October 14th, 2001

(no subject)

We watched Bicentennial Man again last night. Various folks were talking about how that was the movie that convinced them that Robin Williams was an extrordinary actor. And I will agree that it does take a pretty impressive actor to manage to cry without tears and some of those things.

But in stewing over my gut level reaction that I didn't really feel like it was his most phenomenal acting or anything and that the movie is hardly one of my favorites of his, something sort of clicked.

Sometimes there is a story that is done so well that other renditions of that same story lines in other times or whatever, will just never be able to hold a candle to the version that was so exceptionally done.

For me, the story of Peter Pan and the follow up movie Hook, that Robin Williams was also in, are much the same story as Bicentennial Man. And both the original written story/sceen play and Hook are so utterly exceptional in my mind that very very little could top them. Granted, Robin Williams has a better chance than most at being able to top one of his previous performances. And certainly he was exceptional in the role in any objective sense, but it just can't compare to my love of PP and Hook.

Both stories are stories of the nature of being outside of the course of life. The effects of having the choice between being human or being eternal. Both are stories of the importance of a fall from grace and the need for humanity and curiosity that sparks it. Pan realizes as the people he loves on earth age and leave him that there is something more fundamental than grace. He takes the apple when he picks his happy thought and wants to be a father. Andrew takes it when he begins to feel remorse and love for a little girl and wants to know her in every way possible.

Both are trapped with the dilema of their own mortality in exchange for their ability to love and grow and be human in all respects. Both know that it was easier to fight, crow and serve than it is to understand what it is to be whole, but both are driven by what is perhaps the core of humanity, their curiosity and need for love.

For me, both of those renditions are fascinating representations in some sense, but to me, the magnitude of ability to accurately portray a child and child like innocence without overdoing it or making it trite is far more of an acting challenge than being a robot. Williams is good at both, but I know that he spent many years as a mime and that something mechanical is one of the most basic fundamentals of that art. He was exception at it, by any realistic measure, since he put himself through school on such performances. But it takes...a certain development of extreme art beyond just skill to capture a child without simply capturing the characature of a child...without giving into the hollywood stereotypes. Robin Williams is one of the only men I can imagine capable of doing so so well.

Bicentennial Man is certainly a good movie, and one that I would happily watch again, but I think that it will never touch me as deeply as Hook has, or stay with me as long. It endures for me much more on the basis of a line from a Robert Fulghum essay than because of it's overall effect. "Just-a-man who loved just-a-woman for just-a-time more than anything else in the world." On that front it can always make me cry. But it does not haunt me and return to my thoughts the same way as his emotion as a child.
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(no subject)

So Joel just started a new schedule at work. And Deb and I got into it again in the car on the way home. The whole thing is so frustrating and I've gotten to the point that I feel sufficiently cornered and poked at about details that I have a hard time not crying at the subject coming up at all. I know that part of this is probably me being too sensitive, but every time the subject comes up I get reminded that "no, it's just me who has a big problem with it" and "x, y and z will really suck if he doesn't work there" and stuff like that that it's hard not to feel like everyone is just telling me I'm a selfish bitch.

I'm not meaning to be a selfish bitch. I'm really trying to cope with this. And Deb swears that all she really wanted was to understand why it matters so much to me. I've heard about 15 times that it seems to her like we're trading times that Joel is cranky anyway for more time when he's not cranky. And at least once, I managed to totally hurt her feelings because she was looking forward to things as more time with me.

The unfortunate side effect being that I just felt like more of a monster for not feeling like one spouse substitutes for the other or for having both around when it matters to me. I think Deb and I are just having really bad communication mishaps in the direction of talking about our fears and such. And I'm just scared of the subject at all at this point because I keep ending up in tears and feeling guilty and trying to comfort Deb eventually because my feelings got hurt when she was attempting to express fears.

I don't know what to do with the whole mess. I found another job that Joel could do online and asked him if I could put in his resume. His first reaction was that he didn't want to leave yet and has had trouble before with leaving jobs too quickly on his resume or whatever, so he likes to have the excuse that they fired him or ran out of money or whatever.

Personally I consider it a hedging his bets sort of thing. That he will never be able to negotiate as nice a deal if he waits till we're desperate to do so, and they have certainly yanked his chain and flipped his schedule and are attempting to make it unnecessary to even need people as senior as he is at his company because they have a business plan that made sense in '97 and is absolutely insane today because no one is looking to buy up companies and things like that but they're proceeding anyway.

And so Deb talked to him some and convinced him that he could always say no and such like, so he's at least remotely willing, mostly because they're both tip-toeing around me.

This is made worse by the fact that I can't really very effectively manage to explain why in hell the schedule thing matters to me. I'm trying to write some about it here in hopes that writing will have the usual effect of making me less cloudy and frustrated with language.

So, why do I care?

Well, I've ended relationships because the person was working a different schedule and it made me feel like all of the time I wanted to spend with the person was unavailable. In those relationships something like 80% of what I wanted to share with those people was time relavent to evenings. Probably a lot of it had to do with my dad and the fact that my relationship with him was the only remotely sane thing I had to cling to growing up. Those were the times he was available and it just sort of became a part of my constant ingrained ritual that evenings were relax and get to feel safe and loved time even if we weren't doing anything more interesting than sharing the room whatching television together a hell of a lot of the time. Because see, things with my mother were really fucking bad a lot of the time when he wasn't around. We fought and she slapped me and it went rounds. But she was on her best behavior when he was around. She knew she couldn't get as out of control in front of him or her psychosis would get found out. So the only times I was safe at all at home and allowd to be myself or fragile at all were in the evenings when he was around as a sanity check.

That particular phenomenon is one that I associate really really strongly with a male presense, too. Deb gets her feelings hurt easily that I look to him for that, and with questions about what I did before he was part of my life. The answer is that I made do. And I forced some roles in my head that are inherrently male on her. And it made me really uncomfortable because I try hard not to impose male things on her at all. And it worked because it had to. But now there are two of them and Joel is distinctly male. So I have a lot less trouble with him filling that role for me.

Before this gets totally confused, it's not that I don't go to deb for protection or safety or other things, but...words suck at expressing things sometimes. To me a woman can protect you from the world outside and make you stronger for your journey and she can sometimes make you safer in being all that you're terrified you're not good enough to be. A man can protect you from yourself and from what you're afraid you've become, and give you a place to relax in the calm without judgement inside a fold of obliviousness and a simpler love...or something. I need both things in my life. That's why I'm polly.

And unfortunately for the present situation, I'm pretty much hardwired at this point to look for those male things as a relaxing in the evenings from the expectations of the day sort of release.

Add to that the fact that most of the things that I do all day are done then because it's the only time that I'm awake enough to do them, and the fact that that doesn't change just because his schedule changes, and I suspect that we won't be spending most of the time that we do have together actually doing anything together because that's the only time I can drag myself into doing all the other things that I need to do.

And then there are all the hundred other little details like dinners together being an absurdly important thing to me, and the fact that I'm totally uncomfortable with Joel driving downtown, with Deb just doing it all the time, and really dreading the only solution that leaves in my mind which is that I have to get up and 1am to get him home from a job. The fact that we can't get back into a car loan without more jobs if one of the cars are totalled, the fact that the only remotely disposable car is a stick which Joel has no experience with and that is a total cop catcher if ever there was one.

And on top of that there are a number of other silly litttle things like that I'm worried about money related to driving in constantly, the fact that we have to then insure Joel on a car, the fact that Deb, for whatever reason that I can't fathom seems really uncomfortable having the fight to get her unemployment insurance that would cushion things a bunch more. And I've just been a mess anyway from the stress and the most desperately in need of my evening decompress in safety time than perhaps ever I have been since I left the abuse of my mother's house.

This doesn't mean I want to end the relationship or even go for any single solution...just that i'm feeling really friggin' trapped and frustrated that I keep getting poked at that it's all my problem with things and no one else gets it. I keep trying to explain it, so the "I still don't get it" feels like it's just devolving into criticism because I'm clearly incapable of making it make any sense, even if that is totally not their intent in saying those things.
*sigh* Anyway, I have no idea if any of that made any more sense to anyone. And I really don't mean to get so friggin upset at the whole thing. I more than anyone else, wish that I didn't have reasons to panic about money or details and fears and frustrations. My back is a diamond mine and I mostly want to curl up in bed a cry all day, and that upsets me far more than it does anyone else, I'm sure.

*knocking head against a brick wall*
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(no subject)

P.S. I do realize that these gender roles are completely arbitrary and silly, but it doesn't change that that is what is inherrently comforting to me on some level I can't explain. *sigh*
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