We go into movies knowing full well that everybody in it has a specific role. The moments the actors were cast and read the script they begin working hard on portraying their designated character to the best of their ability. They get to try on a new person like a glove and if it fits perfectly, they’ve done their job right. Some play heroes who overcame trauma and became the centre of every frame, others portray the thorn in their flesh they can never take out. For some characters, pulling the strings is what the know best; grandiose puppet masters with firm intentions, good or bad as they may be. But there are also characters destined to be the sidekicks and those who are nothing more than extras in the background.
Whenever I turn on a new show or movie the first thing I do is establish the roles of each person that comes up on the screen. It’s not something I necessarily think to do, but something that I end up doing out of habit, don’t we all?
The more films I watch, the more of a pattern I can’t help but see.
“There she is, the pitiful girl that will clearly get a full makeover scene at exactly 55:20 and is 97.9% likely to get the highly coveted happy ending.” “Another blonde mean cheerleader who secretly pines for real love and attention and hides her insecurities behind a spoilt brat demeanour” “Of course, she is surely the black girl that dies in the first five minutes – nothing new about that.”
We’ve been so conditioned to view characters as what they appear to be, so much so that our expectations become the tool that creates plot twists and turns in ways we don’t expect. Every character exists to fulfil a purpose and sell the bigger picture, even the extras who barely get any time in the spotlight or the faceless man in the bar scene whose only task is to ask “What can I get you?”
Every role pushes the story forward, every cast member and cheesy line sells the story to us to a degree.
Last week, I read a quote on Instagram that made me think about the role I play in the life of others. It simply read: we are all villains in someone else’s story.
I’m sure you have had moments when you felt like you hated someone with certainty that they felt the exact same way about you, but have you ever thought of yourself as the villain in someone’s story? Have you ever thought of yourself as someone who’s sole aim and purpose is to cause havoc and distress? Could it be possible that you exist solely to rain on someone’s parade?
Maybe. Maybe not.
While we get caught up in trying to navigate the ups and downs of our daily lives, it’s very easy to forget that actions not only have consequences on the outcomes we desire, but they also affect the people around us and beyond. Truth is, as we may attempt to be the heroes in our own lives, we are bound to play many different characters in the lives of others
To someone you could be a part of the past gladly forgotten, a magnet that only attracts awful memories or even an extra that doesn’t get more than three lines. While you do get hurt and bleed when words cut like a knife, you also do the hurting too cutting deep till permanent scars remain. Yes, you may just be the toxic annoying friend who knows no boundaries or steps on people’s toes over and over again despite countless apologies.
Now this realisation didn’t necessarily make me jump up to do good deeds here and there. You can’t always get to control how people view and treat you, plus, it’s too much pressure to run around trying to ensure you are who you want to be to everyone you know. It also doesn’t mean I won’t be breaking any hearts from here on out – wanting to be good to people is one thing, being good is another. However, it’s a form of acceptance of two truths; you can’t be liked by everyone, and sometimes you too will be the problem or at least part of it.
Perhaps, the idea of being a villain may not be an easy pill to swallow, but I think unless we intend to please everybody, which is impossible, it is a role we all get to play at some point or another. After all, heroes don’t wear capes all the time!
Your restless romantic roamer
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