A Commentary on the Main Character Trend

In the past year or so, we’ve seen a lot of trends come and go. The Renegade dance. What Generation Z would be like in The Hunger Games. Roasting Lin-Manuel Miranda. 

These are all fun, as memes should be. But one specific trend that I find particularly thought-provoking is the main character trend.

We’ve all seen the TikToks, the ones that ask us: Are you the main character? Or are you the comic relief, or—perhaps even cooler—the villain? Are you living in a coming-of-age film? (Honestly, with the current climate I think a dystopia would be more accurate, but I digress).

I think this specific trend says a lot about our generation. Whether or not you’re considered a “main character” is typically based on how “interesting" your life is. A lot of that goes back to our own, individual coming-of-age experiences—and how most of us were just disappointed. Our teenage years, then our college years, then our twenties...we romanticize all these different stages, the ones that we’re told to be the “best days of our lives.” Too many of us have ended up disappointed, feeling that we missed out on some nostalgic, carefree coming-of-age story such as those in The Perks of Being a Wallflower or Ladybird

couple string lights Allef Vinicius But I don’t want to speak too much about the trend itself. I want to talk more about what it means to romanticize your life, and if it’s something we should do.

I don’t think romanticizing your life is a bad thing. (I’m also a Pisces, so please, take that into account). I think it’s good to get excited about seemingly miniscule things, to go into every experience you have with your heart open and your eyes wide, ready for everything to change, even if it probably won’t. 

But at the same time, looking at our lives as if they are movies can only end in disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, I love artsy, indie, coming-of-age movies as much as the next girl, but I don’t think it’s fair to base our lives off of what we’ve seen in movies. This is real life, not some scripted movie with a definitive beginning, middle, and end. The only person running this show is you, and half the time you’re sticking to your responsibilities and obligations because well, it’s what you have to do. That’s life.

Look, I romanticize life more than anyone. When I went to Paris, I sat outside with a cup of coffee and a macaroon and imagined how my image would look on Pinterest. When I wake up early enough in the morning to see the end of the sunrise, I contemplate the meaning of life. When I see an attractive guy in the street, I run through a string of romcom meet-cute scenarios. 

Chi Omega Throw What You Know Cassie Howard / Her Campus Like I said before, I think it’s okay to get excited about little things. I think sometimes we definitely should look at our lives like movies—happy ones, where we feel good and excited, loved and ready to love ourselves. 

But we have to be careful. Real life is so much harder than any movie we’ve ever seen. We shouldn’t measure the success of our lives based on the standards we see in movies. Our lives can’t be disappointing because the only person you’re answering to in the end is yourself. 

Here’s what I’m saying: go watch the sunset. Dance in a parking lot with your friends. Walk along the beach at midnight. But just remember: your life isn’t a movie. Your life is a life. There aren’t any guidelines or standards you have to go by.

Is it terrifying? Absolutely. But, hey, romanticize just for a second—it’s also exciting as hell.