The Hero’s Journey
Everyone has coping mechanism. Some good stand-bys of mine are sarcasm, humor, and emotional eating. I’m just being honest here.
But my absolute favorite?
I see almost everything cinematically. Most of life can fit into a classic narrative structure (I know you have my back, Joseph Campbell!) If I am facing anything difficult, I feel most comfortable dealing with it if I can identify where it might fall in a three-act film. It’s the reason I can find peace in an often-chaotic family. It’s the reason why I’m convinced my roommate is in the 2nd act of a romantic comedy where she eventually falls in love with her drummer. It’s the reason why I was able to plow through being laid off from a terrible job. It’s all part of the hero’s journey! I know it sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it makes putting up with setbacks and annoying people far easier. I’m telling you, you should really try it sometime.
This tool really came into play at the end of last year, which totally sucked by the way. A few family crises and major financial setbacks tossed in with some creative failures had me feeling pretty L-O-W. In the case of the creative failures, I opted not to take the film perspective and instead coped by allowing my ego to compare the situation to David Lee Roth getting ousted from Van Halen…..if Van Halen was an improv team that no one really cared about. Don’t judge me, we all do what we need to do to get by. Anyways, back to my point. I was feeling depressed, so I called my BFF, Kylie. The great thing about best friends is that they usually know your coping mechanisms, and in this instance, she completely knew how to speak to my despair. The conversation went something like this:
Kylie: I feel like you are Rocky in the 10th round of a fight. You keep taking these punches, but you haven’t stopped fighting yet.
Me: (excited) YEAH! I’M JUST LIKE ROCKY (sheesh, my ego is out of control sometimes) So I just gotta keep pushing, and I’ll kick Apollo’s ass! He wins the fight right?
Kylie: Well, no.
Me: BLERGH! Why would you say this to me? Am I gonna lose the fight? Which one does he win?
Kylie: Rocky II
Me: That’s not the one with the Russian, right?
Me: Ok, good. I think I’m looking for a Rocky II sort of situation.
And so it went. I stayed low for awhile, but eventually the dramatic plot points passed, and life leveled itself out. You could even say that I’ve kicked a few situations in the ass (take that Apollo Creed!). I guess the only reason I bring this up tonight is to share with you the t-shirt I just bought at H&M an hour ago:
What’s your favorite coping mechanism?