Digging Deeper

I’ve been in a bad mood all week. Let’s just start with this. I hate sad movies.

This piece that has been a week in the making shall finally come forth. It all began one rainy Thursday night with the supposed delight of watching a movie. It began with The Fault in our Stars.

For anyone thinking this will be a commentary on the movie/book it will not, so if that’s what you’re looking for read no further. Rather, I’d like to make a broader commentary. I also warn that I still only have vague understanding of what I’m about to say in spite of deciding to post a blog about it.

I tried to hold out through the movie. I really did. I played on my phone through most of it, kept whispering over and over again “don’t get attached, don’t get attached” and even tried to sneak off to the bathroom when I assumed it would begin to become truly sad (this backfired and my friends paused the movie on my behalf). I giggled at funny pinterest posts rather than truly immersing myself, and I was fine throughout the film. I proudly sent a snapchat to my cousin of my clean face, no tears in sight. But my confidence was shortsighted. For it was after the film that my true feelings became known.

An attempt to go to sleep proved futile as I tossed and turned. I tried distracting myself, but suddenly to my utter surprise, there were tears. Lots and lots of tears.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m a pessimist. I’m critical, cynical, sarcastic. I don’t particularly tend to look on the bright side all the time. In fact I often tend to be the gloomy reclusive depressed type, an Eeyore rather than a Winnie-the-Pooh. I am told to smile more. I have people think I’m hateful and mean-spirited in fact simply because I hide behind a somewhat serious and cold exterior. And I think that’s why negative films and books always have such a hard hit on me.

I need a bit of hope in my life. I need some little bit of light peeking through the dark gray clouds. I cling to the bits I have. And when I watch movies like The Fault in our Stars, I have a hard time remembering that there is any good in the world. It makes me question the realities of life around me. And even more it makes me wonder what could possibly be wrong with me that one movie I paid barely any attention to can make me spend an hour curled on the couch crying rather than getting the sleep I so obviously needed.

I’m depressed. I don’t usually admit it readily. But I am. And it’s hard. This past month I’ve struggled to write at all, only surviving thanks to the expectations of the challenge I’m currently participating in. And this week was one of those “I don’t want to be a writer, I’m terrible, I will delete each and every piece of works” type weeks. No worries, my works are safe in my recycling bin for now and will likely be moved at some point. But I still am stuck pondering why my mind works like this, and above all the same questions raised by watching the films. Why do bad things happen? Why is there disease and death and suffering?

I just so happened to be reading King Lear this week as well, which fed rather well into my ponderings. For any who haven’t read it, no worries on spoilers…I’ll just tell you most everyone dies…especially the good characters. The play is rife with suffering. And yet there’s a beauty in it, a questioning just as I’ve been questioning. How is it we live in a world full of such evil? If there is/are (a) higher power(s) then why do they not intervene?

A most poignant line in the play is said by the Duke of Gloucester “As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport.”

I’m not writing to tell you whether there is or is not a god, or fate, or a higher power, or anything of religious nature. I’m not writing to tell you why there is suffering or what it does. I’m not writing to say there is a way to escape the pain and horrors of this life. Were this a religious blog maybe, but instead I’m forced to approach it from a literary perspective. And that is to appreciate that a man in the Elizabethan era pondered the exact same heavy questions I now am dealing with.

Is there good? Why do people suffer? Why why why?

And that is a beauty of literature, to question these weightier issues in ways that move and touch people. It creates something in us that resonates, even through the ages. I doubt Shakespeare knew he’d do something funny to the heart of a twenty two year old woman in 2014, sitting alone on her couch pondering why, if there was good, she could feel so miserable and depressed.

I have only ever written happy endings, though I’ve been pondering the possibility of writing a sad one recently. Because I think there is something valuable in them, in questioning the difficult elements of the human existence that are universal and unchanging. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll inspire someone as Shakespeare inspired me.


Filed under Reading, Writing

7 responses to “Digging Deeper

  1. Your reaction seems pretty reasonable to me. I’ve read the book and would rather chew off my own arm than watch the movie version of The Fault in Our Stars. I’m not depressed at all and bawled for at least three hours after finishing the book.

    And I love King Lear, but it’s enough to ruin anybody’s day. 😭 The timelessness and universality of his ideas is what makes Shakespeare – or any of the literary giants- so great.

    Though I’m not depressed now, I have been in the past, and all I can say by way of comfort is that this too shall pass. The good doesn’t last forever, but neither does the bad.

    • Thanks so much for your feedback! And yes I have no desire to read the book after my movie experience. I definitely hope this passes, but I do agree both good and bad seem to come and go. 🙂

  2. I didn’t have the same reaction to the movie with you but I was emotionally broken when I finished reading the book. It’s true that a novel or a play can be written in an era that we weren’t part of and still have an impact as big as askig ourselves why there’s bad in the world and all that stuff.

    I do agree with you that being a pessimist and the negative one can be hard especially when reading or watching something that does not end well, i know because I just read Thirteen Reasons Why for the second time and I still can’t read another book because i’m still in that story.

    I want to read something from you that doesn’t have a happy ending. I have a thing with stories that don’t end in a happy note, I’ve written tons of stories that don’t end in happiness and it makes me think that sometimes there’s something wrong with me in the sense that I find comfort in being sad or reading about something that may somehow make me stronger in a weird way. x

  3. Gerry

    It is a sad movie!!! And it is sometimes hard to separate the characters in story from real people — mainly because as a writer, many of the people you are spending mental time with are fictitious characters! Try giving them a sweeter ending in your writer’s mind! Hugs Gerry

    Sent from my iPad


  4. First of all, I SO identify with your blog post. OMG! You could have been describing me. All my life people have been telling me I’m far too serious. It truly puts some people off when you have a mind that can’t shut off the questioning. My sister is constantly telling me I need to chillax. But it IS as Christina said, this too shall pass. And then next week or next month you get to struggle with it again. There really is such a rhythm to life.

    The good news is I think we all want to know things like what we’re here for, why bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad. In the end I believe we’re all made out of the same stuff. And that’s the best news of all. You’re not alone. Not by a long shot.

    So when these times roll around, maybe come up with a ritual to deal with them. Something to just get you through till the mood passes. Next week you’ll realize what a wonderful writer you are, because you truly ARE. Revel in the truth of that. It’ll keep you buoyed up to get through your next bout of hitting the skids.

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