Last Friday, Dave and I got the rare chance to go out - together. Being incredibly sleep deprived the options for our date dwindled down from mountain climbing, roller blading and hang gliding to - dinner and a movie. I chose, admittedly, a chick flick (that one about those women reading Jane Austin). Dave agreed because he owed me one for dragging me to "300". But when we got to the theater, though it was advertised on Yahoo it was not playing. So in a quick decision making moment we chose to see The Brave One with Jodi Foster.
Now, I am in no way shape or form recommending this movie. It's the kind of movie I used to go see before I almost died giving birth to Ellie. Before Ellie almost died during her traumatic birth and all the years of aftermath. No, now when I go to the movies I want to laugh or see a likeable bit of hokum, or be inspired. It was actually pretty odd that we found ourselves in this movie. We just kind of fell into it. It was pretty violent and Jodi Foster plays the part of being a tortured soul wonderfully by looking horrible to the point of creepy. The sexual scenes with their blip in blip out to incredible violence were just plain disturbing. But there was a message in it for me that made total sense and helped illuminate something I have been wrestling with.
To put this message into context I have to sum up the plot of the movie. Basically, Jodi Foster's character and the love of her life, her fiance', are brutally attacked in central park. He dies. She lives and wakes up after several weeks of being in a coma. Their dog is stolen by the attackers. In sum she lives through this incredibly difficult, awful experience where she sustains great pain and a huge personal loss. Then she gets herself a gun and becomes a vigil ante around NY City at night.
The message for me came toward the end when another character asks her about how she was coping with being a victim of a violent crime and losing the one she loves.
He asks her, "How do you come back from that."
She answers, "You don't."
That was the message for me. Lately I have been trying to retrace my steps. Regain the person I was before I lost my healthy daughter and hopes and dreams for a life that now is beyond my grasp.
She goes on to describe how who you were becomes a stranger to your new self. I get that. The old me is someone who couldn't fathom where I am now or how I live and think and feel.
The new self can feel like a stranger too at times. It can be discombobulating. It comes down to having to get to know the new self and be comfortable letting go of the old one in the wake of tragedy, hardship and loss. It's really the only way to survive and find solace. Because solace will come.
In Jodi Foster's character's case it comes in the form of annihilating her fears. In my case it has come with seeing Ellie blossom into such a beautiful child, being closer than ever to Dave and really understanding what matters in life in a way I didn't before. And in all that annihilating my own fears.
So I think there is no point in retracing steps to try and regain who I once was - because it's impossible. The circumstances for one won't allow it. I guess my retracing had allot to do with the fact that getting to know a stranger is difficult and scary sometimes. In my case, not as scary as Jodi Foster's character who seeks out her demons in the depths of New York City's long dark night. My demons are far more subtle - sometimes.
It's funny how wisdom comes to you exactly when you need it from the most unexpected places if you are brave enough to go there.