My hub took me to Hawaii for my birthday last week! For nearly two full hours!
We bought popcorn and soda and a front row seat, and when the lights went down . . . there. we. were.
On the North Shore of Oahu. Listening to the wind and the waves and the doves, and the occasional rush of traffic making its way down Kam Highway. It was all so familiar--the leis, the shakas, the ancient Hawaiian chants--and yet it was all so . . . unfamiliar. Like a dream. I once starred in. Before I woke up in bed with Utah.
You get me?
Not that I don't like sleeping with Utah, but being back in Hawaii felt like going home and it made my eyes sweat semi profuse-ish-ly, even though I wasn't home at all, but rather sitting in a movie theater watching Soul Surfer.
I told my hub I want to go home again. Like tomorrow. And I want to take all the kids home too. He said I should wait until home goes to the $1 theater, but I might sneak $6. 50 and slip away when he's not looking. (Or maybe I'll sneak $11.50 so I can buy another $5 hamburger behind his back on my way to the theater.)
Speaking of soul surfing, I have been doing some, and I've come up with a new theory. I'm going to start a new method of psychoanalysis called movie therapy, in which I will strap my patients into a recliner and make them watch movies all day long. Until they cry. And then I will ask them, "Who are you crying for? Are you crying for yourself, or are you crying for the character in this movie?"
If they are crying for themselves I will say, "Dude, you've got issues--grief issues, loss issues, pain issues, anger issues--yada yada issues." And then I would hand them a prescription and say, "Watch two movies and call me in the morning."
If, however, they are crying for the character in the movie, or for someone else they love, I will say, "Congratulations, dude, your grief/loss/pain/anger/yada yada issues have been alchemized into compassion."
Then I will give them a camera and send them out into the big wide world to make their own movies.
I was crying for myself while watching Soul Surfer. I mean, it's sad and all that that poor girl gets her arm bit off by a shark, but . . . well, you know . . . at least she still lives in Hawaii!!!
Am I right, or am I right?
I mean, you can't get bit by sharks in Utah!
Does that make me selfish? Or does that make me honest?
Since I'm being honest, I'm going to concede that I don't cry for myself in movies anymore. Very often. (Unless someone is getting bit by a shark.) I think it's because, as they say, time heals all wounds.
Or maybe because people heal all wounds, and love heals all wounds, and faith and hope and tears and forgiveness and work and effort heal all wounds. And movies, of course. And books. And music. And love. Did I mention love?
I have been emersed in all of these things over the years, so in a way, yes, time has healed all wounds. (Except the shark bite one, but that one is only 21 months old.)
If you've been reading me for a while you know that my dad shuffled off his mortal coil when I was 14 years old. His family still swears that he died of a broken heart, but his autopsy came back stamped with two letters: O.D.
Whether he meant to or not, he overdosed.
It wasn't like we didn't know about his addiction. I found his drug paraphernalia hiding in the basement bathroom when I was in 5th grade--the spoon, the matches, the needles, the syringes, and the tourniquet. Shortly afterwards a family meeting was called and my dad spilled the beans that he had been using.
Using. What an ugly word. But not as ugly as the action attached to the word. Not as ugly as the hours and hours he spent locked in the basement bathroom with that spoon and syringe while I laid in bed with my eyes wide shut, reciting Helen Steiner Rice poems in my head.
Oh my Heavenly Father, I come in humble prayer. Not to beg for miracles, just faith to not despair. If I fail to see your wisdom, give me faith to never doubt it. Help me bear the cross you send, and not complain about it.
Towards the end of his life my dad got sloppy. Sometimes he'd forget to lock the bathroom door, and I would walk in to find him shooting up. Or even worse, shot up. Sometimes he'd leave his stuff on the kitchen counter, amongst the fruit bowl and the salt shaker and the spatulas, as if they should all just get along and stop judging each other. He couldn't go long without a fix so waiting in line, like at the airport, or at the movies, became prime opportunities for him to slip into the bathroom or into the car to get slammed.
We always held his place in line, and he always returned with that look.
Until eventually he didn't return at all.
This is Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues, the story about Billie Holiday and her addiction to morphine. At 15 years old, this movie was like a tsunami rushing in, snapping the dam around my stone-cold heart and pushing it through my eyeballs with such force that I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. And sobbed. Until 3 a.m., when my eyelids were completely swollen shut.
I wasn't crying for Billie, I was crying for me.
But now, nearly 3o years later, if I watched Lady Sings the Blues again I would cry for Billie. And also for Billy, (which is my dad's name) because I'm guessing addiction is itchy, with a capital B. (And I should know, because I've been addicted to love.)
So anyways, that's how you know your pain has been alchemized, and it's time for you to start making your own movie.
P.S. Movie-therapy coming soon, to a theater near year. Let me know if you want buy tickets.