Leading Lady

By: Gabriela Yareliz

I am committed to writing more regularly here because I simply miss it. I am here, already dreaming of Easter. Pastel colored dresses, and light trench coats with no leggings. A dream. February is almost over. It’s wild.

Tonight, I read a magazine for a bit. Cherry Bombe featured the lovely and brilliant chef (and writer– let’s be honest) Sophia Roe. Her personal posts about her childhood and her mom’s addiction always leave me so moved.

[Sophia Roe for Tidal Magazine]

After that, I listened to an amazing podcast from Lewis Howes’ School of Greatness, featuring Erwin McManus. It was incredible. Erwin McManus has a special place in my heart because God has spoken directly into my life through his messages and books. I was lucky enough to meet him, this week, at his book launch party, in SoHo.

This season has been an interesting one. There are anticipated changes and uncertainty. Life is constant change, they say. McManus’s messages have helped me find healing and boldness in God and faith, like never before. Sort of like the writings of Sophia Roe. There is an interesting boldness that infiltrates the words of someone who has not only survived life, but thrived in life, despite a difficult and traumatic childhood or beginning. Healing does not come without discomfort, but the greatness that can emerge from vulnerability is unfathomable.

“Healing does not come without discomfort, but the greatness that can emerge from vulnerability is unfathomable.”

There are still things I am, of course, working on and working toward (always)– but I feel like the movie The Holiday can illustrate two things that have been on my mind, lately.

Letting Go and Changing the Narrative

First, letting go.

My favorite character in the movie The Holiday is Amanda. We meet her in the beginning with this horrible boyfriend who is always criticizing her and making her feel like she is the problem (and sure, she had some problems, like picking idiots as partners), meanwhile, this movie trailer voice narrates what is going on inside of her head. She spends essentially the whole movie not being able to cry, but trying to, and she certainly doesn’t cry when she dumps her cheating boyfriend.

It is later revealed that she doesn’t cry because of just how shattered she felt in her childhood, after her parents’ divorce.

Sometimes, I wonder if the occasional stress twitch near my eye is like Amanda’s inability to cry and her heart pills. Maybe, we all need a change of pace, a change in narrative and a good healing cry. Maybe, the act of crying is important, even if it is just a physical release because it is essentially an emotional letting go. Maybe a change in narrative is like what Sophia Roe wrote about as, “Let’s work on eventually solidifying ourselves as survivors, instead of victims. Perhaps even turn our shamed histories, into gilded glowing legacies.” (02.08.19)

Sometimes, our emotions, histories and tensions fill us up so much, that when they flow out, something has to break to let it out, and then, the healing can begin.

Perhaps, there is no cottage in England waiting for us (with that British guy who could be an eye glasses model, am I right? Lens Crafters, if you go out of business it’s because you didn’t wallpaper your walls with ads of Jude Law in glasses)–

—but we can still find moments of solitude, or make life-changing decisions for ourselves, even if the decision is as limited as positioning ourselves in a place where we can receive something we have no control over. Amanda decided her lame partner and pill popping stress needed to stop, and it was then, that her life changed. That one decision set everything else in motion. Lessons to be learned from Amanda: Don’t let anyone tell you who you are, separate yourself from the people and environments that harm you or keep you trapped in more of the same, and cry. Make the time or put things or people in your life that mean something to you. Feel a love, beauty or a passion that is deep enough to bring tears to your eyes.


The second thing is that we must be leading ladies.

So often, we give so much deference or we try to accommodate and be so amenable, and we forget that there are things we can make ours, things we don’t deserve (because we deserve more) and moments where we need to let go (see above).

I see too many women playing the best friend in their own lives. Sometimes, I fall into that trap, too. Be the leading lady. Get that Oscar. You are not, I repeat, you are not the best supporting actress. In your life, you are the protagonist.

Show up and “repurpose” your pain, as Sophia Roe likes to say. Heal. Heal. Heal. And write your story’s new beginning. You aren’t stuck with how the movie began, and you certainly get a say in who you are when it ends.

Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

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