A long distance connection with a <1% chance of ever form of survival.
A voluntary life of struggle taken up with bludgeoning guilt overpowered by the idea that love conquers all.
An unlikely connect of minds and souls overlooking a connect of the physical being.
An attachment borne of necessity. A necessity to disregard loneliness that crept from deliberate neglect.
This year started on a promising note for me. Cinematically speaking. Art and inspiration from life wasn’t dead after all. Hollywood (but of course) bravely paraded real life dramas and stories, each brilliantly performed and executed, each expectedly leaving one to THINK once the credits rolled. I’m not sure if every member of the audience picked up on the underlying thread of conundrum that ran through the lives of the real people depicted on reel as well as the lives of the reel people who were under tremendous pressure to bring this to screen.
Here is what I picked up: Humanity, Humanness, Being human. Clichéd. Yes. This is an era of disconnect and judgment. An era of carelessness, selfishness and temporary greed. Everything must be acquired quickly, with zero pressure or effort and everything and everyone is effervescently dispensable. Everything and everyone must be ‘blissfully’ aware and accept this reality or “get over it already”. And all of this falls under a new fascist undermined category YOLO. Yep just like everything… apparently, this too is a magnanimously arrogant abbreviation.
The stories depicted in American Sniper, The Theory of Everything, Foxcatcher and The Imitation Game all bore semblance and yet recited individual stories. I could relate to the main characters but not walk in their shoes in real time. They involved the struggle and gamble of an Iraqi war veteran fighting inexplicable demons collated over 4 tours, the astounding survival and coping mechanism of Stephen Hawkings, a ‘different’ and mentally sidelined math genius coming to terms with who or what he really is and the ultimate battle of loneliness and acceptance of a wealthy man raised to feel like he didn’t belong anywhere. People may know slivers of THEIR story but the silver screen depicted the stories of the people who made THEM and struggled with them. Their families, friends, circumstances and members who came and went in a blink yet changed their lives for a spin. The movies packed in all their tears and agonies and moments of indecent weakness in 2-3hrs tops. But real life documents years and minutes and hours that feel like ‘space time’ on the reel. THAT is what I took away. To imagine walking in their shoes for more than what I saw. To imagine the depth of their feelings. To imagine their limitations and their attitude to life. To imagine and maybe practice any of it to my benefit.
It’s always easier to imagine than believe or experience. Apathy grows from lack of imagination or experience. Apathy has become the natural order of things. “So what. It happens to everyone. Forget it. Move on.” Almost mocking the argument that humans and their emotions aren’t switches. We are expected to switch on and switch off now more than ever. The end of connections and relationships is ‘convenient’. Disability (mental or physical) are rationales for abandonment. A stray person who has no clue of your foundations has the ability to shake it and relocate it in a matter of seconds. Social media is the common enemy and the boon – it reminds me of Skynet Systems in The Terminator (franchise) where robots and computers meant to fix the world ultimately become the arch enemy. Social media plays such a diabolical role. All the referenced movies didn’t have the ‘evils’ of social media or simply translated as – easy access to the EXIT signs from life. They stopped. Took a breath. Shed a tear or more. Listened. Confronted. Introspected. Smiled. Provided comfort and security. Measured friendship and love in one person. Moved forward. Helped build vs. destroy. Empathized. Worked for betterment and lived within each other’s realm than outside.
One of the strangest questions I was thrown after ‘The Theory of Everything’ screening was would I have forgiven Jane Wilde for her momentary lapse. The question was also sarcastically burdened on my morale compass because I was expected to NOT forgive her and if I did then how did I advocate cheating. I was no one to forgive or judge Jane Wilde-Hawking’s character or the real person. She wasn’t looking for thrill in the woods and her intent wasn’t one of abandonment of her husband, her family or even her duties toward Stephen. She was a tireless, vulnerable and struggling woman who had voluntarily and lovingly kept her commitment to Stephen but never anticipated the valleys that would draw her to absolute darkness. How could anyone anticipate so? She didn’t leave Stephen and her duties and commitment were unfaltering. She wasn’t complaining or bad mouthing her partner. She wasn’t taking to social media for sympathy votes or measuring her current market status despite the upheaval of her personal woes. She wasn’t neglecting her husband or family and throwing tantrums or attitude to showcase her martyrdom. She didn’t call on thrills or embarrass herself in alcohol or substances to use them as excuses for her ‘supposedly’ momentary lapse of common sense. There was no cruelty in Jane Wilde. There was no cruelty in Chris Kyle’s reaction to his ever suffering and agonized spouse. There was no apathy in Joan Clarke as she embraced mind over body with Alan Turing, accepting his homosexual self (this coming from that period and time when it was a punishable offense). There was no impatience in Dave Schultz when he left everything and eventually died despite struggling with an egotistical emotionally wavered brother and an equally fragile John DuPont.
I have had a considerably luxurious life when I look at them and imagine million others whose lives and chronicles haven’t made it to a book or screen. I think less now when Abeer doesn’t ‘measure up’ to my visual compass and instead open the view to ‘panorama’ to capture what I am missing from his expression of love and comfort. I aim to be calmer and less displaying of my emotions. Not everything needed to be in the open. I intend to find more of myself or rather regain what I have lost of my identity. I intend to be vocal about what matters to me and then let go if it refused to come within compromising radii of it. I intend a lot of things.
Most importantly, I intend not to forget these lessons and add more and more humbling equations to build this equation till my last breath.