I had a glorious Sunday morning this past weekend – I was at home with nowhere that I had to be, it rained (there was a thunderstorm, too – AWESOME!), I did a bit of laundry, drank a lot of coffee, snuggled myself up on the couch and continued watching “The Sopranos” marathon I’ve been watching for the past two weeks (I’m nearing the end of the third season – it’s even more awesome when you can watch the whole thing in a row like that). As I’ve been watching these episodes, I’ve come to some significant conclusions about myself – before you think I’m about to run to Jersey and look for a made man of my very own (although that sounds fun, don’t you think? 😉 ), let me explain.:-)
There are some really great lessons to be learned from this show – for me, one of the most significant is the power of being direct. When Tony wants something, he gets it – always – one way or another. Yes, his tactics frequently involve a gun or a baseball bat, but…Tony gets shit done. I need to acquire that skill of getting people to do what I want them to do – it could serve me well, don’t you think? 🙂 I spend all of my damn time waiting on good things to happen, instead of making them happen for me. I’ve always approached my career with this (apparently flawed) philosophy: do my job and do it well, keep my head down and mouth generally shut, and people will notice the good things I do and promote me accordingly until world domination is a viable option. However, if this ever was a career path that worked for people, those days are very long gone now. It seems to me that promotion and advancement are more about who you know and how well you brag and self-promote than the actual knowledge and skills that you bring to the table – and, even though I know that it’s just a big game that I need to learn to play, I still struggle. And I don’t get that. Case in point: I have coined a term called SWB (Southern Woman Bragging) to address this particular phenomenon I’ve seen here in the southern United States that I’ve never seen anywhere else in the world before – I have met many women here (and I mean many) who brag on themselves SO much that it’s impossible to get a word in edgewise, nor will you ever as a person measure up to how great they think they are. Day after day, bragging bragging bragging…they never stop talking about the glories of themselves long enough to ask about anyone else, but why would they? They don’t care! They are SWB! It’s vile. Yet, strangely, this very behavior that would get you openly mocked and shunned pretty much anywhere else in the world is rewarded here, and these damn pompous windbagettes are getting jobs that they aren’t even terribly qualified for! Argh! So frustrating! Tony Soprano would not have to deal with this shit – I need to figure it out so that I don’t have to, either. 😦
Another thing I’ve learned from watching Tony is the importance of being aware of the behavioral patterns in your life. Tony kept finding himself in relationships with people who were emotionally abusive and manipulative, just like his evil mother. With the exception of his long-suffering wife Carmela, those around him were often unstable and emotionally manipulative, like his batshit mother. Once the lovely Dr. Melfi pointed out his tendencies to him, he did make a few smarter decisions (a few) – but let’s all remember that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. I don’t know about you, but I’ve done plenty of insane shit in my life – it’s time to do new things and see where they will lead. 🙂
Speaking of Tony’s wife, the marriage between these two is hands down one of the most interesting and real to ever grace our screens. Yes, he was frequently unfaithful, and yes she knew about it but looked the other way – but he never stopped caring for her and providing for their family. He had a lot of bad habits and made a million mistakes throughout the show, but one thing he certainly did well was provide for his family. While I’m not a huge fan of how he did it, I do admire that it happened. 🙂 I strive every day to do my best and make the happiest life possible for the Wee One and I – I don’t always succeed, but dammit do I ever try. If only I had a fraction of Tony’s money… 😉
The theme of Tony as a sad clown is one that comes up over and over throughout the show – and I relate to that as well. Everybody always thinks that I’m happy-go-lucky and always cheerful – and I try to be that way as much as possible, but there are certainly times that I feel sad, too. The thing is that I don’t really allow myself the time to feel sad, because I feel guilty – and that’s ridiculous. I always fuss over others and try to care for them and support their needs…but that is never returned. The interesting question is why is it not returned – because nobody offers or because I won’t let them? I wish I knew the answer to that, but right now, I do not. I’ll get back to you on that one. 🙂 Being a sad clown is such a powerful and tragic image, don’t you think? Yeah…me too.
I know that “The Sopranos” isn’t real, and the fictionalized portrayal of a life so far from my own was meant for entertainment purposes only (which succeeded – this show is highly entertaining)…but the beauty comes in looking at others, regardless of how different they may be from you, and recognizing yourself – and learning from their mistakes. It’s entertaining – and educational, too! 🙂 Isn’t HBO great??! 🙂