Thoughts by Richard Bleil
To tell the truth, I’m an idiot. For some reason, I’ve been watching romantic comedies, or “rom-coms”, which almost always make me weep like a baby.
GOD I’m an idiot.
So, the question becomes why I subject myself to this torture. A deeper question is why I cry when I do watch them.
Let’s start with, at least in part, why I watch them. Frankly, it’s because they’re lighthearted mindless floof. Yes, floof is a real word. Okay, no it isn’t but you still know what it means. I enjoy action movies, but you have to watch or there’s not much point to them. The story line in action flicks are usually light and the bulk of the movie is just fighting and running and killing and f…well, just action. I’m not a fan of drama, though. Movies that are meant to make me think kind of goes against the reason that I watch movies in the first place, namely, to get out of my head for at least a little bit and STOP thinking.
Rom-coms are not silly laugh a minute movies (which, frankly, I do enjoy just stupid humor movies), but they are often “cute”. They have their story lines, but you don’t really have to pay attention. Right now I have one of these movies on even as I type this. Okay, I’ve seen it before, but it’s one of those “cute” movies that are humorous and a weak story line but poignant plot points that, frankly, just hearing it helps fill in the emptiness of the room as I type. I can follow along without watching every moment, and the noise is low enough that it’s not terribly distracting.
Frankly, I should be listening to my tunes instead, but there it is.
Of late, I’ve been trying to figure out the points in these movies that affect me the most. Since doing this, it has been an interesting insight into my psyche and past.
The fact is that I’m an incurable romantic. I blame growing up with the Beatles. You know, all of those romantic love songs like Yellow Submarine and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. But whatever the reason, I’ve lived a life waiting to meet that one woman who is my world, who stands with me and is my partner, the woman I want to be with today and forever, but sadly, the women that I believe will fit that bill are all married to other men, and I’m too much of a romantic to try to interfere with happy relationships.
I thought I had found such a woman. I was so in love with Sarah. Yes, she was just drop dead gorgeous, but she was also sweet, intelligent, responsible, supportive and reliable. This is the woman I want to be with forever. Of course, that was before I knew she was an alcoholic and am responsible for her falling off of the wagon. I guess I will always love the woman I married, and I will always want to be with her, but that’s not the woman I divorced. The alcohol transformed her into a petty, vindictive, unfaithful (yes, she had at least one affair), angry woman that, by the end, I didn’t even find attractive anymore, not because of the way that she looked but because of who I knew she had become.
Most of these rom-coms have similar plot points. Towards the last third of the movie, the hero almost always looses everything. They screw up and the significant other leaves, often the friends will bail, and things begin to look hopeless. This is one point where the tears swell. I think the reason is obvious; the hero (or heroine) is alone, which is what I am, and things look hopeless. I can relate this point in the movie to me. It probably hurts more because it wouldn’t be a rom-com if things ended this way. I hurt because that person is where I am in my life, but I know that they will find a way to make it work out when, frankly, for me I’m certain that it’s too late. My life is as hopeless as that part of the movie seems for the main character.
Please try to avoid the “No, no, no, it’s not too late” cliché. It’s been too late for me for half a century now.
I’ve noticed that when the main character gets the support of family and friends, important people who stand with the hero or heroine regardless, or at the very least are happy to take her or him back, I will cry. I have fabulous friends that mean the world to me, and who have shown more love than I deserve in my life, but I’m still very much alone. Estranged from my family, these parts in the movie make me think of the family that was supposed to be important and stand by me.
Okay, this estrangement is mutual. The reality is that I walked away from them just as much as they left me behind, a choice I made because of the toxicity of the family towards me. I have no self-esteem. With as many accomplishments as I’ve had through the years, soaring to heights that many cannot imagine, I still feel worthless. I feel as if there is no value, and that nobody could possibly actually love me which is why I am so awkward and shy. I can stand in front of a roomful of strangers and talk for an hour with minimal effort, but around a woman I would like to get to know better my spine simply dissolves into jelly. Why should that be? The only answer I can come up with is growing up in a family that reinforced the lesson that I have no value, that I’ve never had a worthwhile accomplishment, and with certainty that I would never amount to anything. When these rom-coms have friends and families that stand by the main character, it reminds me that the people who were supposed to stand by me, those who should have celebrated my accomplishments, my family who were supposed to teach me of my own value simply didn’t. It was almost a sport to knock me down, with a father who invariably would insist that any young woman who did go out with me had to be “a real dog, eh?” before even meeting her (is it any surprise he never did?) and a sister who constantly reminded me how she felt “sorry” for anybody who would marry me.
This has somehow devolved into a therapy blog which wasn’t really my intent. But the point is that being aware of my emotions, noticing when I’m suddenly having a mood or difficult time in a movie, it is very insightful to ask why it might be so.