortune in some way other than the world does. Having a fulfilled and fulfilling life doing what you love sounds like a great fortune to me!

Bug said...

This is such a beautiful post. I'm so glad for you that a movie and a Sunday Scribbling prompt could bring forth such a brave declaration of life! Good for you. I hope you're an inspiration for all of us who struggle that same struggle.

DonPare said...

I loved that movie too, by the way, but it really hit home with you and what you took from it is great!
You are a good writer! And all of us who write should feel like you - don't need to be published to prove that you're a good writer. Screw them all! :)

Deb R said...

I've been hearing such wonderful things about that movie and I really want to see it, but it isn't showing close-by me yet. I keep hoping it will though.

Lovely post, Kim!

Yak Attacker said...

Oh, Kim, you are such a good writer! And thanks for your words of encouragement!

Amber said...

That last line was AWESOME. "I’m not going after a fortune, I’m going to live a life." You rock!

I saw that movie today, and I loved it. And I also left wishing I had written it! LOL


paris parfait said...

Your lovely post made me want to see the movie. It will be out here soon. And your last line is the best - going to live a life. Yes!

Roadchick said...

You go, girl! It takes guts to realize that you are the one in charge of your own happiness - or disappointments.
The 'chick is not quite ready to throw her fortune in the trash...she keeps hoping that it's the one real one out there.

Terri /Tinker said...

I loved that movie, too! And I love how you've gathered the insights gained from it, into this post.