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kicking and screaming

Et tu, Brute?

September 1, 2013

in therapy in session

I am in mourning.

Yes, once again I am taking things that have absolutely nothing to do with me personally. Very personally.

I was being naive.

I just thought that geeks would be different.

Brains over beauty, right?

It is not even beauty per se. It’s youth that we are competing against.

In the end, you can’t fight youth.

Well, you can, literally, if you are Simon Pegg and his merry band of old school chums in the movie “The World’s End”.

As much as I laughed at the slapsticks in this movie starring my favorite duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and my favorite reluctant detective/doctor, Martin Freeman, I now think of Pegg’s character as a Shakespearean fool. One of those tragi-comic figures who in his outrageous conduct and verbosity states the truth that nobody wants to admit.

To make it brief, Gary King (played by Pegg) peaked in high school, and he’s been behaving the same ever since, driving the same car, wearing the same long black trench coat, listening to the same mixtape, while his high school buddies moved on and over their high school glory days. It was hilarious and at moments, endearing, to watch Gary trying to hold on to the residual of their shared youth.But it also made me wince.

Gary was the King back then. A real badass. In high school. We all know how that turned out: you graduate, you get a real job, you move on. Life happens. Reality sets in. Welcome to the real, fucking, world. We all did it. We moved on.

Gary though is different. He is committed. He’s been forestalling the march of time in his own way – you know, the car, the clothing, the hair, the mixtape. He refuses to “move on”.

Is this pathetic or heroic?

I winced because I could relate to Gary and I probably should not have admitted to that. In life, it’s always the former. Only in movies and in literature would we have been convinced of the latter.

 

It is something to do with death and time and age. Simply: I am eighteen in my mind I am eighteen and if I do nothing if I stand still nothing will change I will be eighteen always. For always. Time will stop. I’ll never die.

Nadie Smith, NW: A Novel

 

 

CODA:

[SPOILER ALERT. PLEASE STOP READING IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE AND YOU PLAN TO.]

 

 

To be honest, now that I’ve been chewing on this movie over and over in my mind, the ending of the movie depresses the heck out of me. Not because it portrayed a post-apocalyptic world… No. In fact, during the last scene of the movie, I felt happy for Gary – here he is, leader of the five musketeers. King again finally. He looked so truly fulfilled in the final freeze frame, his eyes glistening with excitement and purpose.

I find it depressing exactly because of this: that the ONLY thing that enabled Gary to defy the rules of growing up/old was literally the end of the world, that it will require a deux ex machina (an alien invasion for example) to stop life from turning into a long, drawn-out requiem for youth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have been wanting to write about this fear of mine, irrational or not, for a long time but refrained because I did not want to offend anybody. But I can’t ignore it any longer. It depresses the shit out of me on bad days. I am just going to come right out and say it:

With all due respect, I think the saying “Life begins at 40” is a crock of bullshit. It’s like saying the lottery winners are unhappy because now they have the trouble that comes with extreme wealth. Are we not supposed to be admitting to ourselves and the world that aging is scary and depressing? I don’t feel “Rah Rah Yeah Look at me I am a middle-aged woman” at all. I feel like shit, and now I also feel guilty for feeling like shit.

I am watching this aging thing in horror the way I watch a glass vase fall. In s-l-o-w m-o-t-i-o-n. I freeze. Eyes wide open. Wishing I could somehow turn back time to before the moment when the vase was knocked over. There is nothing I can do but to watch the vase hit the ground and break into pieces.

 

The trailers for “Mirror Mirror” and “Snow White and the Huntsman” reminded me how peculiar it is that in many of these tales, fear of aging drives people to the extremes in order to forestall the inevitable. And inevitable it is. On more and more occasions men would greet me with “Young lady!”, sometimes with a wink even because they knew they’re doing me a favor. It’s a secret handshake that firmly positions me in the category “women who have past their prime”. I hate this because, yes, it does make my steps lighter and lift my spirit. How pathetic it is that I now live for evidences of the residue of my youth?

 

Maybe I’d feel better about this whole aging thing if I felt I’d lived a life well-lived. For myself. As myself.

I spent 23 years of my life in school. The kids came. I had lived in a fog ever since. All of a sudden the fog cleared because the kids are old enough to spare me some free time, I opened my eyes and screamed when I looked at myself in the mirror.

What the fuck happened?

I feel cheated. I was put in cryogenic sleep but I did not wake up like Captain America. I demand a do-over! All the unfulfilled promises from my youth make me want to lie on my back and throw a big, giant tantrum.

“But I don’t wanna. NO! You can’t make me! It’s not fair!”

Waving my arms frantically to bat away the minutes. Covering my ears singing “LalalalalaIcan’thearyou” and shielding my eyes from the glaring tick-tock of time.

If I cry hard enough, scream loud enough, someone will relent and let me have my way right?

 

I noticed a varicose vein on my face today. I’m shell-shocked I guess. Watching Vivien Leigh who was 43 in “My Week with Marilyn” crumble under the frightening prospect of the march of time did not help either.

I hope you could see this as an acceptable excuse for my irrational outburst.

Just don’t call me “Young lady”.

And definitely don’t say “When I grow up, I want to be like you.”

 

ETA: Came across this cartoon… Yup.

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