A few years ago, I went to go see the Liam Neeson movie “The Grey” with my brother and mother. My anti-depressants weren’t entirely regulated yet and I remember it being an incredibly emotional experience. When I returned from the movie that night, I wrote in my journal about it to capture the experience. Somehow, I tracked down that journal entry. The following is 16 year old me reflecting on a piece of cinema that affected me dramatically.
The Grey came out today. Mom and Joel and I went to go see it. I was excited! I love movies, I love my mom and my brother and I love doing things with them. I love sitting in comfortable chairs with a tub of popcorn clasped firmly between my thighs with my head tilted back, staring in awe at the gorgeous silver screen that inspires me so. Tonight, The Grey was a different movie going experience than I usually have. I couldn’t stand the movie because literally every single person (except MAYBE Liam Neeson, they didn’t really say) died in that movie. Even worse, pretty much every single one of them died from their worst fear. How shitty is that? I know a lot of people who loved it because it was “realistic” or a “great study of naturalism,” but I don’t really give a shit. It wasn’t just depressing, it made me cry. It gave me this deep ache of sadness that the (mostly) kind characters in the movie died because of these stupid fucking conditions. The guy I liked the most, of course, died in the worst way – getting caught in a strong current and trapping his foot under a fucking log, drowning inches from the surface. Fuck that. I don’t know what the movie was trying to say, but from my perspective it sure as hell looked like it was trying to tell us nothing we fucking do matters, we’ll all die isolated and terrified. This seems like an inherently wrong idea to me because I don’t think that’s the case. Of course what we do matters. During the movie, though, I had trouble separating my beliefs from the director’s. That happens a lot because I’m still developing my way of thinking and worldview and stuff so I’m bound to get influenced heavily by any media I consume, albeit most of it not for long. Anyway, I hated that movie because it made me grieve for the guys in it. I feel like depression or sadness isn’t a strong enough word – it was like this empty hole of grief. It was how I imagine I’ll feel when my mom dies. God willing, that won’t be for like 20 years. All I want is time with my mom. I love my mom so much I can’t even begin to explain it. She’s always been there for me and always will be. She’s forgiven me for everything and, even though maybe it didn’t seem this way, she has not once given up on me. I really appreciate that and it’s made my life a lot better. She’s the reason I’m in the better place that I’m in today and I’m eternally grateful. I seriously would not ever want to trade my mom for absolutely anything. She is more valuable to me than my own life. I love my mom.
As obvious as it is, it bears repeating; The Grey, although masterfully filmed and acted, stirred a feeling of unfathomable grief in me for characters I had only just begun to know, characters that were whisked away one by one with deaths that intentionally screamed nihilism. When I got home that night, I held my mom and my dad and cried, and cried, and cried while I thanked whoever was up above that I had them both to hang on to. The reason I’m bringing all this up is because The Grey, while it repulsed me, affected me for a reason. It was my worst fear brought to life. My fear, deep down inside me, that screams the horrifying question: what if nothing matters? What if my life means nothing, that I will be extinguished in a heartbeat and leave a legacy of pain and suffering? It sounds so laughably angsty, but it’s a very real fear that follows me everywhere. As I held my parents while tears streamed down my face I was struck by a sense of hurt, of anger, as though I couldn’t believe the director of the movie had the gall to suggest to me that I was as fucking useless as the people he created onscreen.
Today I still am overcome with love for my parents, and the relationships, while more of a roller coaster than ever, are so precious to me I wouldn’t trade them for absolutely anything. Today I’m still confused and wandering, but I no longer am as afraid as I used to be that I don’t matter. I know I matter to some people, several people in fact, and my life might even be more meaningful than that! But even knowing how I affect the ones I love in a positive way is so uplifting, and something that was entirely absent from The Grey. 3 years later I see the movie more clinically, and I’m able to take a step back from the film and more positively reject the viewpoint.
Love is such an important part of my life. I still haven’t found the exact purpose of my life yet, but I know that a huge part is receiving and giving love. It makes me so happy, and if not happy, at least satisfied. And that is why the movie offended me so much. Those thoughts of love were nonexistent, and that pained me so much I could barely stand it. I am simply bursting with love to share, and that is how I know deep down in my heart that it is a crucial part of who I am and what my purpose in life is. I’m just so glad that I can see this three years later. Not that I have it all figured out, but it’s a hell of a lot better than seeing a movie that makes me feel like I just witnessed a funeral without me even understanding why.
Sort of a rambling post today, but love is always on my mind, whether it’s physically, emotionally, spiritually, or sexually. I just wanted to make a post about love. How much it means to me, how much I have, how much I appreciate its role in my life. I’m so glad I have people who love me, and I am so so so honored to love them.
Go out and show someone you love them today.