Saturday, October 9, 2004

Up Early... Like a Kid at Christmas

It's ridiculous really that I cannot sleep in even when a full 8 hours would do my weigh in such good.  The morning scale showed a 2lb gain, which isn't surprising.  I got to bed late with the intention of sleeping in late, but woke up and couldn't go back to sleep.  Part of it was probably hunger, part of it was apprehension of what the weigh in is going to say and part of it was how my mind has been working overdrive over a movie I saw last night.  Hopefully an article I read recently that says the best time to weigh in is after 9am is true and we'll see maximum results.  Whatever the scales say the measuring tape shows a loss of 3" this week - and that's big news considering the lack of exercise.

If you all would indulge me a bit,  I just need to purge this movie from my head.

I laughed when I saw sjburgess's comment below about Steve Perry, because Steve Perry factors very heavily into this movie and why I watched it.  About a year ago my very reclusive favorite singer came out with an interview where he stated that Charlize Theron had written him personally to get permission for the use of "Don't Stop Believin" for the use in a scene of the movie Monster.  I was very excited to learn that he not only gave his permission but also became part of the moviemaking process and even got a Musical Consultant credit out of it.

It was his involvement that made me root for Charlize to win the Oscar, rather than her performance.  Color me devoted.  I wanted to see this movie from the time it was in theaters last year but we don't really see the movies we want to right away.  I finally got the nerve to push it up in my Netflix queue to watch it even though I knew it was a huge downer of a film.

For those not familiar, Monster is the story of Aileen Wuornos, a serial killer from Florida who was executed in October of 2002 - two years ago today in fact.   Aileen was a prostitute and her victims were the johns who picked her up.  It's not a pretty story in the least, and I wouldn't have even watched it had it not been for Steve Perry's involvement.  Which, now, shames me.

The pivotal scene where Don't Stop Believin is used is where Aileen connects with Selby, a lonely lesbian searching for someone to love her - and from that moment on I was a bawling wreck.  To me, Don't Stop Believin was always a song of hope, but I don't think I ever before realized the hopelessness that was there as well.  And that is what is captured in this movie in an eloquent, painful way.  Two people meet, both of whom life has discarded, both of whom just needed someone, anyone to love them - both of whom "payin anything to roll the dice just one more time."

A lot of people probably pan the movie as justifying the deeds of a heartless serial killer.  And indeed I almost didn't want to post about it because you never know who reads this journal and it very well could be someone who was somehow affected (friend or relative of a victim) - but I just had to write about it because it has haunted me all night long. 

I came away from this movie profoundly affected.  Probably because Aileen was a woman and as a rape survivor I can connect with at least part of her pain.  But I think what disturbed me the most was just the pointlessness of the events that snowballed into a very angry woman who was able to kill for profit, for justice and in a weird warped sort of way - love.

It made me want to rush out and find someone who was on that cusp and just pull them in to prevent something like this happening again.

Knowing Dan I have a unique insight on what mental illness aggrevated by circumstances can do to an otherwise loving and good person.   When I met him I was a very optimistic 17 year old who believed that love did conquer all.  And he was incredibly emotionally damaged by the time I met him.  What he had gone through with his family, through his childhood and his adulthood had turned him into an angry young man who believed that each person who claimed to care about him was a breath away from stabbing him in the back.  And, as the bright eyed optimist I was, I just knew if I loved him enough it would fill all those holes and in fact heal him.

But the truth was there was not enough love to fill those holes.  For years we struggled - him with distrust and anger, me with my trademark stubbornness and hopefulness.  It took until I was approaching my 30s to realize, it wasn't up to me to save him.  Just like Selby couldn't save Aileen.  The damage was too widespread.

The difference between Aileen and Daniel first was that Aileen had it way worse than Daniel did.  First off, she was a woman - and from the age of 8 on was taught to be nothing more than a sperm toilet for men.  It was how she survived.  This isn't that shocking, really.  A lot of women who are sexually abused as kids end up sexually promiscuous, some even choose the route of hooking to survive.  There's something that happens when you're violated so young that makes you think that's all you're really good for.  Considering my own attack at age 4 lead me down a similar path (I wasn't a prostitute, but I was promiscuous), I could understand the foundation of her choices.

It lead to a lifetime of being used and discarded, used and discarded.  Daniel had a similar experience, but being sexually used and discarded corrodes your self esteem to nothing.  To beyond nothing.  I heard somewhere that something happens spiritually when you have sex with someone, that you take on more than just a physical connection - but an intensely spiritual one as well.  You end up taking on their spiritual karma or energy just by default - because sex is a lot more than just two bodies connecting.  When you think about the kind of men who would pay a woman on the side of the road for sex and multiply that times the many years she must have done this, it leads to one messed up human being.

Not that this gave her the right to kill.  God knows that's not what I'm saying or even the film is implying.  It's simply shining the light on a very ugly, painful subject to pose the question - how could this have been prevented, and how can we prevent something like this again in the future.

My answer is to never give up hope on anyone.  No one is disposable.  Jesus Christ died for all, not just some, and that included Aileen Wurnous.  Instead of turning away, as it is so easy to do, maybe it's time we look closer and realize that people are more than just their bad choices.  I don't believe anyone is born evil - but the evils of this world can certainly wear off on those who are wounded and damaged as Aileen and Daniel were.

Daniel's story had a happy ending.  I believe with all my heart had he not met me he would have had a lot rougher time of it.  God only knows how far he would have gone in his own desperate journey to find a place where he was loved and accepted.  Instead he found me.  He found someone to believe in him and stand up with him through all the chaos.  That helped to heal some of his wounds and give him the license to become more than his emotional baggage.  I truly believe that anyone who didn't meet him was incredibly cheated out of knowing one of the kindest, most generous human beings ever to walk the planet.  All he needed was someone who recognized that seed and nourished it to grow.

And maybe that was all Aileen needed.  That she did not find thatabsolutely breaks my heart.  If there is any one thing I believe no one should ever be without, it's the unconditional love of someone who accepts you for all that you are, good and bad.  And for anyone to die without finding it is a crying shame.

Maybe this is where the label bleeding heart liberal comes from, but I truly believe that where there is life, there is hope.  There are those who are inexcusably evil, Hitler, Saddam Hussein, etc - but for the rest I have to believe that the good in people will overcome the bad.  It just takes courage enough to believe and courage enough to love the unlovable.

I'll be back later with a weigh in.  I just had to get that off my chest.

Here's the article about Steve Perry's involvement:

Fan Asylum: Steve Perry

I'm just so proud of him and respect him all the more for recognizing the film for what it was. 

And Charlize?  You deserved that Oscar, girlfriend.  I don't know where you pulled that performance from but a standing ovation for you.  Excellent, excellent performance.


1 comment:

missparie86 said...

I couldn't agree more with your entry. Matter of fact it's because of your entry that I'm going to watch the movie. I heard a lot about it and I've known of it but movies like that tap into a place I hate to be. I've never been raped/molested I just know people who have and it hurts me to know people can be so brutal. I've just gotten into reading your journal daily and while I don't know who Daniel was I'm just happy that he found you. You are a truly wonderful and genuine person. I'll be checking in later on during the week cuz I need to get out of here and be on my way to class. But soon as I get back home I'm going to watch Monster. Take care Ginger.