Pressure: It Happens To Everyone

August 27th 2017

Story originally written and experienced: November 12, 2012

It was one of the most New York things I had ever done.

Leah was always relentless when it came to finding out-of-the-ordinary (free) things to do in this expensive city, even on a Monday night.

“Tonight at the MoMA. You. Me. Going. They’re doing a free screening of Silver Linings Playbook! It’s a new movie with Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Bradley Cooper, and the director, David O. Russell, will be there to do a Q&A session right afterwards. It’s going to be awesome. You have to come. Who has plans on a Monday night? You don’t. We’re going.”

I guess we were going.

I met her right after work, surprised at how many museum-goers I saw wandering about.

I guess people really did make plans for Mondays.

And I guess I was now one of those people?

“Hi! Over here!” Leah’s voice bOuNcEd towards me, rico >  <cheting off the pristine floors and walls.

I waved back, gave her a hug, and then we sat down on the chilly floors knowing it would be a while until we were shuffled into the theater.

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And then it was time.

Let's do this.

Let’s do this.

The movie was fantastic. It mesmerized me. It was edgy, interesting, and riddled with with meaningful emotion.

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Tempered with just the right amount of comedic relief.

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My thoughts were interrupted with roar of applause.

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As promised, David O. Russell, the director, (who also directed I Heart Huckabees, Anchorman, and The Fighter) came out on the stage for his grand finale, the Q&A session.

“Oh, I’m so excited!” Leah leaned over and whispered to me.

“Me too!” I whispered back.

Eventually the applause died down and the interview began.

The questions were well done.

But it was his answers that I could never forget.

And still haven’t.

He talked about how the movie was inspired by his son who has a mood disorder.
“I wanted my son to watch this movie and feel like he was a part of the world. Like he wasn’t alone.”

Then he moved onto Bradley Cooper’s big heart and how he, “reinvented the character on screen in such an impactful way, we rewrote parts of the script because we liked what Bradley was creating so much more.”

All insightful stuff.

But for whatever reason, what he said next stuck with me most.

It felt like a minor detail he mentioned in his  s-t-r-i-n-g  of thoughts, but it was the only thing I felt so strongly about that I physically wrote it down.

I was looking at him. This man, blessed with achievement, fame, and the biggest actors in Hollywood cast under his name. And out of this man’s mouth, was this response when the commentator congratulated him on the movie’s great success:

“Thank you. I really do appreciate it. But you know, at face value, people will take one piece of your work and congratulate you for it and call it a ‘Success’! And say ‘You did a great job!’ But I have to tell you, as the person who’s been at the very top and the very bottom, the hardest part about success isn’t just performing once, but multiple times. It’s the art of proving and reproving your worth. Stepping into the spotlight of success is definitely hard. But staying there? That’s even harder.”

^

Whoa.

That night I walked into the theater with a false perception that the “pressure to succeed” didn’t happen to everyone. Not the rich. Not the famous. Not the cheery boy and girl you grew up with that seemingly have it all.

Only some of us.

Then, that exact category of human I had in my head walked across the stage, sat down, and confessed to me otherwise.

News Flash, Olive:

It happens to us all.

Everyone experiences the pressure of career choices, upkeeping friendships, proving our worth in relationships, being interesting in some way, or even making plans on a Monday night.

Everyone to your left <<< , to your >>> right, on stage, off stage, at work, at home,

halfway across the world

and

just

down

the

road

goes through one, more, or all of those things. Every day. All the time.

And that thought made me feel…better.

Less alone, more aware, less inclined to assume anyone’s lack of stress, and more inclined give the benefit of the doubt. And all it took was a Monday night and a man on stage with a microphone to finally get realization through to me.

No wonder I wrote it down.