During some downtime this week with Husband, we watched some re-runs of our favorite show, Modern Family. In the episode, “Queer Eyes, Full Hearts“, Haley Dunphy has a job interview. Quickly, she is brushed off and walks out of the office. Later in the episode, we see her back in the office, she brings all of the goods and ultimately lands the job.
Her character is routinely brushed off – she’s cute, airy, and presumably unintelligent and ditzy. She tries and fails over and again. She’s laughed at behind her back (and sometimes to her face). Kicked out of college, she’s now living in her parent’s basement, unemployed. By social standards… she’s kind of a failure.
In so many ways, I can relate to her.
I’ve been brushed off, discounted.
I’ve felt devalued.
I’ve felt worthless.
I’ve felt like a failure.
But this brilliant moment (that I think is my favorite moment of the entire series) came during the end credits.
Haley is sitting in her car. She’s beating herself because, yet again, she let herself get thrown aside. (This is the off-camera time in between the initial brush off and her going back in to get the job).
She’s screaming that she’s stupid, over and again. Tears are streaming down her face. She’s defeated. From behind, a car honks. Mid-sob she yells; “Go around! I’m not going anywhere!” She motions for the other driver to go around her.
Then, the phrase becomes transformative.
“I’m not going anywhere…” My education, my career, my life.
“I’m not going anywhere.” Oh god, I’m a failure. What am I going to do?
“I’m not going anywhere.” And that needs to change.
“I’m not going anywhere.” Needs to change NOW.
“I’m not going anywhere!” Get out of the car, take control.
“I’m not going anywhere!” Wipe off those tears. The power is mine. You can’t make me move; I’m not going anywhere.
In those 30 seconds, I saw my life. My transition from someone who at one point bought into the words the world told me: I was stupid, I was fat, I was worthless, I was a failure.
I saw the moment I realized that I believed what people thought, even though I knew deep inside, that wasn’t me.
And finally the moment, where I realized changing my life was on me. No one would do it for me – no one could. No one can.
Like Haley, I got mad. Mad that I let what people said get to me. Mad that I allowed it to become my reality. Mad that I bought into the bullshit. Mad that I let other people dictate how I was going to live my life.
It needed to stop.
I made changes. First, I cleaned house and removed the toxic people from my life. I changed the narrative in my head – from you are worthless – to you are worth MORE. Every day I pushed myself. I replaced the bad words with good ones.
And finally, just like Haley making the decision that she wouldn’t be thrown away anymore, I decided that just existing wasn’t good enough anymore.
I was going to be a force to be reckoned with.
I will be.
I’m not going anywhere.
And neither should you.