By: Abbey Clark, Guest Blogger
Having recently watched one of my favorite movies, The Holiday, one line in particular really struck a chord with me. Spoiler alert: It’s right after Jasper grovels back to Kate Winslet’s character Iris. Right after she exclaims that she’s finally done being in love with him and comes to a full realization of the toxicity of their relationship, she slams the door on his pathetic (very much engaged with another woman) face and says: “I think what I've got is something slightly resembling, gumption.”
Gumption. It’s a great word that is rarely used. Webster Dictionary defines Gumption as “courage and confidence.” With the hopeful and fresh year of 2014 ahead of us, everyone can really learn something from Iris. Most people watching this scene focus on how much of a jerk Jasper is instead of seeing the real, raw, magnificent power in Winslet’s character. I think that’s very telling of the world women live in today. Just how much strength does it take to let go of something weighing you down? (I’m not just talking about a bad relationship here.) Personally, I think it’s one of the hardest things in the world.
Recently, my sister and I were trying to find the best word to describe that melancholic, heavy feeling that accompanies the magical joy of the holiday season. The best word we could come up with to describe this sense of longing and obscurity was nostalgia. I don’t think the word describes this deep feeling you get while looking back on the year completely, but it comes really close. Christmas is over. Now, what do you do with all of this gathered nostalgia? I think what you do with it is almost irrelevant. Sure, sit with it, reflect on it just for a moment…but it’s not about this moment: it’s all about what you do next. Take it from someone who’s way too hard on herself and has sat in an extended moment of nostalgia this year. There lies a fine line between reflection and dwelling, just as there’s a fine line between recognition and losing control. Consider this:
My mother recently shared a metaphor with me: life is like a stream. You have two choices:
Option 1: You can float down the stream and gracefully endure the rapids, rocks, or whatever else comes your way.
Option 2: Sit there and let the water flow around you.
Clearly the safer choice seems to sit in the stream. It seems neutral. Sure, you’re not navigating the rapids, or any of the scary stuff, but you’re also not experiencing the beauty that comes after the rapids: the tranquil babbling of the brook, the sunshine peaking through the trees, and the beautiful lilies that pop above the surface of the calm blue water. Everything goes around you, life keeps flowing, but you, my dear, are stationary. You let everything pass you by. You are stuck.
Sure the New Year is all about new beginnings, resolutions, hopes, dreams, but it’s also about letting go. It’s about navigating the stream. The New Year is about recognizing (not dwelling), dealing with whatever you’re dealing with in healthy ways, and letting it go; letting every experience make you better, stronger, more beautiful. Channeling your inner gumption doesn’t have to be about letting go of unrequited love. It could just be embracing a newfound love for yourself.
If you’re at all like me and have high hopes for 2014, start 2014 with a new mindset. I strongly believe that the New Year starts with how you approach New Years Eve. In honor of 2014, I’m letting go of my mistakes, regrets, and all the negativity. I’m pouring all my energy into being THAT GIRL. I’m choosing to embrace courage and confidence. This is your invitation to slam the door on 2013 and start over. After all, “You're supposed to be the leading lady in your own life, for God's sake!”
Abbey Clark is a rising senior majoring in English and Human Development at Boston College. Along with being the I AM THAT GIRL local chapter leader at BC, she is also a yoga instructor and the co-president of her all female a cappella group: The BC Sharps. She loves spending time with her friends & family, baking, and traveling. She is an advocate of healthy living, real beauty, and is so proud to be part of such a beautiful organization that is changing the world for women and girls!
Featured image via autismaspirations.com