I need to think through something.
Where my thoughts began. . .
It’s funny how everything seems to relate back to television. It took me a couple of weeks but I finally finished watching Apt Pupil. And strangely enough I also watched The Human Stain on the same night. And, of course, I am forever watching Supernatural.
My only defense is that I am working all of the time and going to school and have two kids and sometimes I just really need to let my brain let go and television is the ultimate way.
I also hate to add that the reason I watch these is because of the actors in them (Jensen Ackles in Supernatural, mostly because I am completely in love with Dean; Joshua Jackson in Apt Pupil, I rather fancy Peter Bishop from Fringe; and Wentworth Miller in The Human Stain, and as I am sure you have already guessed it, because I love Michael Scolfield from Prison Break). There is a similar vein that runs through all of these characters: integrity and honor. They have all walked the dark side, and somehow come out on the “right” side despite all evidence saying that they would not. But in these two movies, the characters--due to life events largely out of their control--have found themselves into a lie. They absolutely chose the lie. But it was a slippery slope. This is true of the above characters as well. The question arises, why do I find this path so fascinating, so enticing? (And is it related to the American fascination with the bad boy?)
And so I also have to ask, at what point did they really cross that line? What was the important step? Or is it the process? For Ian’s character, the lie set him free. He was no longer a prisoner, no longer bound by society’s rules. It’s a terrifying prospect. In this case, the character chooses to use this power to have whatever he wants, and you come away feeling that he will continue to use it in ways that will harm others. At the point when he’s doing what society might call bad, he’s all but forced into it--even though he was instrumental in his own journey to that place (but could not have guessed that this is where it would eventually lead him). But for the other character, he is forced in at the very beginning. He is forced to lie, to choose between his past and his future. And so you have to wonder, what really makes us who we are? What is really important? I realized long ago that I am more than my
. And obviously, he was more than his race. And someone is more than their worst moment, or as it were, moments.
In myself, I choose to withhold specific details of my life. I do it, a lot. But I am in reality more honest than most. Too honest. (Some might call this lacking tact or being rude. ..but to each their own.) Painfully honest. At times. At others, I wonder how anyone could ever really get to know me. And that’s the rub, they can’t. I won’t let them. I hide who I am, much like Anthony/Wentworth’s character did. He felt pressed into it because of societal expectations. What are those expectations? Are they important? The best comparison is my gender. I cannot escape it, no matter how much I try to step away from it. I can say that I am more than my gender, but it will always be a part of me. It’s just like everything else, these things help to create us, often with our own persuasion, but in the end. . .what? They take over? We can’t escape them? What ever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger?
Society forces us in directions that we aren’t ready for, can’t comprehend. We take that one little step, which makes sense at the time, but find ourselves far from where we’d ever thought we’d be. And for what? To what end?
What’s the point? Sometimes I feel as though I am being led. But to where? For what purpose? I see these two characters, making little choices that take them down paths very far from anything they’d ever known. In one case, stepping outside that box frees them in ways that we are not comfortable with for ourselves or for others. And in the other case, the character is imprisoned in that lie. It becomes a part of him as much as his race ever was. Do we blame them? Or society? Do we need to blame anyone at all? Or do we just shrug our shoulders in despair and give up? Nicole’s character is shown as low class, when she came from so-called high class and Wentworth was just the opposite. It shows us that it is all meaningless. We create our own prisons and our own heavens--often to the detriment of those around us. But again, to what end? What does it all mean? Am I supposed to grasp some deeper meaning in all of this? Why me, why today, why those two movies? Why those characters? I see the evolution of everything, everything from straws to buildings to lamps. But should I see the evolution of this? The author, the director, the people that inspired it all. Should I believe that it all happened for a reason, so that we can see the connection, the pattern to it all? Was it all purposeful?
I danced around that box. I’ve smashed it to smithereens, but to what end? I have found myself trapped in my own homemade box. It’s of my own making.
Just for the record: I lie about family, education, sex, god, and marriage. Mostly because I compartmentalize my life. My school doesn’t know that I have my family and my family doesn’t know that I go to school. Saying that I believe in god is neither true nor totally untrue. It’s all a matter of perspective. I can say that I was married or say that I wasn’t. Both are equally true and not true. And sex is it’s own giant mess for me. I hide it all. It’s all true and none of it is true.
What am I trying to protect? If I had to answer, I could only mumble something about not wanting to deal with other people’s crap. But what am I really hiding from? Or is it simply a matter of pride. I often say that I should not have to prove myself to anyone. I’d rather let them think what they will. And they do. This fact makes me incredibly angry. I hate being judge. But would letting the truth, as subjective as that is, be known make any difference at all? Wouldn’t they just believe what they wanted anyways? I will always be that person to them no matter what I do. Right?
But part of me sees all of that as a fallacy. I am forcing them to not know me so I therefore cannot blame them for not seeing me for who I think I am. And for all of these secrets, only a handful of people know why my answer is complicated. The best example is my Masters of Education. Few know that I have it. Is it their fault for thinking me “less” than I am? I am all but requiring them too. And for what? Because I want them to approve or disapprove of me as I am. The real stinker is that I judge them by their covers as well. How often do I walk down the street condemning people without giving them a chance at all.
And so in a roundabout way, this brings me back to something else I’ve been pondering for a while.
I’ve known for a long time that it is impossible to meaningfully portray or discuss, whether verbally or in writing, a group of people while you simultaneously look down your nose at them. This is probably obvious to most people, so long as they were given half a chance to even consider it. This presents a problem for me in that I am intolerant of a significant number actions, beliefs, or just people around me, all the while I carry some romantic notion that I might someday (or currently, if I am forced to admit it) be able to explain what I see and hear (not to mention feel) to the world around. I can see the anger and frustration and ridicule in my words. My blog is like a running record of it. It’s there for all to see. It’s my shame. But it’s also my only salvation. I can see my anger. Maybe it’s not too late to escape it.
I complain about the way that they act or talk or the things that they say or believe. I am ever the critic. But what is important? What is right? Am I any more right than them; is any one way better than another? Is the redneck always wrong? Is the educated person always right? (The always is what gives it away.) If truth is subjective, if life is how we see it. . . does it ever really matter?
How do we choose?
Where does the decision, maybe the lie, slide us down that slippery slope, originally hidden from us but now in full view, and lead us astray? How can we ever know? When do we become the person that lies and knows that they can do anything? Or become the person that has forsaken their future because they are hiding their past? When will it all be enough? When is it too much?
It brings me to an impasse. Ever trying to understand what it all means.
If I can no see right or wrong, whether in regard to an absolute morality or the existence of god or any of the millions of other questions of purpose, if I will ever see the world in technicolor, where does that leave me? Ever critical of people because of how I view those elements of who they are because it dares to break with my own false notions of what is good and desirable and necessary? Always longing for characters that simply cannot exist because they are an impossible standard, some self-sacrificing superhero?
Not believing in god--not an omnipotent being, not a creator, not any part of organized religion--and living in what I can either refer to as Oz or the bible belt, neither and both being quite fitting, I am sometimes amused by the oddest thing. I can completely appreciate the humor of the woman who couldn’t understand how anyone would worship the creation but not the creator, and meanwhile be overwhelmingly annoyed by the hyper religiosity of my fellow inmates. That said, after my computer fiasco (lost all data and it was only found after I begged the powers that be or not for help were they found), find myself more and more praying to whatever higher power exists simply to survive my day. It all seems painfully ironic as I know that my prayers are for wants and not needs--no one needs an A in Cataloging, and I will surely not receive one--but there are people being maimed and murdered as we speak. Are my wants any more pressing than their desire to survive the next minute? I think not.
I can only ponder all of this. I know that I am greatly faulted. I see my resentments and strange passions. I know where I’ve been. I don’t want it to consume me. But it has. In ways that I have yet to truly understand. I want to move beyond it. And I want to see where this strange fascination takes me. I want to know people like these characters, and honestly--if you’re willing to take that leap and trust an admitted liar--I want to be like them. I have to not be afraid of where I came from or who I’ve known or been, because in the end they are a part of me. I am happy knowing myself. It’s okay that I am critical, so long as I am also loving and, at least sometimes, forgiving. I can accept that I judge and hate, but I need to at least be aware of it as I do it. . .and at the very least try to accept others in ways that I wish for them to accept me. I can accept that there is no right or wrong, not really, not without qualifications. I am willing to move through life ever judging the terrain for its obvious and not-so-obvious landmines, but I have to be willing to accept that I cannot always agree with my decisions once I realize the consequences--I could not have known that taking chorus in eleventh grade would lead to my getting pregnant at seventeen--I can only hope that I will at the very least be proud of who I was as I made them.
I’d like to end with some great wisdom, some amazing understanding of what is or is not, of why I cannot share myself with the world--all the while baring my “soul” here. But I just don’t know.
What I’m listening to: Len Horne’s Lady’s a Tramp