You're not the Main Character
Duh…right? There are over 7 billion people in the world. Of course, you’re not the main character. I’m going to be real with you - I grew up thinking I was the ‘star of the show.’ Ever since I was a kid, my imagination ran wildly without borders. I’d picture myself being the president of the United States, a surgeon that performed once-in-a-lifetime operations, or as a spy on the most top-secret mission to recover a prized jewel that several foreign governments were after as well (I might’ve given this one a little more thought than others haha). The point is that in each of these scenarios, I was the heroine. I saved the day. I was always needed. The story didn’t move along unless I made it. I don’t regret daydreaming by any means, in fact, I still do it sometimes to this day. But, I’m happy that I don’t use it to fuel a false reality anymore.
I get that not everyone is going to agree with me on this, and I think that’s perfectly okay. At the end of the day, you should chase life in whatever way is best for you and what challenges you to grow.
I’m just going to say it straight - you’re not the main character. The world doesn’t revolve around you - not in this life nor in the next. It’s a bit harsh when you really think about it - that we’re not exactly the “end all be all” screenwriters of our own play. And some of you might be reading this and thinking the following…
“Well, Liana, I get to choose what I do with my life. I get to call the shots. If I want something, I’m going to get it. You can’t stop me”
And to that, I raise my glass because I completely agree. You do get to choose those things. You do get to choose how you spend your time, but your castmates aren’t going to stop in their tracks when something throws your storyline for a loop. We all have our own lives to live. We all have dreams. We all have something we want to chase after. We all have our own vision for how we want life to play out.
A few weeks ago, I watched In the Heights. I knew nothing about the musical except for the fact that Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote it, and honestly, that’s all I cared about! The story follows several characters in their journey to make their sueñitos (little dreams) come true. It was a beautiful sentiment. You have this honest, hard-working community of people chasing after their American Dreams while keeping close to their Dominican & Puerto Rican roots. The community plays a HUGE part in everyone’s life. They are so tightly-knit. Everyone knows everything about each other, and most notably, they are each other’s biggest supporters. The majority of them immigrated from overseas and started from absolutely nothing here in America. Each of them came to the States to chase a dream they had or one that their parents had before them. Some of their dreams looked like this:
Usnavi - to go back to the Dominican Republic and rebuild his dad’s bar
Vanessa - to become a fashion designer in New York
Daniela, Carla, Cucca (The Salon Ladies) - to move their salon to a bigger storefront in Brooklyn
Kevin - to financially support his daughter throughout her university years at Stanford
Spoiler ahead - sorry not sorry!
This spread of characters are all presented with an opportunity to make their sueñitos a reality, but when they’re just about to taste the fruits of their labor, a hint of hesitation introduces itself in each of their lives. These people fought their entire lives to get what they wanted, but their dreams were suddenly taking all of them away from their home - from each other - from the “beyond-blood” family they grew in Washington Heights. And when this realization sank in, they grew frustrated and confused with life. I’m sure thoughts loomed in their head like,
“If this is my dream - what I’m meant to do, what I want to do with my life - then why does it take me away from the people I love? The people who love me?”
They eventually project their frustrations onto each other. There’s a scene between the main character, Usnavi, & Vanessa, his love interest, where they both struggle with the idea that they’ll be countries apart. They argued a bit, questioning why the other was leaving when they both in fact were leaving. Even if one of them stayed and chose to pass up their dream, the other would still no longer be in Washington Heights - ultimately, pulling them apart from one another. They couldn't really win either way. They wanted to make time stop. There’s no doubt that they wanted not only their dreams but their friends’ dreams to come true as well, but they didn’t want everyone else’s storyline to move on without them…
Of course, it worked out in the end, it is a musical after all. They compromised, realizing that they couldn’t see their dreams fully coming true without each other, but reality doesn’t always play out that way.
Life can be harsh. Growth requires change. It brings about challenges, and most of the time, it’s not very inviting. It’s difficult to say goodbye to a life you’ve always known, even if it’s one that you weren’t always happy with. But, life, time, & all the in-between will move forward whether we like it or not. This was definitely a battle for me since graduating from college. The transition from college to career hit me a bit harder than I could have ever predicted. People switched in & out of my life - some, I internally struggled a bit to close the chapter on, but it all needed to happen.
I’ve never felt more like the person I’m meant to be until now. It’s chilling to me. Some new relationships have begun to bud in my life, I’ve taken some risks and jumped into new opportunities that push me closer to achieving my dreams, & most importantly, I’ve found a church home, a community that holds me accountable & reminds me that God is with me always, through everything.
Rather than sulking that your storyline isn’t playing out the way you want it to, give it a chance. Your new castmates, setting, or purpose might surprise you - sometimes, it might prove to be even better than the one you had before!
Good luck out there! You’ve got this!