Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Zoey's Extraordinary Loss and Vulnerability

Zoey is dealing with some tremendous loss on her journey. The obvious loss is the death of her father, but the less obvious losses include her boss, her boyfriend (and best friend), and the life she once knew. The second season of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist deals with these losses and how Zoey faces her grief head-on. Zoey loses much more than the obvious (her father's gradual degeneration from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, his death, breaking up with Max). Zoey also lost connection with others, she lost her ability to express her own feelings adequately, and she lost the center of her world. What most people don’t realize is when they lose a loved one, it’s so much more than just the loss of that individual. The peripheral losses are often just as devastating as the loss of the person themself.  Relationships sometimes become unstable; routines get disrupted in a major way; and one may even lose their own identity. These losses are often just as devastating as the loss of the person themself, and sometimes can be even harder to deal with.

In speaking with my own therapist after I had some big losses pile up against me, I learned that those losses were affecting my ability to function in basic parts of my life. I was scared to refinance my house because I didn’t want to face another rejection. I had trouble connecting with certain friends because they reminded me too much of my best friend who took his own life. I was frightened to fully enter into romantic relationships because they would trigger memories of my divorce. I had a hard time talking to Heavenly Father because I blamed Him for a lot of my loss. And I was hesitant to be truly authentic in my life because my identity was often tied to some of the things I was losing, and so I didn’t really know who I was.

Zoey Clarke has taught me that being fearless is the only way to live. I’ve seen how unhappy and dissatisfied she was when she couldn’t connect. Who didn’t cry buckets when she and Max broke up? (C’mon, Zoey, SAY SOMETHING!) We’ve seen her break down at work because she can’t find her footing. And we’ve witnessed Zoey at war with herself because she couldn’t deal with so much loss in her life. I don’t want to live like that, and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist paints a way through devastating loss. Vulnerability. It’s as though BrenĂ© Brown were a writer for NBC!

As Zoey opens herself up and actually shares how she’s feeling, she finds connection. Zoey learns to actually SAY SOMETHING! and finds the comfort she so desperately is looking for. Nobody will ever replace Zoey’s father. Her relationship with Max may be salvageable (yay Team Max!), but it will never be the innocent peanuts and crackerjack relationship that it once was at the beginning of the season. Zoey’s relationship with Simon has irrevocably changed, and that’s not a bad thing. Her relationship with her mother has strengthened and deepend in ways that are beautiful and enrich both their lives. Even Zoey’s relationship with work, with her emotions, and with control have changed because of her loss, and because she was vulnerable. 

To paraphrase an inspirational quote, Zoey is the person in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly. She knows that if she fails, at least she fails while daring greatly, so that her place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. Zoey is living.

And look at that, we didn't even mention the music!