This December, I am participating in a month-long writing challenge (#reverbbroads11), alongside a bunch of strong, inspiring women. Today’s post is an adaptation of this prompt from Emily: In the movie version of your life, which actor/actress would play you and the significant players in your life? What kind of movie is it (e.g., made-for-TV, action, emo/indie, etc.)?
Most of us have felt a strong connection to personalities in movies, in books, or in history. Storytelling is powerful, because most of us can identify with the vulnerability of the characters. We feel for them when they are struggling, we share in their disappointments, and we cheer for them when they succeed.
The character I identify with is socially awkward. She always says the wrong things and tries to remedy the situation by telling bad jokes, singing, and sometimes even dancing. Who’s that girl? It’s Jess, Zooey Deschanel’s character in the TV series, The New Girl.
The first time I watched an episode, I was tempted to search my house for hidden cameras. “Holy crap,” I thought, “The writers stole my life!” There were just too many similarities to ignore:
- Jess responds to an add on Craig’s List and moves in with three dudes. In graduate school, I placed an ad for a roommate and rented my spare room to a guy I had never met. In both cases, it turned out to be an excellent decision
- Jess has her own theme song and makes up new tunes when she feels uncomfortable. Yep, I do this– just ask Steve about the “Face Song.”
- Just when Jess appears to be normal, she ruins it by making a weird face or dancing. I am a pro at making a fool of myself.
- Jess is weird but her friends learn to love her for it. Some of the best friends I have are people who know the “real me.”
Every time Jess does something off-the-wall, Steve just points at me, signaling “Hey that’s you.” Once I mourned the loss of royalties that were owed to me, I realized how comforting it was to watch a show that glorified a quirky, misunderstood person like myself.
My favorite episode challenges the main character to “Suppress the Jess” at a wedding. But despite her efforts to blend in, her quirks come bubbling to the surface. I spent a lot of years trying to “Suppress my Jess” in public, mostly when I meet new people. Lately I have been trying to be openly, awkwardly me, but this isn’t always as easy as it seems.
Jess may be a fictional character, but her personality is real. Each time I watch, I feel more empowered to embrace my silly side, hum my own theme song, and dance around the house without a trace of rhythm.