Identify what is most important )0( Eliminate everything else
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world. Dr. Paul Farmer
The suffering of others is not alleviated when no one knows about it.
There is no one right way to live. Daniel Quinn Ishmael
The only thing that you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right sort of people.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut

Saturday, April 13, 2013


I watched the DVD Premium Rush and fell in adoration of Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  When I mentioned it to someone, she recommended that I watch 50/50.  It is about a man who is diagnosed with cancer, which is just one more issue in his life that no one else truly understands and is just one more issue to be dealt with alone.  It is not part of the film, but it is a continuation of the whole we are born alone, we die alone and manage the best we can in between.  Something like that.

He has lost one of his cancer friends and is facing his own mortality.  I mean, we all have to do that eventually, and, really, dealing with the icky stuff of life is pretty much the same process.  I have been facing all manner of deaths the past few years, none of which was an actual person leaving this mortal coil.  My selfhood died a long time ago, my marriage last year, Lilith's passing, homelessness and all that goes along with being without a home, an anchor or security, the death of all of the secrets, well, that is one passing that I do not mourn.  The rest I grieve as best I can.

I had to face my actual death likelihood a bit more than a year ago and that is what the character in this film is doing. 

He says that he can see his death on his face when he looks into a mirror, that by his appearance it is obvious.  And, when I heard that I am thinking that chemotherapy is rarely anyone's best friend.  Even if you survive your cancer and the treatments, no one would choose that experience.

His therapist tells him that what he is feeling is a result of the treatments.  He agrees and goes on to say that he is fine with it, with dying.  Everyone dies, even the therapist will die.  More than fine with it, I think that he is sharing, maybe finally realizing that he has reconciled with what is happening to him.  I know that feeling.

Shen then tells him that his feelings are normal and that the period/phase he is going through is a kind of alienation.  It is normal.  And, he calls bullshit on that.

So do I.  Everyone always telling you that it will be better, you will feel better.  That you should not worry so much because everything will be fine, it will get better.  I get that people do that.  I mean, what the hell else are they supposed to say? 

"Yeah, you feel like crap because you have a crappy life.  God, I am so glad that I am not you."
"If you think finally leaving means that the end of your screwed-up life is at hand, then you are just as fucked up as your fucked up life."
"Fine?  You think that things will eventually be fine?  Man, I would like to have some of what you are smoking."

He wonders why everyone is afraid to just man up and be honest and that it makes it worse for him when people avoid being honest and he is kind of left on his own to suffer in the knowledge of what is true and that he has to do it alone.

O.K., it is only a movie.  Even if it is based on what happened to someone, and, you know, it really is based on the experiences of every single person who has had a life-threatening or terminal illness or accident, then watching the movie means that eventually you get to stop watching the movie.  You could move on.

But, in the meantime, everyone who lives with extraordinary circumstances struggles with the same issues.  We are born alone and we die alone and in between stuff happens.  Everyone experiences pain and loss, grief, terror and you cannot quantify it with a list because the list of possibilities has no end.

The character goes home and moves as best he can.  He does not give up.  Even when faced with options that are not the teeniest bit hopeful.  There is a scene when he and his dopey best friend are talking about his girlfriends and that his best friend never liked any of the because they were icky (I cannot remember the exact rude name(s) he called them) and I thought, well, that may be true, but you should be glad because you can be kind of icky yourself, and if you cancerous friend were any different, then you probably would not have a frakking friend in the world.  So, shut the frak up and be supportive for a change, you stupid frakhead.

We can all be icky.  We all have the opportunity to not be our best self, to be selfish, to be icky to the nth power.  We can choose to be icky to the extreme.  More importantly, we can make that choice even whilst doing our best to be our best self.  Frakking humans.  And, even your messed up friends can be exactly what you need.

Maybe even your messed up life can be exactly what you need.  And, maybe there is, not exactly a happy ending, but maybe something that can pass for one.  Maybe I can go back to the accountant and admit that he was right.  Maybe I can forgive everyone who has told me from the beginning, and cannot stop themselves from repeating, what they want to happen.  You just have to admire their faithfulness to an absurd notion.

It was a good movie to watch this afternoon.  Better than a nap.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. (resubmitted due to some typos)
      It doesn't matter what other people think or want, it's about what you want, if you even if you don't know what that is right now, you're on a new path and there's no map, ya just got to keep going, somehow. When our friends lost their 3 yr old daughter I was staggered at how many people said 'Ah well, it's probably for the best!' WTF how can a 3 yr old's death be for the best? Yeah she had major problems and health issues, but did that make her any less deserving of a longer life! What exactly do they mean by that, better for her (perhaps it was a thankful release from her suffering) but I don't think they meant that, half the time they mean better for them, better for them so they don't have to think about her, don't have to ask questions they're not going to like the answer too, better so they don't have to face the sometimes ugliness of life that eats into their comfy little lives. Seeing her little body in the morgue that day on an adult sized bed I wanted to hit someone, tell them she looked lost lying there, why didn't they have smaller place for children? I remember hearing this noise through all the pain I was feeling, apparently it was me making that noise, some kind of gutteral animal noise that seemed to come from my very soul. I've never felt such despair and she wasn't my daughter. I don't know why I'm telling you this other than at the time her parents thought they would never get through it, I didn't know how I would get through it. That was over 15 years ago and there are still days that I want to howl like on that day. You don't get over it really, how can you, it happened and the memory of it won't ever go away. But I can tell you that you learn to live with it, the pain does get less as time goes by. But it's always there, she will always be in my thoughts, my heart. I've got on with life, we have to, the alternative is death and like you said 'We all die in the end' It's the one certainty in life isn't it. Only you have the power to allow yourself to move on, no-one else can do that for you. I do hope that you have someone to lean on because I don't believe that we are alone. Feck I rambled didn't I! ♥