girl looking out window of highrise building in tokyo japan

The Ordinary Life of a Main Character

In films, everyone is ordinary until something extraordinary happens to them. The events are often something external at first, but one that awakens their internal struggles.

I like thinking of myself as the main character in a series. Not a movie. A film’s protagonist gets redemption in two hours. I am slightly delusional and impatient. If I imagine myself to be in a movie, I’ll end up getting frustrated over the fact that my life’s redemption arc is rolling in slower than I want it to.

A series, however, gives you more time to immerse in the character build-up. So I pretend my whole life is a series split into seasons. I think it helps me deal better with life’s highs and lows.

Growing up, I’ve been very much a catastrophizer. I didn’t realize this until I was in my late twenties, sitting in my counselor’s office, crying because I realized how critical and unkind I was to myself.

So pretending that I’m in a series somehow helps me deal with situations where I feel I’m not emotionally prepared.

I’ll say things like “this is not the end” or “this is the part where…”

Maybe it helps me take a step back from my inner turmoil and ask myself, “what would the main character do?”

It also gives me slack for making mistakes. Because the main characters are often clowns, do dumb things, and are imperfect beings.

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My friends and I often joked about an omniscient script writer who was writing our life story. One time, when I was (literally) running late for class because I had danced in my room and forgot the time, I looked up at the sky and exclaimed “I thought we were done comedy?!”

Sometimes I’d lament about how my life was supposed to be a “romcom” and yet there was barely any romance. Now, I think the scriptwriter is actually writing a coming-of-age film. One can come of age at any time, you know.

My idea isn’t entirely original and one of my friends would take this idea a step further. She said she liked to pretend she was in a reality TV show. How did you want to be portrayed If the cameras were on? If the audience was watching? What kind of person does the audience root for? So she always dressed impeccably and always tried to say the best thing possible.

I think that works on days when you need to be your best self. But you also don’t want to be insincere to yourself, at the very least.

As for me, I don’t think I can sustain that kind of seeming perfection. I will crack.

I have had a tendency of being hard on myself and will berate myself for not being a perfect character. Pretending to be a flawed fictional character seems easier.

(originally written in Dec. 22, 2021)


  • K

    Aaaah I love this so much!!! Reading this piece feels like going through a comforting therapy session. Ang gaan sa puso!

    I really need to start adopting this whole my-life-is-a-TV-series mindset. I’m about to start a new job in the new year while trying to navigate around a (non) break-up from a messy situationship — bagong season na ‘to mhie, and I better not flop. Chz hahaha.

    Thank you so much for writing this! It’s def one of the things I didn’t know I needed until I read it. <3

    • milkhomestudio

      Mhieee! ayan naka set na ang stage para sayo. all the elements of a main character. good luck sa bagong season! sana masaya at mas ma enjoy mo pa <3 bigyan mo ng title para mas nakakatuwa hahahahaha!

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