You are also your solution.”
So says quirky but wise Bridesmaid Meagan in Bridesmaids.
There comes a time in most every movie when something really wise and true is uttered. It’s a turning point statement, and as soon as it comes out of someone’s mouth, I find myself wracked with conflict. The writer in me is jealous. She wishes she had uttered these true words before the character ever had. The philopsher in me is distracted, forgetting about the movie at hand and, instead, figuring out how this quote applies to my life, what I can learn from it right THIS minute. I do it with movies, yes, like when Jennifer Garner’s character asks her mom what do over her mom would ask for in life and her mom carefully answers that she thinks she’d play life just the same because it all got her to where she was that day (I actually had to go back and watch this scene because I got so absorbed in the question I didn’t hear how the mom answered it at first), and I also do it with movie trailers for movies I haven’t even seen like the movie How Do You Know where Paul Rudd’s character insightfully says, “we’re all just one small adjustment from making our lives work.” I’ve always been this way. I’m the same way with lines from a book or lyrics in a song. Because of that tendency, I can recall lyrics that I haven’t heard since 1986 (case in point: when Happy was placed in my arms, the one song- the ONLY song- that came to me right at that moment wasn’t You are my Sunshine, This Little Light of Mine, or even Ring around the Rosie. Nope, the only song that came to me at that point, full lyrics and melody intact, was The Rose. But the lyrics were brilliant for that moment of our first meeting and I have to believe I stored that song away in 8th grade (the last time I ever heard or thought of that song) so I could bring it back out 21 years later on the occassion of meeting my son).
And, so, I did it with the quote from Bridesmaids, too. You’re your problem, but you are also your solution.
Why, yes, that’s true- not that I’d ever really thought otherwise but I’d certainly never really boiled it down that simply. As I looked back over my life and pulled up moments where I felt like I faced a big problem, an impasse, that was paralyzing me (not one that was just requiring more tenacity or redirection from me), I could see where the problem really was mine to survey and solve. And, even now, my biggest problem is probably having the time I want and need to do work that I find really meaningful– in my classroom, in my workshops, in my writing, in my activism– and, yet, the solution really lies within me– a me that needs to say no to one or two more things, a me that probably needs to ask for more help, a me that overengages in things she knows she shouldn’t overengage in, a me that diverts some of my finite amount of energy into things that don’t refill my well over only- or more often- choosing to streamline things so that I am doing what I’m best at, what I most have to offer, and what brings out my best.
So, that is how I’m my problem- I strip my energy away. And I know what my solution needs to be- sleeping more rather than staying up and reading another 30 pages, eating right rather than in a hurry, saying No when it is my first instinct, asking for help, reorganizing my time, recognizing that putting self-care time in often results in greater time in general, those sorts of things. So I am working on, as always, refining my personal problem solving so that the minutes I have are maximized.
How about you? How are you creating problems for yourself? How can you create your solutions? And do you, like me, fixate on lines from movies and songs? If so, what lines have stayed with you over time?