Day 13 – Scott Pilgrim saves my world

I watched Scott Pilgrim vs. the World last night, and for reasons that don’t necessarily make sense, it helped a lot of what I’m struggling with make sense. The themes in the movie centre around all those stupid hurtful things we do, even when we don’t mean to and we’re just fumbling along in our own flawed human way. The triumph of the movie is in owning your own shit and getting a second chance to do it right.

Recently I’ve been confronted with a couple of different situations that are uncomfortably reminiscent of some really painful experiences for me; though this time I’m on the other side of it, and really feeling the challenge to do better than the people who hurt and let me down.

Well that’s actually really hard. You get locked in to things with people who push your buttons, and being mindful of the fact your button just got pushed doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t still go off. I remember a very wise and grounded fellow saying: sometimes you just have to participate in the drama. Meaning mindfulness will only get you so far, you can’t always be moving around in loving detachment. Sometimes you have to just get right in to the muck to learn the lesson. Commit to the clusterfuck as another friend once put it.

Well, I’ve been really resistant to that, wanted to be better than that, wanted to be level-headed and do the right thing. Only doing the right thing didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. And I really resented being put through all this, thought I’d paid my spiritual dues and shouldn’t have to get sucked into this kind of crap anymore.

But thanks to Scott Pilgrim I can suddenly see, this is a do-over. A chance to level-up and try this battle again. I get a chance to run though the same stuff, this time from a different perspective and maybe actually learn the lesson this time.

And that lesson is about forgiveness. Being able to forgive myself for not being perfect stellar grounded human all the time (something I think I was approaching in the fuck mindfulness piece). And forgiveness for the people who I felt had done me wrong, when they really were just responding as best they could with the skills they had. Stupidity has its own momentum, and everybody can get sucked into that.

I’m again reminded of something Iyanla Vanzant wrote:

I forgive myself for ever thinking I did anything wrong.

I forgive myself for ever thinking anybody else did anything wrong.

You can let go of an awful lot if you can really grab on to that idea. We’re all just doing the best we can, and getting ourselves in the muck to learn what we need to learn. There are no bad guys, we’re all just a little clumsy*. Scott Pilgrim reminded me of that, and completed shifted my world.

*okay or maybe a lot clumsy, but the point still stands.


9 thoughts on “Day 13 – Scott Pilgrim saves my world

  1. Hey Valerie,

    Thanks for this piece. It is so relevant to what I’m experiencing lately. It’s like we are angst twins or something. I’ve just realized that I am going through life petrified of making mistakes. Absolutely paralyzed by it. Well actually I’ve known that for a while though didn’t know how deep it went. How pervasive it was …my fear of doing something wrong for fear that someone might see me and think “Hey that guy just did something wrong!”. The horror!!!

    How ridiculous! How fucking paralyzing can you get? So just very recently I’ve been purposefully doing things wrong …which is way outside my comfort zone… and then see how people react. Like tonight …okay this is going to sound ridiculous… I asked the waiter for more hot water. I had it in my head that you just don’t do that here (Buenos Aires). It’s not allowed. And believe it or not it took a lot of courage for me to do it! “Pardon …mas caliente agua por favor?” I aksed in my best pigeon Spanish and then braced myself for the “NO YOU CAN’T have more hot water. How fucking inappropriate of you to ask that!!!”. Because somehow this is what I expect. (Where does that come from??) Anyway as you can imagine, dude just says “Si! No problemo” And I am left kinda stunned …and disappointed for all those second cups of tea I missed out on for being so afraid to make a mistake.

    I hope I have the guts to continue this little experiment and take bigger risks. Oh like maybe making a post to another blog with verbage that I’m feeling is way too long and irrelevant to the topic… : ) Continue to push past my fear of being wrong and deal with whatever consequences come with being “wrong”. What’s that saying? “It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.”?

    I am not just a little excited to get out there and make all kinds of mistakes …push the envelop and just see what I’ve been missing by being so uptight!! So scared to do something wrong. I will keep you posted!

    I love what you are doing with this blog!!! As I’ve already mentioned to you, I applaud your bravery in putting your feelings out there with such brutal honesty. It’s refreshing and it gives me courage to do the same. Kudos!


    1. Oh, my darling angst twin! Who’d of thought we could be so far away and yet in exactly the same place.

      I love what you’ve presented here, seeking out mistakes. That takes cojones my friend! (see, I know some spanish too!)


    2. A dear friend once told me that there is this pestering creature that lives on shoulders who constantly points out our failures and faults. Every time we listen to it and agree and berate ourselves we feed it and it becomes stronger and more of a burden. I asked her, “What do I do to stop that voice/creature from harming me any longer?” She said, “Stop feeding it.”

      This is similar to a folk story I heard about a grandfather talking to his grandchild. Every person has two hungry wolves living inside them. One is greedy, selfish, full of anger, judging. The other is compassionate, helpful, thoughtful, content, and truthful. They battle within us every day. The grandchild asked, “Which one wins?” the grandfather answers, “The one you feed.”


  2. I can relate to this. Sometimes we are so hard on ourselves, we forget we ARE human, not perfect, and clumsy…, we make mistakes and learn from them. I’ve recently heard and read about friends that don’t do things for fear to failure, and if they fail, they regret it, I’ve felt that many times,… I’ve also heard before, you must fail fast, learn from it and move forward… sounds easy, although it’s not!

    But reading this, reminds me about being a bit more forgiving… thanks for sharing Valerie!


  3. You could have some wonderful conversations with Tony about failing early and often. Yesterday, I was told that I’ve recovered from enough mistakes to get an unplanned tenure-track position.

    Also, 10,000?


  4. Look at how you touch people. From inspiring impatient souls (ahem: me) to attempt ‘mindful’ sitting (or just sitting still, even!) to helping others power through their own fears and insecurities half-way around the world.
    I’ve been reading your blog nearly every day, and if I can’t read every day, I catch up on what I’ve missed. I think yours is the first blog I’ve ever really “read”. Or read on a regular basis. And this post, and Darren’s comments, make me think of Donna’s comment yesterday ( that you have no idea how you’re impacting people. You’ve inspired so many ideas in me, but I’ve been hesitant to really share that with you via blog because… I have this little voice in my head that says “You’re overstepping some personal boundary wit someone you’ve only know for a few months”.
    So now, I want you to know that you’re having a serious impact on a lot of people, whether they say so or not :)


  5. Had a more interactive, intense night than I expected. Following my heart in to listen. Listening because I was too tired to launch words of my tongue. Alone now and hoping for the best, feeling a lot.

    Participating in drama, feeling helpless, I know I’m in a more peaceful place than my friend but I don’t know why. Have I sidestepped a lot of hard thoughts? Do I have different resources that I take for granted? What did they most need to hear? Back to grappling with basics, forgiveness draws a blank for me tonight.


    1. I also had one of these intense nights of listening this week. Keeping quiet was unusual for me and slightly disquieting in itself. But, like you, I was exhausted and all I had the chuff to do was listen and be there for my friend.

      Maybe that’s all that was needed. Forgiveness may have been enough.


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