I watched Elizabethtown yesterday. It’s not a perfect movie. In hind sight I would even say it’s deeply flawed. But during it, I loved it like I love all movies that take me away from my present life. Sometimes I wonder if crying in movies is like cutting. You know, how when people cut themselves so they can feel their pain? I’ve never really understood cutting but this is the closest thing I can think of. Or maybe I just want to draw a parallel because I can’t understand either. I don’t in anyway want to say that I suffer what cutters suffer. I don’t. I don’t think my wimpy sorry-ass excuses for feeling sorry for myself even scratch the surface of what cutters go through.
Let me explain how my version of “healthy cutting” works: Something sad happens in a movie, like Claire (Kirsten Dunst) lies about having a boyfriend because she knows her love interest in the movie (Orlando Bloom) isn’t ready to have a relationship with her because his father died, bla bla bla…. Her act of selflessness and self control stuck me like a knife between the ribs. I closed my eyes and let myself cry. I stopped watching the movie. I was present in the theater seat, I felt the darkness around me, I saw my fat legs in front of me, I noticed the other couples sitting next to me. (All this with my eyes closed! Ha! I’m so clever and descriptive! I shouldn’t joke. I’m actually trying to explain something really sad.)
It was me crying, not Claire. I wondered why am I feeling this strong emotion now? Why do I feel like I need to feel this? I’m not Claire. I haven’t exercised any great act of selflessness or self control. In fact, I’m so far from that. I’m usually the one sputtering and yelling any hurtful thing that comes to the top of my head in such a situation. Why do I identify so deeply with her sense of loss? Why is it that when I’m finally crying with this character, that I feel more in touch with myself than the pent up confused person that walked into the theater in the first place? How long will this clarity last? Minutes? It’s already fallen through my fingers like sand. Look how I am struggling to make this paragraph make sense.
I wasn’t five steps outside of the theatre before I was telling myself, you always feel this way. There is always a giant rift between reality and the movie. You can never climb inside the movie. You can never be like the heroine with such a clear path between right and wrong. Life is complicated and you have so many many many failures.
I don’t even want to post this post. Because I want you to keep on believing that I’m always upbeat, that I always can think of something fun to do. That I’m all about arts and crafts and being creative. I don’t want my family to read this and think, “We told you so, turn your back on the Lord and there will be a big dark empty spot in your heart.”* I don’t want my friends to think, “Look at her! She’s just bored out of her gourd! Get a job! Do some volunteer work or something!” I don’t want my husband to think, “You’ve got everything handed to you on a silver platter, why can’t you just enjoy it and be happy?” And most importantly I don’t want myself to think, “You’ve just blown your mysterious cover. Now everybody knows how rotten and mealy you are on the inside.”
I’m embarrassed that I don’t have a job right now. I don’t want a job either. I’ve got a list as long as my arm of things I should be doing (like finish that paris postcard, think of creative home-made christmas gifts–which in itself is enough to be a full time job until Christmas…) BUT I’m not doing those things on my list? WHY?!!! Why do I choose to mope around instead? Why do I turn away work that could earn me extra cash just because I don’t feel like being creative? Why am I always pining away about things like setting up the baby’s room? Am I just in a holding pattern until this baby gets here?
I’m beginning to think that sugar causes me to go in downward mental spirals. I’ve unofficially tracked my bad days and they usually follow days that I’ve binged on halloween candy, gobbled up cake frosting or sucked down a piece of apple pie. Why must something that makes me feel so happy for about two minutes, make me feel so crappy for a day afterwards? Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not going to jump on any sugar-busters bandwagon yet. I’m not completely convinced of this theory. I’m sure I need to test it over and over. At least until my sweet tooth goes away.
Back to my topic.
I apologize. I know I’m really getting out there. I know all this writing needs so much editing to make any sense. But maybe that’s okay. I don’t mind that my twisted messy mind is exposed. I’m tired of keeping it a secret. I feel like a fraud always blogging about apple pie and home made invitations and all the things that you probably come here for. I’m really not just about arts and crafts. I’m not really clever or eternally enthusiastic. In fact, I’m quite stupid. (I took an IQ test the other day and scored so low I was embarrassed.) I’m someone who is jealous of everyone around me. I’m easily bored and sometimes I go to movies, searching for some way to feel pain. Feeling sad is a luxury and sometimes I let myself slide down.
*Just to clarify it for my relatives who read this and think I’ve turned into a heathen. (There are so many of you now, it scares me.) If I can say this without sounding proud or cocky, I have not turned my back on the Lord. I still pray and I still find comfort in being a Christian. I even still read my bible. Really I do! For the record, back in the day when I was “walking as closely as I could in the light” (and I was hopelessly confused because I believed every single thing I was ever told), I felt a bigger black hole in my heart back then. I know you are sad for me. I know you are praying for me. Thank you for loving me. I hope you know that I still love you back even though I will never come back. If you could see what it’s like on the other side you would never go back either. Even in my miserable sad state of going to movies to cry, it is still better than where I was. And that has nothing to do with you.
(Phew, that was a bomb I just dropped. Maybe I am answering my questions in my own disclaimers… What’s it been, fifteen years? Maybe I’m just not over leaving my family and my religion. I wonder if I’ll ever get over it.)