After the girls went to bed last night, J and I watched Hancock. It's not your typical super-hero flick because it's thought-provoking and action packed. That's a good combo for me! The movie stars Will Smith as Hancock, a reluctant, nearly incompetent super-hero. He drinks, he crashes into things while helping people, he's unkind and rude. Then he saves a PR guy who offers to help him change his image.
The more we see of Hancock, the more we realize how lonely and sad he is. After he has rehabilitated some, we find out that Hancock knows nothing of his history. He's spent nearly the last century without aging and believing he is the only one of his kind. That's a pretty lonely existence and it doesn't turn him into a nice person. Being the only one makes him defensive, churlish and stand-offish.
Since this is a Hollywood movie, we get to see Hancock change (since change comes so easily and painlessly in most Hollywood movies). We see the difference that a bit of encouragement and support make for this man who thinks there is no one else like him.
While the movie takes an extreme character to make its point, I think much of it is widely applicable. We all feel at one time or another like we are the only one who feels a certain way, thinks something, does something. Over time, this makes the place in us that feels different become hard, defensive and wounded. But when someone breaks through our defenses and affirms what we do, it changes and softens us.
I think it is ultimately true that each of us is the only one in some sense. No two sets of experiences are the same. No two sets of beliefs are exactly the same. No two people are exactly the same. But we are united in our uniqueness. I want to celebrate the unique things instead of wishing them away. For a long time, I wanted only to blend in. I wanted to hide away the things that only I seem to care about and long for. But now I think these are the most beautiful things about each of us. A dancing the way only she can. B seeing and creating things as only she can. K laughing and talking as only she can.
I don't always know what my daughters are thinking or feeling. They will definitely experience things in their lives that I haven't, but I hope they will ultimately know they are not the only ones to feel that way. I hope they will let themselves be encouraged and that they will be comforted that they are unique and appreciated for the gifts only they have.