Amy Schumer is probably an Enneagram Seven: the Enthusiast – quick-minded, improvising, outgoing, entertaining, idealistic, taboo-breaking, egalitarian, pleasure-seeking.
She generates a tremendous output of material. Her Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer features her stand-up act, sketches, interviews with people on the street, and longer interviews with people of interest (a phone sex operator, a medium, a little kid). She talks to everyone as an equal, and always comes up with brilliantly funny things to say. She tackles meaningful subjects, and can be hilariously silly the next moment.
She’s said: “My comedy is unapologetic and fearless. Like, sometimes you’ll wind up having condomless sex with someone that you probably shouldn’t. I’m interested in sharing that part of myself unapologetically so that other people will hopefully feel better.”
She wrote and starred in the movie Trainwreck, which she described to NPR’s Terry Gross as being autobiographical about herself in college. It begins with her character waking up in a strange bed after a one night stand.
Sevens are sensation-seekers. Where’s the next thrill?
The movie tells the story of her character’s relationship with Aaron – a high profile sports doctor, played by Bill Hader. She’s assigned to write about him for a magazine. She meets him, follows him around for a day, and then takes him to bed. She’s surprised when he calls her the next day, wanting to continue the relationship.
In one scene she walks with her sister, breathing quickly for no apparent reason. She denies it when her sister points it out, and then notices it herself. She’s taken aback by the fact that she likes Aaron so much. She’s habituated to keeping commitment – and love – at a distance, so the sensation of actually having strong feelings is foreign to her.
Things take a turn when her father dies. She gives a speech at his funeral that makes everyone laugh, showing a gift of the Seven – the ability to bring people together with humour, even in difficult situations.
But she isn’t used to dealing with pain. Her feelings get displaced, and she immediately gets into an argument with her sister, and soon argues with Aaron.
Later, Aaron accepts an award, and as he gives his acceptance speech, Amy receives a call from her angry boss. She leaves to answer it, and then sneaks off to smoke a joint, missing the speech completely.
Sevens might look for an escape hatch when faced with emotions and situations they don’t want. More sensations! No sadness! No conflict! No fear!
Aaron later brings up his hurt feelings, and his misgivings about her promiscuity in general. She exits via the escape hatch, immediately ending the relationship. She goes out, gets drunk and goes home with a guy.
How often are any of us confronted with a difficult emotion, and choose to escape it rather than sit with it?
How often do we sabotage our relationships out of fear of being vulnerable, of being seen at our worst?
Do we have the courage to sit with the pain inside, with our insecurities?
Can we take a look at the thousand things we’re doing to fill our lives, and ask ourselves, is this really what I want to be doing with my time? Am I distracting myself? Is there something better that I know deep down it’s in my heart to do? And do I dare admit that to myself, and then take the first steps to doing something about it?
Trainwreck gives Amy a happy and hopeful ending. She steps out of her habits and patterns, and initiates what could very well be a new future for herself.
Of course, it’s much easier to find the way out in fiction than in real life. Our habits and fears are set in deep grooves. Change is always possible, though difficult to initiate, and even harder to sustain. But it’s better to take tentative steps in a direction that scares us than to wind up a smashed-up train.