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Five Things to Remember During Rom-Com Season

     It's that time of year again - Hallmark is running 24/7, Love Actually is on repeat, and we're burrowing under our blankets for a festive rom-com marathon. I love a good love story, but the Christmas season can bring some anxiety about our own expectations for happily ever after. Before you press play this year, here are five reminders to help you add some movie magic to your own life. 

     Your success is not a character flaw. You know the drill - most rom-coms start with a powerful businesswoman running her own firm, and by the end, she gives it all up in the name of love. While it can be good to make compromises with your significant other, make sure you're not sacrificing your hopes and dreams to make theirs happen. Don't downplay your own abilities, either! Your success isn't "just a little side hobby." You've worked hard to become the woman you are today, and a truly loving partner won't ask you to throw everything away for their needs. Never limit your own goals for someone else's happiness!

     Other women are not your competition. Too many rom-coms rely on petty jealousy and cat-fights to keep the plot going, but that doesn't have to be true for you. Instead of feeling threatened by successful women around you, learn from their stories, and get inspired to write your own. When we work together with our fellow females, instead of sabotaging their success, we can make space for countless other women to join in. We can learn so much from the powerful ladies all around us, so don't cast them in the role of the enemy. 

     You're beautiful without the magic makeover. From the Plastics to The Princess Diaries, it's pretty easy to get invested in a good makeover scene. But sometimes those montages can negatively affect the way we see the girl in the mirror. Beauty doesn't mean a pair of contacts and a swipe of red lipstick. It means celebrating ourselves inside and out, working to honor our bodies and minds every day. Pretty isn't tall and thin with Pantene-commercial curls. It's every size, shape, and skin tone - no makeover required!

     You are the main character of your own life. My favorite Christmas rom-com quote actually isn't lovey-dovey -- it's one old man's advice from the movie The Holiday. While guiding a main character through a nasty heartbreak, he says, "In the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason, you're behaving like the best friend." You're not a side character or an extra -- this is your life, and it's up to you to write your screenplay. Being the protagonist looks like advocating for your boundaries, making choices for your own happiness, and taking risks even when you might fail. Your big-screen debut is happening right now, so own it!

     While you cozy up with a Hallmark marathon this Christmas, remember that the real star is you! It's not easy being your own director, writer, and producer, but you've got the power to make your movie a masterpiece. Lights, camera, action!

Aubrey Gilliam is a sophomore University Scholar at Baylor University with concentrations in Political Science, International Relations, Middle East Studies, and Religion. She's a Texas girl through and through and says "y'all" unironically and without shame. When she's not buried in reading assignments, you'll find her drinking boba, petting dogs, or doing a sic 'em at the top of her lungs.
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