What are the stories we tell ourselves that explain our lives? Are we casting new actors in the same roles? Or are we seeing every experience as a blockbuster opening night with a carefully guarded surprise plot twist?
It's not that there's a right way to process life's victories and disappointments. I personally don't like telling myself the same story over and over, though. Unlike when I was a kid.
This was that era when parents didn't hover over you every second of the day and you could watch whatever you wanted as long as nobody was getting naked. One extraordinarily unbearable Florida summer, my brother and I watched Bill Murray and company battle the undead every single day in Ghostbusters. Watching the same people do the same thing in the same way every single time holds a special and necessary function. The not knowing collapses under the sweet, weighty relief of knowing.
You don't even have to be there. It's going to happen the same way. Every time. You feel... control. My dad passes through the room one of those summer afternoons as Bill Murray holds up playing cards faced towards him and pretends the busty blond across the table is guessing all of them correctly.
How many times you gonna to watch this movie? Something different is gonna happen this time? This is followed, of course, by a diatribe instructing us to go outside because this is compulsory for all parents of this time period because I think that movie about Adam Walsh hasn't been made yet and my mom won't start volunteering at the local rape crisis center for at least another two years. It's a simpler time.
Take a look at this:
Aside from the fact that the statically gendered aspect of this little graphic irritates me, I'm also affronted somewhat by how oppositional it is to the way I see everything. I don't tell myself the same stories repeatedly.
Correction: I stop myself from telling myself the same stories repeatedly .
Because boys can be like apples on trees, too, and girls can be too scared (or lazy) to climb all the way to the top to get "good" apples. What if being brave or being scared isn't even the issue? What if a broken heart doesn't have anything at all to do with an apple tree, and is, in fact, due to the fact that a climber simply prefers oranges?! There is also a distinct possibility that one of those apples on the floor is a good apple!! And for the love of God and all things holy, you're just going to sit on top of that tree and wait for someone to pick you?!!!
It reminds me of that Ghostbusters Summer.
How many times you gonna tell yourself this story?
Something different gonna happen this time?
You start telling yourself that same story and you don't even really have to be there for it to happen.
Maybe you'd be better off just going outside to play.