I needed to recover from yesterday’s loss. Being an introvert, I also needed to recharge from all the energy of meeting new people and being sociable, engaged, and entertaining. I really don’t mind or dislike socializing, it just takes a toll on me.
Watching movies has always been that recuperative escape for me. It allows me to be alone but still have company. To be around others but not have to socialize. For a couple hours I get to see and be part of someone’s life without having to participate or engage. Experience someone else’s victories and losses. Live with love and happiness and process heartbreak and hurt. I have been going to the movies all my life and it is one of my favorite past-times either with friends, family, loved ones, or by myself. I’ve spent many nights on my own at the theatre. It was one of the first places and first activities I learned to love by myself without feeling strange for it. Sometimes I even purposely wait to watch a movie until it’s been out for a month, then pick the latest showing on a weeknight, go to the quietest theatre in my area, just to have the whole place to myself. I don’t feel afraid being alone when I’m here.
Today I wasn’t though, so that was fun. One of my best friends is just as crazy about movies as I am and we’ve met up a lot to watch films our other friends didn’t have any interest in. Today was one of those times and the movie was Swiss Army Man. I mean, believe me I get it. Have you SEEN the trailer for this move? (Link below). It’s weird. It’s trippy. It’s just my type of indie, unpredictable, surreal life flick. But I didn’t know it was also a love story.
I’m a huge anti-spoiler stickler. So I won’t give much away or talk about the movie itself. I will however absolutely vouch for this film and recommend it to any of you readers who are interested after watching the trailer. If there is even a spark of interest, a slight possibility you feel you might be interested, if the absurdity and the surrealness of the situation hasn’t turned you off immediately, you have what it takes to go and enjoy and appreciate this film. This is a movie that was made for a specific audience and it loves and cares and pays attention and respect to that audience and delivers everything it asks of. It was humorous, light, poignant, yet heavily relevant and incredibly relatable, strange as it may seem. It never lingers on the impossible. Never emphasizes the ridiculous. It treats every aspect, the pain of isolation, the hope of connection, even the projectile flatulence, as all equally real, equally important, and equally integral. You never really have time to question the absurd because you believe it as much as you believe that a man can feel sadness and despair and loneliness. And you hope for it just as much by the end as well.
But I didn’t know it was a love story. I didn’t know it was going to also be about unrequited love. Or confused love or just…obsession or dedication or want of love and need of love and…hunger…for love. And I wasn’t ready to relate to another person, real or not, in such a deep way so similar to the pain I have been trying to process. Every feeling was a memory, every pain was already a scar. Every hope had already been dreamt.
My other friend’s girlfriend used to be an English major like myself. We had a brief chance to control the conversation and steer it to our interest and she mentioned how she believed that there were no more original stories left in the world. That every plot, every tale, every dream had been formulated already and whatever we could feel or perceive had already been done. ‘There are no more original stories’. What does that mean for my love, my pain, my loss, my insecurity, my fear? I still have a story to tell. I still have to process everything by sharing and throwing my experiences out into the void hoping it will catch on someone else’s journey and help guide them. Derivative though it may be, my one-of-a-million story is important and seeks the same justification and legitimization as all the stories of the past.
I wanted to share my pain with my friend. I couldn’t stop the tears from falling during the movie. When the credits rolled and the few other members of the audience had left and I was desperately trying to brush away the tears as discretely as possible my friend was pondering how any of the movie could have been possible, trying to ask the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ and questioned the origin of the ‘multipurpose tool guy’. I couldn’t care less. I believed in the man because I believed the emotions he felt and therefore all his actions were real too. I felt a connection and a camaraderie I wasn’t expecting and caught fully off-guard I indulged in a few tears and emotions I hadn’t faced in a little while. I wanted to explain to her why I was crying. I wanted to share my story, share this blog that none of my family and friends even know I’ve started. But it’s too early still in my journey. The pain is still raw, my process is still being made up as I go along, and the words are still too rash and untested. I’m not ready to show where I am so far. I need to grow more.
I’m glad I got to watch Swiss Army Man. I’m glad it was a love story. I’m glad it allowed me to live by proxy through its story to express some sadness and pain and loss because I haven’t allowed myself to feel that way thoroughly and honestly and openly. They did a spectacular job. There is something in this movie for you if you are reading this. If my message has ever resounded with you in any way, you’ll find a part of me, a part of you, in this film. Loneliness is not the end of our story. Absurdity is the joy and plot of our lives. You don’t need to figure out who or what or where or why or even how. No one ever really questions the multipurpose tool guy. It is, like anything else, just another way for one of us to learn to cope and survive and live, and hopefully one day happily love. There is no reason why any one of our stories of searching and loneliness should be any more absurd than any other. We learn to love. We seek love.
Thank you, Swiss Army Man.
Man: 5 Loneliness: 1