I recently re-watched the movie The Holiday. You know the one- with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, and Jack Black does the whole trying to make a more serious comedy thing like Steve Carell in Dan in Real Life? I always find myself relating to Kate Winslet’s character, Iris, in this film. Like Iris, unrequited love seems to be the only kind I am truly familiar with. When all you want is to feel desired and loved by another, it can be a bit of a confidence killer when those objects are not easily obtained.
Iris, however, is quite lucky when she meets her neighbor Arthur, a writer from the glorious Old Hollywood days. He begins to subtly mentor her towards becoming a more confident woman through old films and gentle movie metaphors, and slowly throughout the movie she gets her gumption back. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is early in Iris and Arthur’s relationship when they are out to dinner together. In a moment of wisdom, Arthur tells Iris that in the movies there are two kinds of women- the Leading Lady and the Best Friend.
“You, I can tell, are Leading Lady material” Arthur tells her. “What I can’t understand is why you are acting like the Best Friend.”
Iris responds by telling him that he is right, she should be the Leading Lady in her own life. She hilariously relates that his observation was more clear and helpful than three years of therapy. “That was brilliant. Brutal, but brilliant.”
I don’t know if I always do the best job at being the Leading Lady in my own life. A Leading Lady has confidence and mojo; is ready to make her place in the world. In not having a clear plan of my next move career wise, I can let that erode my confidence in other areas of my life, seeping into how I carry myself and interact with others. Sometimes I think this may be why I don’t often put myself out there into unfamiliar situations, thus hindering prospects to meet new people and severely limiting my dating life.
This is not a mindset that can magically be changed overnight, but I am conscious of it and working on it bit by bit. I’m ready to be my own Leading Lady- I better work on making her story as memorable as Iris’s.