Heroes and Villains of Our Own Lives

What Ted Lasso is doing for toxic masculinity and storytelling

"I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape."

~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Story telling is a mechanism for generating empathy. By telling the stories of others we learn how to see the world in a way that is different. In childhood the stories are uncomplicated. There are heroes and villains. Good overcomes evil.

However, human beings are complicated mixtures of good and bad. Good people can make harmful choices, deliberately or in ignorance. Hurt people cause harm to others. When we are hungry, tired, stressed, overwhelmed we loose the willpower needed to make good choices. Good does overcome evil, but it may not come naturally. It takes practice, time building habits, and self awareness.

After I finished watching season 2 of Ted Lasso I was struck by the amazing nuance of the storytelling. On the surface it could be a hero, a villain, and good overcoming evil. But as season 2 unfolded we watched heroes become the villain of their own lives. This was often the result of choices that many people were given. Many of the characters worked through issues of trauma or bitterness. Some made choices that led to healing. Others didn’t. Not dealing with mental health issues can lead to complications in your life and relationships. Even though bottling things up does make good pickles, it makes terrible relationships.

The villains of season 1 slowly became the heroes of their own stories, and the underdog heroes are turning into villains. At the end of the day, the choices that each person makes will turn them the into hero or villain of their own story. It would be really easy to play the victim card for many villainous actions. Truly many people do allow hurt and trauma to ruin their lives. However, at some point, you become the person making the harmful choices. It is hard to forgive people who have hurt you. If that hurt turns into bitterness, you won’t become a wounded hero. You will become the villain in your story.

I have a lot of hope for season 3. Maybe there will be a redemption arc. But maybe the villains will keep making harmful choices. Not everybody is willing to face their inner demons and find healing. Ted Lasso really is telling the story of humans, and the way each choice affects ourselves and those around us.

Learning to be the hero of our story requires a lot of patience, towards ourselves and from others. It requires you to be self aware, to ask for forgiveness, and to grant forgiveness. As the Lords Prayer says, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”

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For the Ears

This playlist has songs that help me through depression and anxiety.

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For the Eyes

Obviously I want to you go watch Ted Lasso, and I tried really hard to keep this essay spoiler free, but the ending of season 2 left both my husband and I heartbroken and hopeful. It was wild. The show has also given my husband a lot of good language for working through some of the mental health issues he struggles with including limiting masculinity (a better phrase than toxic masculinity from Brendan Kwiatkowski at remasculate.org).

I think youtube videos are wrecking havoc with my offsprings ability to sit through a full length movie, because nobody seems interested in anything for longer than 45 minutes. Or maybe its the spotty internet. We are planning to watch the first two Harry Potter movies for Halloween, if they can stay interested that long. Maybe we will have finished reading the third book by then, and can watch that movie too.

For the Taste Buds

So it has been a long week, following a long month, and I could go on. When I lost my wallet this week I was deeply grateful for the Little Ceasars account that has my info so I could order a a stuffed crust pepperoni pizza, after being pulled over by the cops because there is a brake light out and of course I didn’t have my drivers license since it is in the aforementioned lost wallet. And it feels like the only way to tell that story is in a run-on sentence. Anyway, stuffed crust is definitely the way to go on a bad day.

May this week bring patience to your senses and your soul.

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