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.