Inciting Incident

By: Courtney Chism, Guest Blogger July 20, 2015

Recently, I’ve noticed my conversations with friends seem to be dominated by themes of finding love. Or more specifically, “finding marriage,” as one of my friends put it.

He said this in the context of the Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage a right, which meant he could finally get married. He has gone out every night since then searching for “the one.”

Another of my friends, following a breakup from the person she was certain she would marry, has made a goal to go on fifty Tinder dates in fifty days. Yes, fifty. I’m not sure how she plans on doing this, but she’s one of the most determined people I know and I’m sure she’ll have great stories to tell.


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There are some nights when I go out with them and other nights when I don’t. Last week, on one particular night in, I was sitting at home, taking a break from writing a screenplay assignment to do research on Netflix (I’m a film student, I’m allowed to call it this). I found myself sitting on my sofa eating a Five Guys burger and fries, drinking my milkshake, all by myself.  

It dawned on me: this was the quintessential scene of sadness in almost every romantic comedy film ever. It’s the scene near the beginning of the film where the protagonist waits all alone at home (possibly while watching a romantic movie), hoping for true love to come along so their life can start. In screenwriting we call this the ‘inciting incident’.

Was I waiting for my own ‘inciting incident’? I didn’t think so. Yet, I found myself thinking back to conversations I’d had with several friends. I noticed how we were all so focused on “finding partners who complete us.” We were saying things like, “I want someone who will take care of me” or “I want someone who will support me in all my endeavors.” However, we were saying this in terms of wanting someone to do “x,y, and z” for us because we felt like we felt unable to do so ourselves.

It’s as if my friends and I were all having this conversation with the hope that someone would come along and somehow make us whole human beings. This person would be the one to fill the void created by our supposed imperfections.

in the rush to give and receive love it can be easy to forget that you must make yourself happy first

Sitting there on my sofa, I realized this search for love was less about finding someone who completes you and more about finding someone who perfects you. I then realized how crazy this kind of thinking is because no one is perfect; and seeking perfection can make you very unhappy, especially in a relationship.

I think in the rush to give and receive love it can be easy to forget that you must make yourself happy first. You must love who you are, with all your flaws, before anyone else can do so as well.

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About Courtney

Macintosh HD:Users:Courtney:Desktop:Photo.pdfCourtney is currently a Writing for Screen and Television major at the University of Southern California. When she isn’t writing or watching movies, she’s probably talking about them. She also loves music and spending as much time as possible with her family and friends. 



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