Wanting to believe in complete rebirth, renewal, and redemption, I love the part of a movie or novel where the character falls flat on her rear or lands in jail or wakes up from a night of debauchery, and decides to change her life--down on her knees on the wet jail cell floor, she swears to reinvent herself. Then we get to the montage (in in a film) or series of scenes without much dialogue (in a novel) where the character goes about doing all of that. Think of images of a gym workout--yoga, Pilates, step class, weights. Then there are the edifying classrooms scenes, the shopping trips for more appropriate attire. Haircuts, language lessons, rebuilding of relationships with lost family members.
I conjure images of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman--she goes from prostitute with the heart of gold to, well, Julia Roberts.
It appears to us viewers that this change is truly possible. That a character in the span of one week can lift herself out of one life and (with the proper funding) become someone else. In Pretty Woman, Julia gives up hooking, her terrible clothing choices, and decides to go back to school. She also seems to get the rich prince guy, too, which makes this, yes, a Cinderella fairytale.
But here's my thinking: We can't really reinvent ourselves; we can, however, make some nice modifications. If we think of ourselves as a house, we can take off some parts are not working. We can even strip it to the foundation, but after the wreckers have left, the foundation is still there. That core of who we are "is" who we are, so we have to look at this process of change as really a pulling up and out of what and who we are right now.
So back to Julia. Turns out, she wasn't much of a prostitute. She never really sank into her job, so to speak. She never got it. Turns out, she was the good student back home who made a series of not so good choices, and once at the bottom, learned how to live there. Her foundation was a good foundation. When Richard Gere helped her pull her foundation back up and build some of the old walls, the deck made of prostitution fell off, as did the roof. She could start again.
I'm against the notion of trying to knock everything down and starting from scratch. I'm for looking inside and finding that place that needs to be restored--maybe earthquake proofed--and saving it. Even when at the bottom, there is that part of us that's good and solid and sure and that's the part to build on.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org