What Katniss Everdeen and Jennifer Lawrence have taught me...

The movie, "The Hunger Games" had been in my Amazon Prime queue for several months when I finally decided to watch it. I had wanted to for awhile but Tam and I have to plan our movie watching as she struggles to make it through a movie without falling asleep. So we watched the movie and I really enjoyed it however I felt that without having read the book first I was missing a lot of the story. Not long before, my Mom had given me all three books so I had them available. I devoured the first book in a matter of a few days and then watched the movie a second time. Wow, so much more of the movie made sense. So, over the next few weeks I read the remaining two books and watched the movie a few more times. I have now watched the movie at least 30 times since that first time about 6 weeks ago. The movie, the heroine, and the actress who portrayed her have taught me a great many things about life in general and my life specifically. I have re-read the books two more times and often open to a random page and read a chapter or two. I can nearly recite the movie word for word. In the following paragraphs I am going to put down in words what I have learned from this and the questions I did not know needed asking with answers yet to be discovered.

For reasons I cannot explain the story, both written and cinema, has brought out the profound sadness I have kept buried inside myself for a very long time. As I come to realize my mental illness and how it has kept me from being more than I am today I just cannot let go of the past. I am fully aware that my life is better than 90% of the people on Earth however that does not take away the anguish I feel for not having become more than I am. At the same time, I am very content without having achieved great success. This conflict is a lifelong battle never to be won or lost. I believe I should have done more to better provide for my family yet I don't feel the need to do more for myself. I have watched the movie over and over, sometimes several days in a row so I can relive the pain the movie brings out in me. Why this story? I have watched other movies, read other books that have sad moments or endings, yet not with the same impact. The actors, director, and all others that made the movie possible so perfectly brought the book to life that the sad feelings the story brought out of me were greatly intensified. Jennifer Lawrence so perfectly embodied Katniss Everdeen that it is impossible to believe another actress could have portrayed the heroine. So first I have learned that I have great sadness within me that I do not know how to let go of.

After watching the movie and reading the books I wanted to learn more about the actress. I had watched Jennifer Lawrence in Winters Bone about a year ago and was floored (like so many others) at her performance. I had never heard of her before that (I did not have cable television until about a year ago so I never saw her on the Bill Engvall Show) and due to life's demands had lost track of watching her in other shows. So I set about catching up on her interviews on Youtube and was again impressed with her post (and so many other interviews) Oscar-winning press conference. When she spoke of diabetics take diabetic medicine but mental disease is viewed upon as a stigma I was forevermore her fan. I am diabetic and I have finally come to grips that I have some sort of mental disorder. I have taken a test for Asperger's Syndrome and the results indicate I have this or one of the similar disorders. I have long known I am a little different than most people and with a name for how I am I now better understand why I do things and think the way I do.

Another lesson both the fictional story and the real life actress has taught me involves being a better employee in my work. The actress responded to a question regarding how she interacts with a director. She replied that she would never want a director to work around her, instead, she wants the director to tell her what he/she wants and she will figure out how to deliver it. I finally realized this is how I have to be in my work. I know my talents, strengths, and weaknesses. Listen to what my superiors want and then figure out how to give it to them instead of trying to make them agree to my way of thinking. I have been pounding my head against the wall all my life doing this the wrong way.

The lesson that I have learned from the story is you must play the game if you are to win. Katniss realized this when she was having her interview the night before the 74th Hunger Games were to begin. I have learned that people with Aspergers and similar disorders struggle to read other peoples facial expressions, something I have never been very good at. Also, I have little to no use for office politics, I come to work to work, not play games. But you have to play the game if you are to win. Katniss learned this and in turn she taught me. While my daily life is not a fight to the death, each day is very impactful on my and my family's life. All it takes is one drivers poor decision and my life will forever be altered. The job, the grocery store, each and every encounter with another person requires the smile that says I am playing the game to win.

I have learned from this tale that no matter how hard I try, everyone I try to save cannot be. I also learned that it is ok to go on even though I could not save everyone. That I can forgive myself for my failures and be at peace with my successes. I am not yet able to do this however knowing that it is okay to do so is a first step.

I have learned that Peeta is to Katniss what Tam is to me. She is the one that can speak with a calm voice. That she is the one that can help me slow my emotions down and keep me centered. In my life, I am Katniss, I am the provider. Tam is the beauty of our life together as opposed to me being the strength.

I know this is not the most well expressed post however it was important to me to put these thoughts into words. I am sure I will add more posts to go along with this one. In the beginning I just wanted to watch a movie. I had no idea that this fictional story would so greatly impact my very real life. Why this story? Why now? Would it have been different if I had watched the move six months ago? Just another movie, over and done with. Move on with life. Yet, I did watch it now and now it has altered my life. For the better? Don't know yet. I hope so. I am very much looking forward to the next three movies and how they will bring the rest of the story to life. I hope I am here to see them all.