Tag Archives: Kate Winslet

What’s Going to Be Your 2015 Top of the Pops?

Recommended Reading Soundtrack: Hold On When You Get Love, and Let Go When You Give It by the Stars on album No One is Lost

A directionally challenged life

The beginning of a new year, the end of another- an opportunity marked by reflection, honoring and engagement with our personal dreams and intentions. It’s a special occasion where the vision for our future, and the present state of our hearts holds a deeper meaning. As we live day to day there seems to be an inner compass within us continuously directing the traffic of our choices. Now is the time to look at how well we’ve been listening to that inner compass, or better yet- where we’ve been living a directionally challenged life.

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Like the new season of a favorite show (Hmmmm…., can you say “Downton Abbey!”), the release of an album by an artist we’ve been following for most of our lives, or the opening of all those end of year movie gems- we get to have our own refreshing personal premier of something reflecting our annual personal growth.

I don’t believe in types, I believe in people. Tom Branson, Downton Abbey, Season 4

If you are a die-hard fan, preparing for the first episode of a favorite show’s new season actually takes some work. There’s nothing like turning on the first episode after a year and feeling like you are asleep in one of those adult nightmares where you show up for your senior year in high school and basically have forgotten EVERYTHING. I decided to dig up some Downton Abbey in my own preparation for the U.S. Sunday night’s highly anticipated 2015 season 5 “coming out” party. As I listened and enjoyed all the drama taking place, I noticed a line that had a profound effect on me.

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Downton’s progressive character Tom Branson was enjoying a conversation with an attractive and potential romantic interest, a teacher who shares many of his socialist ideals. She was expressing her opinion about “types” of people during a time when classism was beginning its big dive in early 20th century England. Branson rejected her notion that “types” of people existed in his heart with a great line, “I don’t believe in types, I believe in people.”

I’ve been dwelling on this line for the past few days as it is a perfect reflection of not only the last year of my life, but probably the past 25 years. Seeing past the stereotypes and labels of the world around us frees us from the expectations of our lifetime of brainwashing. It frees us from all the pressure we place on ourselves to be a certain way, or meet some society’s expectations of what a “good” or “successful” person is supposed to look like.

attitude-blue-choices-color-life-Favim.com-287558As we get older, we tend to play this out in different ways. Usually in our immediate post-high school years we experience freedom from the cliques that held us hostage from loving all those wacky aspects of ourselves. But then we start to put a new kind of pressure on ourselves like career and relationship successes. Next, we hit a wall with age 40 and berate ourselves for not fulfilling all of those “dreams” or “career deadlines” we were “supposed” to fulfill (Think Billy Crystal in “City Slickers”!).

But you know what’s awesome about your life? You have a choice to either go down the path of great expectations or take the path less traveled from your heart. The cool thing about this choice is that you get to determine what this path less traveled is and what it means to you. You get to determine you. You are that rock star that sits down to write a new album; you are that writer that gets to create a new series about what’s important to you. You are the leading lady or gentleman in your film.

There is a great conversation in the film “The Holiday,” where very old in body character Arthur played by Eli Wallach is out to dinner with Iris, Kate Winslet’s character. As she talks about her rather dysfunctional relationship, Arthur looks at her and tells her, “In the movies we have leading ladies, and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady. But for some reason are behaving like the best friend.” Iris responds, “You are so right. You’re supposed to be the leading lady in your own life for God’s sake.”

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So the big question remains. As we embark together into 2015, what do we want our “Top of the Pops” line-up to be? What do you want your greatest hits to be? Remember, whether you choose the path of great expectations or the path less traveled, neither one of them will be easy. But I have an inkling that one is more rewarding. Being the lead in your own life is about authenticity. It’s about owning all of you and making choices that reflect your greatest hits list.

Like the song by the Stars says, “It’s time to take the weakest thing in you, and then beat the b$#@%#$@* with it!” Cheers to an awesome 2015- from my heart to yours.

Owning Your Uncool

The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we’re uncool. Lester Bangs, Almost Famous

There is a great scene in the film “The Holiday” when Kate Winslet’s character, Iris, is so distraught over hearing the news of her ex’s engagement that she starts breathing in gas from her stove as she is getting ready to light the flame for a cup of tea.  She then realizes what she is doing and scrambles to open the window, finishing the moment with a mumble to herself, “Low point!”

I love this scene because it reminds me of our humanity and the vulnerability we carry in our hearts that result in situations in our lives that really are “UNCOOL.”  It makes me laugh every time.  The scene has become an unfailing reflection of my own relationship foibles.  As I have opened this article with a quote that I also love, from another film (yes, I am a cinematic nut job), I can’t help but refer to it over and over again in my own life.  A lot of getting over our self- judgments that usually result in some misguided perception about who we are, is about owning those moments in our lives where we really do hit those “low points” and seriously act “uncool.”  Iris’s goofy attempt at poisoning herself with gas from her stove qualifies as one of these moments for me.

There has been a lot of talk over the past week about Miley Cyrus’s performance at the MTV VMA awards, and it has been funny to see many people’s reactions here on WordPress with the weekly writing challenge incorporating it as a guideline.  Most people don’t want to give any energy to the topic and the hype of this pop performance dilemma.  I totally understand it, as a person myself who has always rejected in some way through my own musical snobbery such mainstream musical gunk- which is why I have always related to the main characters in Almost Famous.

But I can’t help but notice that even those that don’t want to give any energy to the event still do by feeling the need to make their statement.  When I finally had a second to actually watch the video, I found myself laughing out loud- really.  Why?  Because here was a person engaged in one of those “low points,” one of those “uncool” moments where her immaturity outweighed whatever it was she was trying to do on that stage.  To me her performance was no different than a bunch of 13 year old awkward boys or girls having a sleep over acting outlandish about sex, a topic they don’t know anything about but want to be “cool.”

In my heart, I can’t help but be grateful that I now have enough wisdom to honor Cyrus’s process of growing up amidst all the labeling on this planet and the continuous blubbering over one concern to another regarding pop artists and what they are teaching our kids or what they say about our society as a whole.  In the end, we have to all own our “uncool” moments for what they are and love ourselves because there is nothing else left that is real but that love.  One day, I’m sure Ms. Cyrus will own her “uncool” also and be a person she herself can fully love rather than seek the hype surrounding celebrity marketing and drama.