...rambles about life, the little things, and penguins...
There is this great line in Kevin Smith's movie Jersey Girl...which, I will admit, was not a great movie...but it came out right around when my son was born, so it hit me a certain way. Then I got divorced. It took on a whole new meaning. Still total cheese...but cheese that hit me in the heart. I don't own it like I do the rest of the collection of View Askew films, but I will watch it whenever it is on TV, and I will usually cry. Because I am a sap.
But there is a line when Liv Tyler is talking to Ben Affleck after he spazzes out on his daughter because she doesn't want to move to New York City. They live with his father (wonderfully portrayed by George Carlin) after his wife died in childbirth, and the movie talks about how he was a big fish in a big pond, and after that tragedy, became a small fish in a pond in North Jersey working for the DPW and raising his kid. He decides he wants his Big Time life back, and starts going off about how great it is going to be. Enter his 7 year old daughter who only knows life in Jersey and her grandfather and dad and loves her world. Not a cool moment for any kid...but it goes beyond that. It's a key moment in the movie, but the reality of what it really means doesn't become clear until the following scene when Ben goes to see Liv at the video store where she works. She tries to sympathize with him. Be understanding, because that is who she is. But inside she is breaking, and after he leaves...she cries.
Maya: I mean, this is their life. What you're sort of saying to everybody who loves you is that what we have isn't good enough for you."
It always resonated with me. The rest of the movie was cute enough, with well placed Bruce Springsteen and Pete Townsand to keep your emotions high. Smith should have left J-Lo out, but that is just my opinion. But that moment in the movie where this intelligent, punchy girl with the simple life lays it at his feet in a way he can't deny, even though for the moment he does...it hit me good and hard. How much we look beyond what really matters in this world. How at the drop of a dime, all that stuff we focused so hard on doesn't even matter. And what does matter, we left behind somewhere in the rush. But we don't think about that in our daily lives. We forget.
Various times throughout my life when I felt just like that. That who I was and what I offered up in myself, my work, my soul and my being, was not good enough for the people I was surrounded by. To the situation I found myself in...be them professional or personal. I mean, there have been some shitty people and situations in my life. That is no secret. Often I didn't know until they drove it home in these ways, and it was a kick I needed to move along...but it's also driven me to places I didn't want to go.
From supervisors and managers telling me there was just no way I was suited for a position I was fighting to get myself into, that I knew I was qualified for and that really interested me...and then handing it to someone with less experience and a far worse work ethic. To someone I was seeing holding my life as a mom with a son up in front of me as the reason he would never have been serious about me, but that I was suitable enough for the time being. To the end of a major chapter in my life and being told, "...no one is going to want you".
It's a handful. It's hardly the whole story.
I found myself thinking about some of these things today and wondering why I had not given in all those times. Why I had not sat down right then and there and broken apart. Someone recently posted a brief documentary about all of the people who have and continue to take their own lives by jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge. There was footage of people standing there on the bridge. Debating. Even though it was filmed from the shoreline, their body shaking sobs were clearly visible. For them, they had hit that point. Broken apart. Some of them went right ahead with what they intended when they walked onto that bridge.
I spent half of my life battling depression and anxiety as a disease. It's complicated. It's never been a matter of "take two of these and call me in the morning" to get beyond what it does to your mind and your body. It engulfs you. It's like wounds all over your body that have weakened you to the point that you can barely walk...and then your life throwing you a curve ball to top it off that lands like a final blow to know you to the ground. What I had to learn through my own trial and error is that it was up to me whether I stayed on the ground or I got up and kept walking. I have seen the darkness. I don't want to go there. What it did is remind me that it's the little things that make up this life. Thousands of tiny, amazing little moments make up this life.
This life. No one said it was going to be easy, and we don't get a choice on what we are handed from the get-go. Some of us will struggle. Some of us have struggled. Some of us have been handed situations all our lives that we didn't even understand, let alone know what to do with...but we endured. Through pain, through tears, through blood we have come up from out of those shadows and endured. What we do get a choice on is what we do with what we are given. How we learn from it. How we take a struggle and turn it into a triumph. What we hold onto for dear life because we know somewhere deep inside that THIS IS REAL, to what we let go because we know even entertaining the option of being in that situation is toxic, and it's slowly killing our body from the soul outward.
No one hands us a manual when we get here. We are feeling our way around from day one, hoping that along the way we pick up a few souls to help us get there with a smile on our faces because at the end of the day...that is really all that will be left. The smile on our face from how we have lived, and the smiles on the faces of others from the thought of us in their lives.
Last night I found myself watching a series on Showtime that was a kind of tongue in cheek take on someone battling cancer, and how it consumes their world and the worlds of those around them. Having lost people very close to me to cancer over the years, I have seen this effect. Everyone around is afraid to have anything be wrong because no matter what they are dealing with, in their mind, it can't be anywhere as bad as cancer. So they bottle it.
I think many of this do this every day. We bottle so much of who we are, how we struggle, what we think, and what we want to achieve because we are so afraid of being looked at strangely. Poorly. Like how dare we have a lost moment with our own emotions inside this strange and confusing life. It could be worse. It could be cancer. Meanwhile that person with cancer is just trying to be normal. That normal that we are overlooking every moment of every day as we stress and strive for something bigger, better, faster, greater. Why do we do that? Because one day we wake up and wonder where that normal, that ordinary, not-so-exciting stuff went. Where are those little things? How did we miss them all when there we so many?
I won't do that. I am tired of worrying about work. About what it means for my life, and where it will go. I am tired of losing sleep. Of nodding off on my way home from work because my mind is simply exhausted from what I have put it through. I want to laugh. I want to not just laugh, but feel the laughter shake me and the chemicals my brain releases as they travel throughout my body that light it up. I want to see sunshine and feel it outside, not just from a window. I want to be in love and feel in in every pore of my skin...not because some book or movie told me that is how I am supposed to feel it, but because that is how I feel everything. Or at least I did, before I stopped noticing the little things and let life pass me by.
One day we will wake up and it won't matter.
Today, I discovered this:
It's live footage of penguins. I have been watching it off and on. It makes me smile. This is life. When everything else doesn't matter anymore. I can't watch this and not start giggling. People don't giggle enough. Maybe everyone should just have a penguin...