It was miserable hot here on Friday, and I had promised the kids some devoted Mom time. They wanted the pool. I just couldn’t face it, so I pulled my Ace out of my sleeve and we went to see Wonder Woman. I have to preface anything I say about this movie with the fact that while I love movies, I generally enjoy them more at home. The big screen, the loud volume, the explosions, it all gets to be a little much for me. I frequently have my fingers in my ears (or ear plugs if I remember) to dampen the volume. With all of that said, I LOVED THE MOVIE. I especially loved watching it with my 10 year old daughter and seeing her mouth hanging open taking in a female super hero.
There’s a lot I could share from Wonder Woman, but I suspect most of those articles have been written, but there is one moment from the movie that really struck a chord with me (well, okay there were others, but I’m going to pick THIS one). It’s early on, too, so I don’t think I’m spoiling anything. Anybody who goes to this movie KNOWS she’s not staying on the island with the Amazons. This is the moment of the story I want to zoom in on (heh, see what I did there?). Diana has to decide whether to stay in the safety of her island with her people or to go out and challenge the foe that has kept them in hiding for her entire lifetime.
Predictably, her mother would prefer that she stay, especially after getting a preview of the violence that awaits elsewhere. Diana wrestles with what to do, summons her strength and power and decides to go, in the middle of the night, when nobody can stop her. Her Mom, clearly equipped with Amazonian Mom radar, catches her and begs her to stay, to which Diana replies: “Who would I be if I stay?”
I actually gasped in the theater because of how great a question I thought it was. It cuts right to the heart of aligning our actions with the kind of person we WANT to be rather than the kind of person others want us to be OR the kind of person we’ve “always been.” You see, Diana is examining the cost of not choosing to be her biggest and best self. The metaphor is so clear I have to hang out with it for a minute.
So often, when we have a big choice to make, there is risk involved. It could be financial. It could be emotional. It could be just about anything. If there’s something worth thinking about doing, it probably has a potential downside attached to it. And those downsides are so often very easy to identify and quantify. We can spreadsheet the hell out of the pros, and especially the cons. The cons in the story, for Diana, are especially clear as she is standing on the beach where so many of her people were destroyed only hours before. Her mother, as many mothers would – and as many scared voices inside of our heads would, wants her to hide.
It is easier to hide. It is easier to stay safe, whatever that means. It is easier to continue to do what we’ve “always done,” but the cost that Diana calculates that we so often miss out on is the cost of making a choice that goes against who she is at her core, that doesn’t line up with who she believes she can be in the world, that trades vision/ aspiration/ fulfillment for security.
We all face these choices, choices where the voice in our head says: “That’ll never work. You can’t make enough money that way. You have responsibilities! That idea is just too crazy. NOBODY lives like that.”
But what if that voice is only part of the equation? Better still, what if that voice is just plain old wrong, and the only thing that’s driving it is fear? What would be different if you asked yourself: “Who would I be if I stay?” Who would you be if you never took a risk? Who would you be if you always let the fear drown out your sense of purpose? Who would you be if, instead, you dove in? What would be different if you asked yourself: “Who would I be if I stay?” Who would you be if you didn’t listen to what your heart knows is true? What would be different if you asked yourself: “Who would I be if I stay?”
Are you standing on the shore of your own life, arguing with the Mom voice in your head? Are you taking yourself, your heart, your purpose into account? Who would you be? If you’d like some help imagining that journey, I’d love to help.