Monday, 27 November 2017's MY way out of the "Hunger Games"

Hi Diary

Today I need to speak to all the moms out there who are in danger of burnout. Because burnout can throw you into a game you don't want to be in. A game few survive if they play. It's called the Hunger Games and it's not just a scary movie, for some of us it's a reality!

I have been in the games and the Mockingjay has become my emblem of hope in a struggle that I was lucky or perhaps I should rather say blessed enough to survive. Cancer. A Mockingjay, as seen in this picture, is a fictional bird and the emblem of the sci-fi trilogy called the "Hunger Games". If you are a teen mom, like me, you might have seen any of the movies "Hunger Games", "Catching Fire" or Mockingjay". Great movies! Some of my thoughts about them, which I am about to share, might seem a bit of a stretch to you at first, but stay with me till the end of this post and then feel free to let me know what you think! Those who follow my blog, might know that I like being inspired by movies and I often take life lessons from them. These three movies were particularly meaningful to me. They taught me survival skills during the toughest years of my life!
All four movies of the "Hunger Games" trilogy ("Mockingjay" was split into Part 1 and Part 2) are based on science fiction novels written by American author Suzanne Collins. "Mockingjay", the last novel of three, continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, the heroine, who agrees to lead the rebels of Panem in their rebellion against the seemingly tyrannical president of the Capitol, their wealthiest city. Reluctantly, she becomes their Mockingjay, a symbol of resistance, resiliency and hope.

At first, I was somewhat opposed to these movies, as I was not sure if they might not be a bit too violent for my teens. But then I discovered that although the first movie is rather violent, the second is already much more moderate and I also found that I have a lot in common with Katniss Everdeen, the female main character in the story. There’s a distinct commonality between her childhood deprivation and mine, especially her lack of a father and good role model. 

Katniss is selected, by lottery, to compete in a televised battle for survival inside a sophisticated and controlled arena. She succeeds and survives, but only somewhat victoriously. Bruised and battered from the battle, she hides in an outlying district, where she takes time to think things over and gradually becomes part of the rebellion against the dictatorial government and the organizers of these ghastly games. In a twist, almost at the end of the story, she finally realizes who here real enemy is and by the end of the novel - spoiler alert! - she breaks free from all the evil games people were playing with her and lives "happily ever after" with her husband and two children. Happily ever after is in inverted commas as she still has a lot of grim memories to deal with and many bad thought patterns to overcome.

I know what she is going through. I really do. Almost eight years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. I went into a similarly sophisticated and controlled "arena of chemotherapy" and engaged in a battle that not everyone survives. Back then, it also felt as if I had been selected by some kind of "lottery" as none in my family had every been entered into this kind of "game" or battle and, under the scrutiny of the whole community around me, my own battle certainly felt a little "televised". But I survived, like Katniss and just like her, I was given some kind of a "victory tour". It's a long story and it does have a happy end. However, I went on my victory tour with the same reluctance as she did. Like her, I was and am still not able to enjoy my victory, in light of all the devastation I have seen being done to others in that arena or in my case, the chemotherapy ward. When I was finally released from my arena, I also decided to lay low and to think about things. I too needed to know who my real enemy was. My reading chair at home was my favorite place to sit and think and from that vantage point, having survived the massive onslaught on my life, I can tell you one thing already - excessive "busyness" is a real enemy for sure! Years ago, when I was a mom with little children, I got really busy and I didn't realize that every time I thought I didn't have enough time for a little quiet time, not even a quick moment of rest, I was taking one step further in the direction of burnout and I had to learn the hard way that burnout can enter us into a game we don't want to play.

In District 13, the outlying district in the novel "Mockingjay", however, life is very simple. Stress is kept to a minimum wherever possible. Two meals a day, two sets of clothing, one bed to sleep on, everything is structured and spartanic. I almost envy them for the simplicity of their life. There, Katniss often separates herself from the others. She hides behind a warm pipe in the laundry room, inside a supply cupboard or, if she can, out in the woods. She clearly needs a place to be alone as often as she can.

And that's another thing I can relate to! I try to keep things more simple now and in the last three years I have often found myself hiding in a bathroom if necessary, just to steal a little moment alone with God. I believe without her quiet moments Katniss couldn't have made it through her battles and I know I wouldn't have made it through mine! The way out of my personal Hunger Games was to start having quiet times!

I am back in District 12 now and well into my healing story, fully aware that as I exited the "games" others have entered, but I also know that with the right mentor, you can survive! You can reduce stress and you can avoid burnout and it's never too late! But you might need to make some hard choices in order to do so and you might want to get a good mentor right from the start. I found that Jesus was and is the best mentor by far! Whatever your struggle, whatever your game, I know that if you ask him to, he will show you a way out and he'll give you a new hope and a new future!

I have survived and like Katniss Everdeen, I still have a lot of grim memories and bad thought patterns to overcome in the future, but I know that my "happily ever after" is just around the corner now! Like Katniss, I am a mom of two children and my life must go on and like her, I play a new game now. 

At the end of the last movie Katniss says that every time she feels distressed, she plays a new, comforting and repetitive game: reminding herself of every good thing that she has ever seen someone do and she adds that "there are much worse games to play."

I agree! We seem to be living in an excessively busy world now and there are much worse games to play than having a little moment of thankful thinking, especially in the pre-Christmas season! This is the time of the year where our lives can become very stressful and "loud" and it seems to be getting worse each year. So many preparations, so many worries and often it's just trivial things we are getting stressed out about. So, right now, it might become even more important for every busy mom, to allow herself a tiny little break! A little moment of thankful thinking. These little moments of quietness, just a cup of tea and a cookie perhaps, can relieve stress in a most pleasant way and prevent a burnout. That's my Christmas wish for You. Prevent burnout. Have fun and play. Yes, let's play...but let's play a game of gratitude and joy!

I wish you a very PEACEFUL and  MERRY  CHRISTMAS  SEASON !!

(Please leave me a comment below if you can relate to what I have shared here. I would love to hear from you.)
(All photos are my own.)


  1. Great reminder for me today. Thanks so much for sharing, Sue!!

  2. Thanks for sharing, Sue. (Love from another cancer survivor - I've just passed my 20th Canniversary! Thank You Jesus!

    1. Awesome Shirley! You are such an inspiration! Have a blessed day! :)

  3. I loved reading this Sue. So well written and inspirational.

    1. Thank you Sarah! I really appreciate your comment and apologize for my delay in replying! The article is timeless, I suppose ;) and I am glad that you enjoyed reading it! Be blessed!


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