Lessons Learned From This Is Us
I realized recently, that I’m a Kevin. For non “This is Us” fans, I’m referring to Kevin Pearson, also known as #1 (birth order reference) of the Big 3. Kevin is a more complicated character than you initially think when you see him. On the surface, he’s an attractive, fit, blonde guy whose character is a successful actor. Some look at Kevin and think he’s an entitled brat who hasn’t grown up. After all, he’s go looks, fame, and money- what could there be to complain about?
Everyone sees their childhood through different lenses and perspectives.
The show works brilliantly to tie pieces together and give you different perspectives on it. It may be the same episode, the following, or even six episodes later.
In season 2, episode 11 of This is Us, Kevin is in rehab and the family has a therapy session. In this session, Kevin is upset and wants his mom to admit that she loved his brother Randall more. Randall was the adopted kid who always seemed to get attention to make sure he felt secure and loved. Kate was the insecure kid who always needed attention to confirm her worth. Kevin was “the brave one” as Rebecca put it. He was the one that could handle himself. Rebecca recalls when the Big 3 started kindergarten and how Randall and Kate were crying and nervous but Kevin walked right in and sat down never looking back.
Kevin felt less loved because when he demanded attention it came off more as whining/complaining rather than a call for help. Through Kevin’s lenses he was left out. Through Kevin’s lenses, he was less because nobody would pay attention when he asked. In the episode, there was a flashback where they went to a cabin and Kevin had gotten into trouble for allegedly hiding his brother’s glasses. That night during a storm Kevin wakes up and happens to find Randall’s glasses under the bed where he (Randall) had lost them. He goes into Jack and Rebecca’s room to find that Randall and Kate were already bunking with them leaving no more room. He does what most kids would do, he curls up on the floor. It’s such a sad scene where even though Kevin comes off a jerk you feel bad for him. The part they flash back to later though shows Rebecca waking up and seeing Kevin on the floor so she gets her pillow and lays down with him.
Kevin didn’t remember that, but it happened. Kevin didn’t remember his dad telling him that after Kevin was born he understood that (being Kevin’s dad) was his purpose. Kevin’s focus was, when he wanted the attention to be on him- he couldn’t seem to get it. He wasn’t focusing on all the times the attention was on him.
I realized recently that I’m a Kevin. (Well, minus the rich, famous, and really attractive part.) The core of Kevin’s personality though- the independent, strong, pull yourself up by your bootstraps thinking, that doesn’t need anyone but inwardly insecure and unsure that often comes out sounding like complaining or judging.
It’s not that Kevin is unhappy for his siblings or that he would want them to have any less. He is the kind of person that would be more than willing to give them whatever he could to help. When it comes through to him needing someone to lean on and not having anyone there because he can ‘take care of himself’ it comes out as resentful.
Sometimes my focus is on what I wanted that wasn’t happening the way I wanted it to, and I miss what actually did happen. Those unexpected good things that actually got me through that tough time but I dismissed due to my focus being elsewhere. I wish there was video that I could go back and review from another perspective to see what did actually happen.
Being able to handle things on your own is a great thing, until you feel all alone because nobody thought you needed anything and you could handle it. It is important to step back and realize that everyone is human and even though they make their load look easy to carry it does not mean that it is not heavy.
Be kind. Remember that the lense you see life through may have a different filter than someone else’s. This doesn’t make it bad or wrong, it gives a full perspective on things which is why we need each other and the connections we create.