Saturday, November 26, 2011

My mother's favourite. Nights of Cabiria is an old Fellini film starring Giulietta Masina. It's about an Italian prostitute who keeps getting her heart broken by manipulative men who seduce her, use her and eventually try to kill her for her moneybags (she's smart and knows how to save). It sounds kind of outlandish but I bet there are worse stories than that in real life (HERE). So, the ending is totally heartbreaking: Masina and her very charming new husband are on their honeymoon. He invites her on a romantic walk and leads her to the edge of a cliff with a beautiful view, where he becomes increasingly cold and nervous. She suddenly realizes that he is planning to rob her and push her off the cliff, just like her previous lover, so she throws her purse full of money at his feet, money she had saved for their new life together, then she falls to the ground and sobs uncontrollably. He runs off. When she comes to, she takes a slow and tearful stroll through the wooded path, where an orchestra and a parade of happy young people in love magically appear. They sing to her and as she walks through them she begins smiling through her tears. The end!

Anyway, that description is basically my mother's character in a nutshell. Metaphorically speaking of course, because to my knowledge my mum's never been a prostitute and no one's ever tried to push her off a cliff. I just mean, she is probably the strongest person I know because no matter how awful things are she is positive and cracks jokes constantly. She scoffs at complainers. She smiles all the time. And that is how she raised us.


When I was fifteen I made a list of all the people I knew and how they might react to my death, had I decided to kill myself. I felt sad and not used to being a teenager yet, and probably affected by hormones. I was dating my first boyfriend and our relationship was ending fast - mostly because he was cheating on me with two of my closest friends. We all lost our virginities to him, me being the first (I think). I hated my school.

I thought I was a piece of garbage because the only person I ever dated wasn't interested in our relationship anymore, even though it was his first as well. It was a very miserable little list that I made, because at the time I assumed that most people in my life didn't care for me. I split them into three categories: "wouldn't give a shit" "might be surprised" and "might be upset". At fifteen I thought that I hadn't made an impact on anyone besides my family and that I had no stories to tell. In retrospect I realize I must have been depressed, the way most teenagers are, and that my reaction to what was happening was perfectly natural. Back then it felt like the end of the world. It wasn't, really.

^^^ That's me, on the left. At fifteen I was still a kid - pretty scrawny, weighed 86 lbs and still haven't gone through my final growth spurt. I didn't know how to express my anger or how to deal with it besides hurting myself. I got into physical fights with boys. I listened to sad songs. I spray painted curse words all over the buildings of his neighbourhood. I laid in my bed and looked out the window. My lover and I left letters for each other in my parents' mailbox every night, and whenever there was no letter I knew that he was out seeing one of my friends. There was a perversely mature understanding between the two of us and an "arrangement" that made me feel very hurt but at the same time curious. Because I wanted to love only him but he wanted to love everyone, and I spent hours trying to figure out why and how that works. He was too embarrassed to explain himself to me and eventually I just accepted it as a fact. I couldn't talk to anyone about it. My sister and I painted and read books together but I thought she was too young to understand what I was going through. My parents were too busy to clue in to my teenage drama. So it was a pretty lonely time, but I learned a lot. Then I switched schools, met someone new and just like that - I left.

It was over so quickly. I saw him a couple more times since then and then I stopped calling. Not because I was trying to hurt him - I was feeling too happy to want to talk to him. I went to art school, I dated new boys, I made friends with people who cared for me and who I cared for, and I finally established that I am not and will never be "a piece of garbage" no matter what. That's just a ridiculous thought. I learned how to pull myself out of a hole. My first boyfriend was just a horny and selfish teenage boy but he gave me a good life lesson: no one should ever have the power to fuck with you like that. And if they try to they're just silly. Move on, start fresh and be happy. It's pretty crucial to learn how to value yourself but it's also important to know how to not take yourself and them so seriously. That's how I survive, I listen to myself complain, laugh at myself and decide to move on. It makes me feel strong! That's the point of this whole thing, that's what my mom taught me, if you can laugh at yourself you must be pretty strong. Go watch that film right now if you haven't yet, do it today!

I don't mean to be so preachy but winter's coming and I think everyone needs a little push.

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The other day we got my library card renewed and all I've been doing since is ordering books and reading. I wish I could take a month off just to read, oh man. I'm going to audit a couple of courses with a pal starting January, it's the most exciting news. Learning is only secondary to making/producing (#1) but why have I been paying so much to go to university for nine years?!

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I read this research that suggests that sitting down for more than six hours a day is killing people (HERE) and it doesn't matter whether you exercise or not, a sedentary lifestyle is evil and unhealthy. It must be true. Human beings were not meant to be sitting still for eight hours a day on top of lying still for another eight. The days that I do sit still make me feel horrible and depressed. You can always exercise and if you can't, ask someone to help you. For example, my friend Anne uses a wheelchair but she is always so active, she's one of the healthiest people I know.

Alright I wrote a bible today. Who is going to the island sweat? Wake me up from my nap.

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