As I step into the chill of the dim theatre, my body sags into a relaxed slouch. For once I had made a good choice.
"You just don't think before you act. When will you ever learn to make decisions based on careful consideration instead of emotion?"
This afternoon's adventure is part of my attempt to stretch and expand my world. It has been a work in progress and taking in a movie alone is another milestone. The quest? To "find myself." The implication? That I am somehow "misplaced". At least that is the opinion held by the general public that surrounds me. Most of them are reputable sources but also don't hesitate to share their disdain for the person I am. Their comments often arrow straight into my heart.
"Don't take everything so personal. You're too sensitive."
My life and how I choose to live seems to be the topic of many conversations. And advice is never ending. So many words fly from every direction; I end up at an impasse unable to decide what is best for me. My mind becomes confused, murky with the clutter from others. They may think I'm lost but the reality is that I just don't have a clue. If indeed I need to 'find myself', it's because I've gone missing in the opinions of others.
"That was a stupid waste of money. You really need to learn about financial responsibility."
I settle into the squishy stadium seat with a sigh, intent on an enjoyable respite from the world. Diet soda and fluffy tub of popcorn in place, I shovel and slurp like a naughty child. I had told no one my plans for today, unwilling to risk any disapproval. My secret sojourn could be misconstrued as escape or waste of time. As salt dances over my tongue, I determine to enjoy every minute.
"You wore THAT to work? A few extra pounds can make any outfit unflattering..."
Commercials blare across the screen and give way to credits that scroll at a dizzy pace.
The movie begins and as the plight of the main character unfolds, my eyes fixate with spellbound fascination.
The storyline is simple but the dynamics leap off the screen as the woman grows from an insecure child into a codependency riddled adult. Her desperate attempts to win the approval of those around her are complicated by the enormity of such an impossible task.
"It's all in your head. They never said that-you must have imagined it."
Soon the struggle swallows her and she becomes lost in a sea of despair as the pain of their words twist like a knife until even the most innocent comments torture relentlessly.
She ends up in a crumpled heap on the floor of her apartment, hope elusive, with suicide the only viable option.
"Snap out of it. Depression is a choice. Just stop it."
My raspy breath echoes during a quiet moment and I struggle to maintain composure. It appears someone has stalked me. I feel naked and exposed as my life flickers on a screen larger than my house. Was that a snicker at my expense? I am in agony.
The movie begins to wind down as the woman rides off into the sunset with a man that has saved her from herself. Hate to tell them but it doesn't work that way.
"Maybe if you had been a better wife, he wouldn't have left you..."
The movie is over and brilliant light fills the quiet auditorium. Along with it, rays of sunshine begin to seep into my heart.
Yes, the lady in the movie was a lot like me: I have a tendency to gravitate toward codependent relationships. I've handed myself off to others in an effort to win approval. Most of all, my self worth is often based on what others think instead of trusting what is best for me. And believing the black words spoken into me. But today, the light has been turned on and I will no longer bow to the whims of those around me.
I haul myself out of the velvety chair and gather up the trash scattered about. At the exit, I smile as the soda cup and popcorn tub clunk to their final resting place in the trashcan. Along with the voices in the dark.
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