Such goes my favorite line from one of my new favorite movies, “The Sapphires” (2012).
The film is based on the true story of an all-girl singing troupe who entertained the troops during the Vietnam war.
As aborigines living in their native Australia, the girls were marginalized – even hated. They were not even classified as people by their own government, but instead were considered part of the “flora and fauna.”
A chance meeting with a white talent scout puts them on the road to stardom, but even before this occurs, it is so clear they already have what many stars-in-the-making (and people, for that matter) will never have – a solid foundation of self-esteem to live from.
In fact, when the film opens, one of the future girl singers has just been left at the altar. Even while crying it out in the presence of her mom and sisters, she looks at her face in a hand mirror and bravely says to her mother, “Who wouldn’t love this?” (technically, she names her former fiancé here, but one can substitute any name with the same effect).
And throughout the film, in similar fashion, the girls pull no punches with one another, their scout-turned-manager, or themselves.
They may be young….they may be inexperienced in the ways of the world….but they are not letting any of that get under their skin.
I have already watched this film three times, and I think of it often in my shakier moments as a source of courage and inspiration.
Sometimes, when I’m feeling down or depressed for some reason, I say to myself, “Who wouldn’t love this?”
Who wouldn’t, indeed?
Who wouldn’t who is worth knowing, anyway?
Thinking this way – that I know myself better than anyone else will ever know me – that I am better equipped to assess my own worth (and enforce it) than anyone else will ever be – that those I let into my circle will love me during ups and downs, shining and not-so-shining moments – and that I can and will rally and rise beyond even life’s deepest moments of loss, rejection, or heartache – that is what watching the story of “The Sapphires” teaches me.
Perhaps most tellingly, when the war ended, the sisters turned their backs on the potential of singing fame and returned home to their aboriginal roots, working together at the Aboriginal Medical Service.
In an interview with three members of the original Sapphires, the interviewer asks them what they are proudest of when they look back over their legacy.
Their answers are nothing short of phenomenal:
Laurel: That someone took a chance on us. That someone took the time to tell our stories. That my son, Tony, has received so many awards for telling our stories. We’re so proud of him. The next story Tony wants to write is about our grandfather on our mother’s side. I’ve started writing my life story. But I’ve only done one page [they all laugh].
Beverly: I’m just proud our kids are so proud of us. We did something. We didn’t just sit around and moan about life [laughs].
Naomi: That people are so thrilled and proud of us.
To read the full interview: “The Sapphires: Where are They Now?“
Today’s Takeaway: How do you respond when someone puts you down, rejects you, looks at you and makes a judgment from the outside looking in? In these moments, how might it help to look at yourself very kindly and honestly in a mirror and say to yourself, “Who wouldn’t love this?”