I finally saw American Movie for the first time. I know, I know, I’m ten years behind on the Chris Smith documentary about amateur Wisconsin filmmaker Mark Borchardt, who is determined to make his first feature-length horror film, Northwestern. Yet as passionate about it as he was, and as knowledgeable and well-spoken about the filmmaking process, Mark kept hitting a wall to success: his stars and extras kept backing out, his bills piling up, and his hopes kept getting dashed again and again.
At one point, his girlfriend Joan said this of his quest for fame and fortune:
He wants to be somewhere where he’s not. But then, don’t most people want to be somewhere where they’re not?
I found what she said so simple, yet so important. Sometimes,
when we have a quest in front of us, we feel like we’re the only people in the world who don’t have what we want. If you’re single, you might look around at couples nuzzling and kissing, only to feel like you’re the only one who’ll never, ever find love like that. If you don’t have money, you might look at your neighbors and friends paying for luxuries with ease, and worry you’re the only one struggling with your bank balance behind closed doors. But the fact is this: We are all on quests for things we want. You’re not alone in searching, seeking, trying and wishing! We all, every single one of us, are working toward something that will make us happy.
Take solace in that. You may, like Mark Borshardt, want to be somewhere where you’re not. You may not yet have the relationship of your dreams, but look at what you do have. What seems like the bottom rung for you, you know, is a great height for someone else. Seek and hope, of course. But be grateful for where you’re at today, because your every day is someone else’s dream come true.
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