Effie, Sing My Song.
Dreamgirls is one of my favorite plays/movies. But for the purposes of this article, I will be talking about the movie where Jennifer Hudson played Effie. (Yes, the one with Beyonce.)
Anyway, there is a part in the movie towards the end (and if you haven't seen it yet, I am really not going to apologize for the spoilers) Effie's brother C.C. comes to her begging her to sing the song he wrote. Because it was only made for her voice. He apologizes for his past mistakes and she apologizes for hers.
But the part of this scene/song that sticks out to me most is they both sing "Its taken all these years to be free and getting a hold of the anger in me."
I sang every song of this movie growing up at every chance I got; however, it was not until just today that I really paid attention to this part of the movie. I was listening to the soundtrack after I left therapy and i realized something. This whole time I wanted to be Beyonce's character--i mean who didn't want to be her part--but I really was Effie.
Effie was low-key the most talented person in the group but her attitude kinda ruined that. Oh, and the fact that Curtis (Jamie Foxx character) knocked her up and while he was sleeping with Beyonce's character. But Effie disappeared into the night and went to get her life together.
She felt unappreciated. Unwelcomed. She was heartbroken. She felt used. And she was used. It was because she wasn't the prettiest (in the industry's eyes) and she was a little bit curvier. And even after they all came together and sang "We are a family liiiikkkeeee giant tree," (please picture me singing with my arms out like a tree) they still replaced her.
Maybe I have psychoanalyzed this movie too much, but truly I am Effie or at least feel like her.
I have sang a many of "you're gonna love me's" to not just old lovers and friends, but even family. I have been the one who fucked shit up because of my attitude. And just like the cast of Dreamgirls, people just let me go and never thought to think: hmm what caused this? was it me? That would make a lot more sense.
See the movie does not show what Effie was doing for all those years. (I will save you what the play showed and how it ended, but look it up). But I like to think Effie was suffering. Yes, she was raising her daughter; however, the suffering she was facing was not due to the fact that she was a single parent. I think that her suffering was that she had internalized all that rejection by those she loved most--including her family. Her only brother.
She probably was wondering: what did I do for them to reject me like that? I thought they loved me. CURTIS WAS SUPPOSE TO LOVE ME. That internalization weighed on her--literally and figuratively. But that internalization and guilt turned into anger. And then that anger turned into forgiveness. And everyone likes to think forgiviness means that you're forgiving the other person, but sometimes forgiving yourself.
I say I am Effie because I can understand that feeling. And I am waiting for my metaphorical brother C.C. to come to me with a song he wrote just for me and is sorry for everything that transpired between us years ago.
That feeling of being needed is very important. Especially when it comes to relationships of any kind. Internalizing everyone else's issues with me has created this extreme anxiety to where my brain does not turn off. I run through every kind of scenario. And somewhere along the way, I have changed who I am. I have adjusted my ways because I was able to recognize my own faults. And I have had that Effie moment when she is singing I Am Changing.
And even though Effie knew she had changed, everyone was still treating her like the old Effie. Thats the reality though, you can personally change and everyone cannot see it. Let me rephrase that, they refuse to see it. The refusal is so deep that they try to force you back to acting like your old self.
I guess I am struggling with this. this type of stuff takes up quite a few of my therapy sessions. I got to work with it. And today my therapist asked me: do you want to get to a place where you can be okay with these things not being okay?
I had to think. I really am waiting for that moment someone in my family or my past comes to me because they need me now. They need my talents and gifts. Or they need my advice. I need C.C. to come to me and beg me to sing his song! (again, metaphorical guys)
But my therapist asked me: what if that does not happen? What if your older sisters never need your opinion or advice? What if you continuously feel out of sync with your family no matter how hard you try? What if you never hear an apology from that person that really hurt you years ago? In other words she was asking: what if you never get that Effie & C.C. moment? That moment when Beyonce realizes that she stole your whole song (and life) and apologizes? What if you never hear: Effie, Sing my song?!
To be honest, thats a very good question that I do not have an answer for. I mean thats what therapy is kinda for, helping you figure that type of shit out. I honestly am in between fuck it and maybe i should keep trying.