I know that at some point I’m going to have to adapt to a normal sleep schedule, but today is not that day.
…to be completely honest, when I first started writing this entry, I was going to segue into a short and sweet anecdote about how there’s a cricket in our apartment, but even though everyone hears the chirping, I’m the only one who’s ever seen the damn thing, and only ever at 3 a.m. or later in the morning, and it’ll usually appear as a moving shape on the ground, and I always think it’s a spider at first and thus pee a little in my pants (not actually) until I realize that gosh darn it, it’s that darned cricket, and then I’ll track it in the corner of my eye and try my best to keep my heartbeat steady.
I ended up writing that anecdote anyway, so.
Ugh, I suppose I’ll stop beating around the bush and just beat the bush. (Could that be construed as lewd?)
Today, I watched “Warm Bodies” and then watched a bunch of episodes of “Parks and Recreation,” including SPOILER ALERT Leslie and Ben’s first kiss, and now I’m audibly sighing and clacking away at my laptop in the aforementioned living room, trying to stem the ache in my chest and also look out for said cricket.
One of the best things of “Warm Bodies” has to be the music. I know, I know, so many films use music as an emotional crutch. (I took a film sound class two semesters ago, and all the sound students shit talked purely musical scoring as often as possible.) But, when utilized properly, sourced music can make or break a scene. Think, “These Days” in “The Royal Tenenbaums,” or hell, any time Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino use music.
In “Warm Bodies,” that moment of pure audio visual grooving was when R ran out of the house in the deserted suburbs, and the camera panned around his pale, grimacing face, and this song boomed out from the speakers in the theatres and my heart skipped a beat.
Then, with that feeling fresh in my mind, I halfheartedly did a whole bunch of reading for homework, and then gave up and launched myself into the ending moments of season 3 and opening moments of season 4 of “Parks and Rec,” aka when Ben and Lesley finally figure out what it is that they want from each other but also from their lives as separate and autonomous persons.
When I finally stopped watching at around 2 a.m., as my roommate napped next to me on the couch, I cried.
It’s a cliché at this point to be like “I just have a lot of feelings!” (“Mean Girls,” while a total gem of a film, has effectively ruined certain phrases forever), but how the hell can I pinpoint and/or define the weight that sometimes settles into the root of my emotions, like silent ash blanketing a ruined Pompeii, without sounding trite, or overdramatic, or so hopelessly hopelessly lonely?
I know, I know, I subscribe to the whole Kelly Clarkson thing where it doesn’t mean that I’m lonely when I’m alone, but there are just these singular moments when I pause and take stock of what it is that I’m actively working toward (a paid summer internship, a full concert and festival calendar, good grades, an active social life, uplifting and meaningful friendships), and it pains me to know that when I close my eyes for the last time, when the synapses firing away in my brain suddenly stop, what, if anything, will I leave behind?
I’ve been having a lot of discussions lately with friends about the nature of reality, but while we’ve talked about alternate realities and subjective realities and immortality, we’ve never addressed mortality as the final destination head on. Because it’s a scary thing to think about, isn’t it: to die, to suddenly not “be.” Shouldn’t it be intuitive then to want to live as you are forever, or to create something in your name that will live on forever, or to find a way to keep your consciousness alive even if your body has to die?
But to me, those are the things that scare me more. Death is a finality that, in many ways, comforts me. No, I’m not trying to be explicitly morbid here, but then again… I’m writing about death, so in the immortal words of Jason Stackhouse in the most recent season of “True Blood,” “That train has sailed.”
It’s more like, I don’t know so much about what’s happening right now, and I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen in the future. Will I be living in L.A. or NYC this summer? How the hell am I going to make it to Governors Ball if I do happen to end up staying in California? What about if I find an opportunity anywhere else in the world? Will the documentary I’m making with my friend Becca be something that I don’t just think is awesome to me, but that my friends will think is cool and worth watching too? Will I keep my GPA up this semester and in all the semesters to come? Hell, will I even graduate on time? After graduation, can I really chase down my dream of creating things, whether in the form of text or images or ideas, and survive on that dream? And then what the fuck do I do from there???
This stuff scares the shit out of me, and behind all of the self-absorbed bravo, I’m willing to bet that most people, as soon as they start actively thinking about the future, start to harbor those kinds of doubting, panicked thoughts. Those who don’t are those blindly brave people who either rocket to the top of everything or who plummet into a pit from which it is very difficult to escape. They’re either Bruce Wayne, the pimpin’ social star of Gotham City, or Bruce Wayne, trapped by Bane in an underground prison.
I don’t really know all of the Batman storylines too well, but I think I got my point across? Kind of? Maybe? I just don’t want to do anything that will make people believe that I’m somehow someone who doesn’t give a shit about life, and I know that it’s “in” to be apathetic about certain things, and that passion is something to be tempered (I’ve been reading a lot of Mary Wollstonecraft and boy, she’d have a problem with me), but goddammit, all I want to do is see the magic that’s happening all around me right now and to not worry about my future legacy or whatever and to enjoy these beautiful blissed out moments of existence. If I happen to do something awesome and worth sharing with other people along the way, then of course that’ll be fantastic, but of course it’s about the journey, not the destination (something drilled into our culture, yet totally lost on most people), and
Take a deep breath, Lilian Esther (not really Esther) Min. My fingers are typing faster than my brain can form complete thoughts, yet my words are falling behind my line of thinking. This is a conundrum, and I want to say that I’m closer to articulating what it was that triggered 2 a.m. tears, but I’m not.
There’s a guy in my band section with whom I’ve never clicked. I never thought he was that funny or cute, and he never thought I had anything worth saying, so while everyone else swooned over him because he did have a certain surface charm, I kept apart from that vibe because I didn’t “get” him, and he clearly didn’t “get” me, but because everyone else “got” him, during bonding times, while there’d be moments when I felt truly comfortable, most of the time, I sat in the corner like a kindergartener in time out.
Now, I’ve found real communities of people whom I adore, and it scares me so much that one day this might all be gone, that I’ll say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing and I will face a closed door, with nothing behind me but the tug of gravity and a long, long fall.
This morning, I was watching “Parks and Recreation” with a friend of mine who’d been locked out of her apartment. She’d called me at 7 a.m. asking for a place to sleep that was indoors, and so of course I let her in, and because we were up, we started watching “Parks and Rec,” but really it was just me watching because soon she was asleep, and I was laughing a lot because come on, the show’s really funny, and one of my roommates walked into the room and told me, in paraphrased terms, to shut the fuck up, and I profusely apologized and played it cool, but I almost started crying because I didn’t know that I was being too loud, but of course I was being too loud because I almost always am, and then I felt stupid for wanting to cry,
and then all day, I mulled over how I could properly apologize to her, but ended up saying nothing further. Because that’s just how it is for me—I feel too quickly, but I mask these triggered emotions over with alternating portrayals of indifference and exaggerated reaction.
Oh boy, it sounds really clinical when I describe it this way, but it’s better than being a mess of constantly fluctuating emotions. I don’t want to be completely unpredictable and unreliable as a person, so it’s better to have my shit together, or as much as I possibly can.
But when I’m watching a film, or a show with compelling characters, or listening to that perfect piece of music, I can lose myself in that media-created moment and just… feel. Not for anything in reality, but for the fiction which lays out any number of possibilities.
Because in fiction, anything really is possible. In life, everything ends in the same place. There’s no point in telling anybody to get on board, because we’re all on the same train.
But hey, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the view.
I hope you know I care…
(Image: Frozen Upon Entry by John Espinoza)