I have previously written that I lack empathy. I blame this on my childhood. I repressed my feelings as a defense mechanism to protect me from the pain of my parents’ divorce. Recently, I’ve had cause to reevaluate this characterization of me.
It isn’t that I lack empathy. It’s that my empathy causes me so much pain that I will do virtually anything to push it down. In my 40 years on this earth, “anything” has included food (especially sugar), sex, alcohol, self-mutilation, exercise, starving, binging and purging. Those are uncomfortable things to confess. Now that I’m a mom, I take more honest looks at myself. I do not want my daughters, who will someday (pleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease) be women, to suffer as I have, to believe they are not enough and that their feelings will kill them.
I regularly have to remind myself that my feelings won’t kill me either. They are intense and terrifying and painful, but they do pass.
It’s gotten to the point where I can’t bring myself to watch most movies. I love movies, and I look forward to the Oscars every year. I want it to be like the old days when I’d seen all of the films and had strong feelings about the outcomes. Despite access to those Oscar screeners that people pass around this time of year (allegedly. No lawbreakers here, officer. Move along) I haven’t seen the nominees. “Life of Pi” looks compelling, but someone told me there is animal suffering in it. No thanks. I’m a Daniel Day-Lewis fan, but (spoiler alert) I know what’s in store for the President in “Lincoln.” A movie with the word “Beast” in the title is probably not a good bet for a depressive still teetering on the edge of postpartum depression. As much as an American film called “The Miserables” is destined to bring me down, a French film titled “Amour”? Likely to be the most depressing fucking thing ever.
That leaves me with “Argo,” and I’m not going to lie. I have a Ben Affleck thing. I never saw “Daredevil,” so I’m still capable of taking him seriously. I enjoyed “The Town,” although I found myself uncomfortably fixated on the child of the whorey Blake Lively character, imagining what kind of sad life was in store for him (her? I’ve blocked it out). It wasn’t as bad as “Gone, Baby, Gone”. After that film, I had to actively force myself to do a therapeutic technique where I aggresively replaced my intrusive thoughts with different thoughts. Not with wine.
I’m going to bite the bullet and watch “Lincoln.” Pun intended. I know it works out well for the slaves, at least. I don’t need to even bring Quentin Tarantino into this conversation, do I? When I was in college I went to see that movie every living human being was saying was the best movie they had ever seen ever and that filmmaking had been elevated to nosebleed heights as never before. My innocence died that day in the Sunday Matinee of “Pulp Fiction.” I don’t think that “ass rape” and “masterpiece” ever get to be in the same review.
“Argo” makes the cut as well. I’m going to make my husband watch with me, so if Ben Affleck is good, Odie will stop constantly singing that song from “Team America: Word Police” whenever he’s feeling romantic.
“I need you like Ben Affleck needs acting school…” Maybe the Academy had that infernal tune stuck in their heads while filling out the ballots.