Don’t you see yourself in every picture you love? You feel a radiance wash through you. It’s something you can’t analyze or speak about clearly. What are you doing at that moment? You’re looking at a picture on a wall. That’s all. But it makes you feel alive in the world. It tells you yes, you’re here. And yes, you have a range of being that’s deeper and sweeter than you knew.
When I was young, The Wizard of Oz was shown on television once a year. I always looked forward to watching the beloved classic, even though I could never get much farther than the castle scene without nodding off to sleep. my mother would say it must be because of the poppies.
The black and white portion of the movie scared me. I found Miss Gulch more frightening than her green skinned counterpart; real life monsters are much scarier than pretend ones. my grandmother had a neighbor who reminded me of the real world Wicked Witch, always chasing me away from where I rode my bike or tried to sled ride in the winter, even though it wasn’t her property to guard in the first place. I could easily picture her trying to take someone’s dog away from them.
But I knew if I could just get through the black and white portion of the movie, then all the fun would begin when it switched to color!
Meeting each of the main players was something I eagerly anticipated. Scarecrow, who was smart even though he claimed to need a brain.
(and now that song will be stuck in my head for the next 3 days)
The Tin Man, who was gentle and caring even though he thought he lacked a heart.
(my favorite part of the whole movie)
and The Cowardly Lion, who may have been timid but fought to protect his friends.
The way the Wicked Witch popped up and caused trouble was concerning, but the scariest thing childhood me thought she did was try to keep Dorothy from getting back to Auntie Em. that crystal ball scene got me every time!
In the end, they all realized that what they were ‘missing’ was within them the whole time, just not in the way they expected it to be. that lesson left a big impression upon me as a child. it suggested to me that the conventional way of doing things wasn’t the only way of doing things.
The Wizard of Oz may be considered a children’s movie, but it’s lessons have carried me through adulthood as well. life is full of wicked witches who try to make everyone around them feel as unhappy as they do, and people who hide behind curtains pretending to be much more than they are. sometimes we need reminded that home isn’t really a place but a feeling that lives inside of you, and to not let ourselves get so wrapped up in trying to reach Oz that we miss all that the yellow brick road has to offer along the way.
If you’re anything like me, then you aren’t just crushing on your alternate universe bae because of his looks or the characters he plays on screen, but also for what he shows of himself in interviews and appearances- his sense of humor and playfulness, his intelligence and professionalism, his gentlemanly manners, his likes and dislikes; the clay we use to sculpt him into our perfect match. as our admiration grows and blossoms, we look forward to spending time with our crush through video interviews and photographs. we regularly indulge in his talent with his movies, television roles, and audio recordings. we’re so proud of our guy! we want to show him off like parents with a portfolio of pictures in our wallets. so we tweet and we blog and we Tumblr, and we read other tweets and blogs and Tumblrs from people who are just as proud. well, maybe not just as proud because we all know that no one loves him as much as we do, but they think they do, so we humor them. it’s good, it’s great, it’s wonderful! until somewhere down the line, it starts to unravel.
maybe we’re not as interested in every single project he signs on for anymore. maybe we’ve seen so many photos of him that we start scrolling past when they show up in our timelines. maybe those other fans start annoying us with their drama, their misinformation, or their overuse of exclamation points. so we mute a few accounts, prune our subscriptions, limit our visits to all those Tumblrs. sometimes these changes are enough, distance makes the heart grow fonder. but sometimes a quick fix won’t do.
In the summer of 2012, I was blindsided by the news that Kristen Stewart had been caught cheating on Robert Pattinson. I felt betrayed on his behalf, I felt disappointed when he didn’t automatically break up with her, I felt relieved that I now had something to blame. I had been waiting for a push, a reason to move on from my crush on Rob and the Twilight fandom, and here it was. so I left. it’s not you, it’s me. I just don’t feel the way I used to. it’s better this way. it took a long time before seeing his picture brought nostalgic smiles instead of frowns, but it did happen. it was an odd reaction for me to take it so personally, I’m not really sure why I did. I was not a Robsten shipper, my dreams were not shattered by their relationship fail. it was just the last straw and I was mad that it was. I moved on quickly, and didn’t look back.
when Richard Armitage started disappointing me, it was a little different. I hid my head in the sand so that I wouldn’t see, I put my fingers in my ears so that I couldn’t hear, I misplaced my dissatisfaction onto other fan’s shoulders so that I wouldn’t have to admit to myself that it was the beginning of the end for me. I stepped back from the fandom, but that didn’t work. I threw myself back in, but that didn’t work. I found a backup bae to take some of the pressure off, but that didn’t really work either. I was stuck- no longer happy but refusing to move on. after taking an introspective look at myself, I was finally able to get there.
When you fall out of love with a celebrity crush, it can feel like a break up. that sounds silly to say, but it’s the honest truth. we form an emotional attachment to our ‘object of affection’. seeing their face, hearing their voice, and playing in the fandom playground, helps us to forget the stressful and confusing things that are going on in our real lives. so when it stops feeling meaningful, inspiring, and fun, well that just sucks! we can’t lament to other fans about it because that would be disloyal to the fan base, we can’t grieve about what has been lost because we were the ones who chose to leave. and that sucks double.
we feel ridiculous when we say these things out loud, we’re told it’s unhealthy. but what I’ve learned through my own experiences is this: it wasn’t really the celebrity that I was breaking up with, it was a version of myself. I was shedding a part of me that I had outgrown; recognizing that, acknowledging it without shame, is the opposite of unhealthy.
so if your guy no longer fits you anymore, it’s not as dire as it may seem. you’ll feel sad for awhile but odds are, you’ll find it all again with someone new, when you’re ready. and your new guy? he’ll be so swoony that you’ll wonder how you could have ever felt so strongly for those other guys. you’ll see.
I don’t know why this set of questions is named ‘comfy’ but that’s the title it came with, so…
1.) Q: how do you drink your tea?
A: under duress (because I don’t like it)
2.) Q: favorite dessert?
A: cake. it used to be chocolate cake but now that chocolate gives me horrid heartburn, I’m happy with white or yellow.
3.) Q: favorite season and why?
A: autumn. colorful leaves, the smell of wood smoke, and apple-butter at every festival/craft fair.
4.) Q: what cheers you up?
A: Christian Bale & Robert Sean Leonard dancing in Swing Kids.
5.) Q: cats or dogs?
A: cats. when I was 5 years old, I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said a cat, so that I could sleep all day and not clean my room. I’m 43 now and my answer hasn’t changed.
6.) Q: what’s your dream holiday? (I guess this questionnaire is British, so holiday means trip/vacation)
A: a cabin, a crackling fire, a few books, and food that magically appears without me cooking it.
7.) Q: how many kids do you want?
A: I have two. at one time I considered having a third, until my son pointed out that I had a hard enough time handling the two I had already. from the mouths of babes.
8.) Q: favorite weather?
A: rain. I love the murky skies, the smell of the air, and the pit-pat sound it makes on an umbrella. but mostly I like that it’s an excuse to stay indoors.
9.) Q: what would your last meal be?
A: homemade noodles, homemade bread, and fresh cut french fries. not exactly balanced but it’s my last meal, there are no rules.
10.) Q: you can spend 24 hours anywhere, any year, where do you choose?
A: any holiday from my childhood playing with my cousins at my grandparents house. except the one where I burnt my hand on the wood burning stove. not that one.
11.) Q: if you were a ghost, who or where would you haunt?
A: can I be a friendly ghost? if so, I’d hang out with little kids & be their ‘imaginary friend’
12.) Q: what is your family ancestry?
A: Heinz 57. the strongest ‘variety’ being British and Polish
13.) Q: what scares you?
A: ghosts. and the Blair Witch.
14.) Q: what are you most grateful for?
A: my family and my faith
15.) Q: dream job?
A: giving hugs
16.) Q: do you believe in aliens?
A: I’m open to the possibility. in my younger years I was afraid of aliens. but then I started watching the X- files and convinced myself that it’s all a government conspiracy, so now I’m over it.
17.) Q: favorite sport?
A: football. not that I completely understand it, but I like to watch it
18.) Q: how do you relax after a long day?
A: watch home improvement shows.
19.) Q: if you could meet one historical figure who would you choose and why?
A: Dean Martin. because he was Dean Martin. no explanation needed.
20.) Q: if you had to be a teacher, what subject would you teach?
A: stupid human tricks. I know a bunch!
21.) Q: describe your perfect day
A: I had a perfect day once. it was autumn in Washington D.C. I spent the day taking guided tours of the museums, strolling around the monuments, and feeding ducks by the duck pond. by myself. I ate a hot dog and popcorn for lunch. it was great.
I didn’t watch Dan Stevens’ new movie, Permission, just to get a better look at the tattoo on his rib cage. Okay, maybe I did. I’m none the wiser on the tattoo, but the movie was equal parts endearing & poignant. I enjoyed it very much.
Anna (Rebecca Hall) and Will (Dan Stevens) have been dating since their first year of college. They were each other’s first kiss, first sexual experience, first (and only) everything. As Anna gets ready to turn 30 years old and Will prepares to officially ask her to marry him, a drunken friend points out that they’ve only slept with each other. How can they be sure they really want to spend the rest of their lives together, if they’ve never experienced anyone else? This causes Will to hesitate and postpone his plan to propose, while Anna suggests they sleep with other people, because ‘sex is just sex’.
I’m sure you can see where this is going: awkwardness and heartbreak. Why would I want to subject myself to that? Especially when Will looks like such a cuddly teddy bear!
But it is Dan Stevens. I’ve grown to trust that his choices will be thought provoking or outside of the box in some form. So the day the movie became available to view, I debated for about 10 minutes before giving in.
Why I like this movie is hard for me to articulate. The story goes in the direction I thought it would, but how it got there exceeded my expectations.
It was funny in some areas: Will sleeps with an older woman who wandered into his woodworking shop. Lydia (Gina Gershon) is kooky, free spirited, and endearingly likable. Will’s naivete and her ‘anything goes’ personality lead to some cute and funny interactions.
Contemplative in others: The drunken friend is Will’s business partner, who happens to be in a same-sex relationship with Anna’s brother, Hale (David Joseph Craig). One of them can’t stop thinking about becoming a parent, while the other won’t even entertain the idea. Their scenes together are both beautiful and heartbreaking.
The color palette was serene: Sparsely decorated apartments in cool colors, an abundance of scarves and hats and fluffy blankets that add warmth in sweet moments, sensual skin shots that enhance the storytelling instead of exploiting it.
The acting enjoyable: Francois Arnaud as Dane, the heart-on-his-sleeve musician. He’s the other man who doesn’t know he’s the other man. He’s emotionally brave and has a really nice singing voice. I liked him much more than I wanted to.
The situations were awkward: Will tagging along as Anna and Dane get to know each other, Hale’s attachment to the sleep deprived father and baby that he meets at the dog park, when Lydia had much more planned for Will than just delivering a table.
The visuals were beautiful: The intimate scenes between Hale and Reece (Morgan Spector), Anna rediscovering her love of piano in Dane’s dimly lit apartment, the Christmas tree in the window of the brownstone Will renovated for Anna.
I liked all of the characters and just wanted to give each of them a hug! But when Will realizes that for he and Anna to grow, they need to do it apart? The tears!
I would have preferred an ending with more resolution. If not one where loose ends were tied up, at least one that suggested a direction for each character to go. Luckily, I’m a master daydreamer…
P.S.- Will owns a woodworking shop and is renovating a Brooklyn brownstone as a gift for his girlfriend. I know I said that already, but it’s worth mentioning again.