Sunday, May 25, 2003

these are the loneliest hours, i think -- the hours that lie between the late late night and early early morning, when you're literally all alone and there is no sound of human activity to keep your frenzied mind occupied. i watched The Hours at Doc tonight with janice, and we came back here after the movie depressed and morose and seriously in need of something to make the world a happier place to live in. those of you who have seen the movie will understand what i mean by the mood the movie put us in: the terror of settling for second best and realising too late that second-best is too confining, too terrifyingly predictable and boring to handle any longer, and yet being unable to break away, being unable to leave; the fear of knowing that life in its fullness is too much to bear, too much to handle; the idea that a love so strong and true and powerful can still be insufficient reason to stay on this earth. to know that you can love someone faithfully for years and years and years and still, ultimately, be unable to live with that person - how do you tell the person you're with that 'there's someone else i cannot live without, and yet will never be able to live with'? how do you find a person who can understand, and forgive, and accept that there will forever be a part of you that belongs 110% to another human being that he will never be able to touch or reclaim?

i think Virginia Woolf -at least as she was portrayed in the movie- affects me the most: that she could write a letter to her husband telling him that the hours, the time they had together were the happiest she had ever been, that the love they shared made her happier than she thought possible -- and yet that was not enough, and she chose death over life with her husband, a life that would forever be circumscribed and misunderstood...it broke my heart that i understood, to the limit of my ability to understand without having been there myself, why she chose to drown herself...because her life was out of her control, because her life was not the life she wanted to lead and her life had no escape. death was her last choice, her last statement against the confinement of the gilded cage, and the confinement, the torture of the irreconcilable nature of her inner and outer lives.

and what Richard said to Clarissa right before he jumped out the window made me start sobbing right in the middle of Doc: he reminded her of the first morning he had called her Mrs Dalloway, when he thought she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, and she was only eighteen and he was only nineteen and they had life in front of them -- and then he told her that he loved her, that he had always loved her, and then he fell out the window...my heart has been broken many times tonight. i'm not sure why i keep doing this to myself. clarissa earlier in the movie also talked to her daughter julie about the happiest moment of her life, and knowing what happiness is -- and you know what happiness is? there really isn't a beginning to happiness. i think happiness is standing on the cusp of something and knowing that there lies ahead of you the potential for so much joy that you can't begin to hold it all in your soul. happiness is knowing that you are going to be happy. happiness is being able to see the potential for more happiness - it's such a hard thing to express, though i can feel inside my body the idea pulsing with life and begging for the words to spill out of my fingertips.

i think part of my problem is that i find myself putting parts of myself into their characters, and knowing that i might react as they reacted makes me scared out of my mind. i don't focus on the relationships they find themselves in -i'm sure there are some points of view that will talk about how they're making a choice between the relationship and life/death- but rather on the inner focus that the women themselves have found themselves contemplating. sometimes, it's a pure and selfish choice: you choose yourself over another human being, and if that choice compells you to do something like wade into a river with rocks in your coat, or fall off your window ledge in front of the woman who has loved you for years, then you still have to go ahead and do it. there's nothing for it. i really don't think this movie was tackling the question of happiness, except in an oblique sort of way: the real question really is -- how do you want your life to be? what can you bear and what can you resign yourself to accept? what sort of restrictions are you going to allow the world to insert on you? and where do you find your inspiration to carry on living?

how do you fight being lonely in the wee hours of the morning/night, when all you want is someone to be with you, to hug you and reassure you that this world isn't as sad and hopeless and terrifying as it seems, that you are strong and that you can make it through this alone? how? i don't know. all i know is that sometimes --all too often-- the right thing to do feels like the worst, most painful thing to do, and yet somehow it has to be done.


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