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You Had Your Moment, Can I Have Mine?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ashoka chapter.

7:00 AM.

The alarm flashes. With an irritated yawn, Dee throws the quilt away and gets up to turn it off.

“Why would you ever think about waking up at 7, Ash?” she demands, only to be responded to by Ash’s inaudible groans.

“Ugh, might as well get ready if I’m up-”

“CHRISTINE! Come on! I’m not waiting around all day for you to finish having phone sex with that dude you met waitressing” Patrick shouted across the room with the TV remote in hand.

A head popped up from the hallway.

“Shut up, Patrick! I’m here!” Christine sighed something into the phone as she walked up to Patrick and sat down on the couch.

“And how many times do I have to tell you my name is LadyBird?” she fumed.

17 and filled with teen angst, Christine ‘Ladybird’ McPherson is the physical embodiment of Main Character syndrome. With an outer veil of self-centered bravado, she is struggling with discovering her own identity. In contrast, Patrick Gallagher wears his sexuality like a badge of honor. One of the wallflowers, something he never fails to bring up in conversation, he has a charismatic aura around him that he maintains through his humor. Having lived together for almost a year, they have pretty much developed their own comforting dynamic.

“With a name like yours, I’m not surprised you had to change it.” Patrick quipped, laughing.

“I hate you” LadyBird threw a cushion at him “what are we watching?”

“It’s some film about these kids trying to navigate college life; it came on my suggestions” he muttered.

“Ugh! Boring.” She complained.

“Need I remind you that both of us are from coming of age films as well” Patrick grinned, “except, of course, ‘Wallflower’ came out first.”

“You were merely a supporting character in yours, while I played the lead in mine” LadyBird scoffed. 

Patrick shook his head in dismay and agitatedly pressed play. The screen lit up once again.

Dee heads out, putting on her earphones. She is changed out of her clothes and ready for the day. Rock music blasting in the background, she walks across buildings. It’s a windy day and her yellow patterned skirt billows angrily.

The campus is fairly empty, and she’s the only one walking, fingers snapping to the beats. Someone waves at her every now and then. She gives them a slight nod.

“Oh my god, just look at her! She’s so me! Definitely the main character,” LadyBird interrupted, as Patrick eyed the remote in her hand.

“Jeez! You are so self-absorbed. Would it kill you guys to step outside your own world and acknowledge that there are  other, more interesting characters as well?” Patrick snarled.

“No, because how else are we gonna get our characters developed? This story is about us, Patrick.”

“I see no signs of development here” Patrick scoffed, hitting the play button.

Dee sits at breakfast alone, listening to her music, until she looks up to see Ash walk in. She waves, beckoning her to sit, but Ash only waves back and sits with another, larger group. She goes back to her music with a slight frown. 

The camera switches to Ash at the table with her friends.

“Guys, that’s Dee, my roommate sitting over there. Do you mind if I call her here? I hate to see her sitting alone at breakfast.” Ash pleads. After a few silent nods, she waves at Dee, calling her to join. Dee looks back, confused, and then slowly gets up to walk up to them.

“I like Ash. She reminds me of me” Patrick piped in.

“Ugh! What is it with you supporting characters and ‘fixing’ us?” LadyBird said, rolling her eyes to look at Patrick’s smug face. 

“Have you ever thought maybe we never needed your ‘support’ for development? You look at us like we’re your playthings when all you do is bring conflicts,” LadyBird crossed her hands, dismissing Patrick’s pride.

“Calm down, Lady Boss. You’d never be the main character if it wasn’t for your best friend, and I recall you causing your own share of conflicts” Patrick replied, offended

“I hate that you guys get to be the centre of attention and you’re still complaining, all we have is five minutes of screentime and that too to help you develop.”

The two shared a moment of tense silence.

“Let’s just watch,” they concluded, in sync. 

Dee walks to class; she gets a notification from her mum.

‘Happy Birthday sweetie!’ the text message reads.

She smiles to herself and writes back, ‘Thanks mom. I’ll call back after class.’

“Oh god, it’s her birthday?! Now I feel bad,” Patrick cried. 

“Took you long enough. I think this story just might be about Dee finding better friends and getting comfortable with her own personality.” LadyBird responded, sharply.
“I don’t see anything wrong with her friends. What if she’s just choosing not to make new ones? I feel like that’s on her. College can be pretty overwhelming as it is.”

“That’s because she’s not an attention seeker like you. Someone once told me paying attention was the same as love. She’s not looking for love Patrick, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve it.” 

“We accept the love we think we deserve. Charlie told me that. She reminds me of him. He taught me a lot more than I wish I could have taught him.” Patrick added, his eyes glistening with nostalgia.

“It’s not always the main character that’s the center of attention, huh?” LadyBird said, patting him on the shoulder.

“I guess not,” he agreed, as they both got back to the film.

Dee walks across a bustling hallway phone in hand, a wide smile on her face.

“Hi mom.

Thank you! Yeah it’s going great, just got done with my classes.

My friends? Oh yeah! I’m meeting them right now. We’re probably going to go out somewhere. Let’s see.

Ash? Uh yeah sure she’s coming too.

We will, thank you.

Love you, bye”

Sighing, Dee keeps her phone down and gets in the lift. 

The lift opens at the fourth floor as she gets out, dragging her feet. She walks to a door and struggles with her  keys. She opens the door to a room filled with people.

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” they all shout in cohesion.

Ash walks up to her “I don’t know if you wanted a party or not, I know you’re not big on people and socializing, but they all wanted to come to wish you. Remember Mikaela from orientation week? She baked the cake.”

“Ash I- Thank you. This really genuinely means a-

“Pat…she’s not the main character…” LadyBird said, sitting up straight.

“I don’t think this show is about Ash, Christine.” Patrick sighed.

“No! That’s not what I mean. Ash isn’t the main character either. Nor was I, just like you weren’t a ‘supporting character’”

“What do you mean?”

“Look, we’ve all had moments in our stories where we’re main characters, but we’ve also had moments where we’ve stepped out and let others have their own moments. The point is, there are no ‘main’ or ‘supporting’ characters. Just because my film focused on me doesn’t mean I was the only one who underwent development. I mean, you said it yourself! We’re all just characters in each other’s lives, and as long as we realize that, I think we’re okay. Superiority is the real woe. We’ve all had moments when we’re badasses like Dee, but we’ve had vulnerable moments like her as well. We’ve had moments where we’ve stepped back and given others the spotlight and the attention, We’ve had moments where others have given us that love we deserve. It doesn’t matter if it’s been captured or not, but these moments—they’ll always be with us, whether or not we have others to share them with.”

“No one gets to decide who plays lead because there is none, and yet everyone plays it. We all get moments where we’re infinite, and that’s enough.” Patrick smiled. 

“Well, well, now I don’t feel half as bad for the sorry excuse of a screen time I got.” 

“I need to call my mom” Christine and Dee conclude together.

A slow jazz tune plays as the credits roll…

Karunya is a published author in his first year at Ashoka University, and is planning to pursue Economics as his major. He is part of the content team for the Ashoka chapter of Her Campus. He secretly (now publicly, I suppose) enjoys being called an indie kid and is a massive film buff. He could talk about movies and music for hours on end, and is always armed with fun facts about the most random things.