Monday, February 27, 2017

The Oscars (Part II)

   People love to hate the Oscars. Everyone always has something to say about a nominee or the host. There is always going to be "too much politics" or "not enough people from x group of people." And of course; the Oscars are the most pointless thing. It's a bunch of overpaid individuals getting praised for being who they are.

   But I love it. I love it.

   I said this last year when I watched my first Oscars and I'm just here to say it again.

   Art is so important. Whoever thinks otherwise can honestly fight me. Movies are art and they matter because they have power. As much as we like to think it's stupid to be an actor, they have the power to make change. Sure, it's kinda shallow that we will listen to actors before we listen to politicians or people of a "real position." But that's the position they're in. Whether or not I agree with every actors political view, I really appreciate how they use their voice to stand up for something they believe in.


   I even love listening to their acceptance speeches that only list a bunch of names because they're naming real people who have real stories. They all worked hard and got a lucky break at some point in order to be up there, and there are people, their family and friends, that helped them and inspired them to get there. I don't know who any of those people are who won awards, but I know they were living a dream. I get secondhand joy watching people. I cried because I'm a sympathetic crier. I feel their happiness like it's my own and I know how much I would be feeling if I was accepting an award for making art.

   Again, I said this last year, but you don't have a right to be mad when politics are brought up in ceremonies that celebrate art. Art and politics are intertwined. Movies are made as a representation or a response to real issues that are happening today. Movies have the ability to make us think and make us act. Art exists for this reason. Movies are the product of someone's story, life, and vision. Movies are made because people wanted to say something. They're not made by robots. They're thought out and planned by people who have dreams and fears and aspirations. They are made by people who have experienced hurt and joy that have contributed to how the film is created. People see a need, and they rise. They create a movie to inspire people to make a change.

   And don't you dare tell me that movies can't create change.

   My sister wouldn't want to study psychology if Short Term 12 had never been made. Movies have helped me become the person I am today: Mad Max: Fury Road, Silence, The Sandlot, The Breakfast Club, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Good Will Hunting, We Need To Talk About Kevin, and honestly so many more that I can't even give credit to. Movies help you feel more empathy. They help you understand. Movies are how I relate to people. I've made so many friends just by discussing movies.

   The movie that changed my life would be Hangman's Curse. A cheesy, terribly done movie about high school and bullying. It has the worst dialogue, corny acting, and a vast array of plot holes. But when I saw it when I was ten years old, I knew I would never be the same. I saw that kids were hurting and there was something bigger than myself. It was the reason why in middle school I always said I wanted to change the world. That movie showed me how to connect to others and really showed me what it was to love.

 
   A documentary that changed my life was The Woodmans; the story of a young photographer who committed suicide in 1981. If I hadn't seen that film, I never would have decided to experiment with black and white photography. I never would have realized that art doesn't have to be pretty. I never would have developed what would eventually become my signature style. I probably would have stuck to pretty portraits and happy themes, which wouldn't have been able to impact me the way black and white photography has.

   I'm sure it's not just me. Everyone has that one movie that changed their life, right? Everyone knows how it feels to walk out of a theater and feel like a character in the movie. Sometimes we feel odd for days after because it reached us on such a profound level.

   Movies make people feel like they're apart of something. It's a sense of community. I suppose one person could theoretically make a movie on their own, but as a general statement, movies are made with hundreds of people doing hundreds of jobs. Thousands of people experience those films once they're made. Each person brings in their own baggage and background and mindset and it shapes the film and shapes how the film is seen. And if that doesn't blown your mind than I don't know what will.

   Watching the Oscars makes me dream. I'm sure I'll never win one in my lifetime, but if I can be a part of something in any way, I will have felt I lived. I want to bring in as much passion into the musical I'm doing at my community college as I would if I were making a movie, because it doesn't matter if I never get anywhere or if not a lot of people will see it; it just matters that some people were impacted. Some people will appreciate it. Not everyone has to see your art, but if you can move one person, you're that much closer to changing the world. We can't change the world all at once, but we can do it one person at a time.

   Please keep creating art. Keep appreciating the existence of art. Keep living and dreaming and being inspired. Keep going to the theater. Keep loving.

   Love. Love. Love.

   Love things. Love people. Love the stupid things that don't matter and will be here today and gone tomorrow. Because all those stupid little things add up to create the human experience. They create life.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

i dont know

   I'm not sure what to say.

   There's been so much going on inside my head. So much that I haven't been able to write. My thoughts just get jumbled together. There are a million topics to discuss and a million ideas to share. But nothing has been working. Words have been betraying me.

   But guys. I'm not okay.

   I haven't been for a very long time.

   It's not like every day is a total mess. I have good days. Actually, most of my days lately have been really good. But this week just hit hard and I'm tired and lost. Today actually, today I'm numb.


   It's weird because I'm the best I've ever been, and the worst I've ever been. Both at the same time. I've grown more recently then I ever have before, but everything still hurts. I can't believe everything still hurts. You know, lately I've written so many pieces about perseverance and faith and everything. But it's hard. I mean, it's easy to say "its going to get better" on good days. But on every other day, I'm seriously contemplating the idea that I might never feel better. I don't know if it will. Van Gogh said it once in his letter. "I fear this sadness will last forever." I fear that too. I don't know how much more I can take. Sometimes I think that I just can't do this anymore. I just wish none of this had ever happened. I just want to forget.

   I don't know. Maybe God wants more for me than to just feel better.

   I don't know. Maybe I'm asking for something small when I pray to not be in pain anymore.

   My philosophy professor said something that I can't stop thinking about. He said "Torture happens to your body; torment happens to your soul." And it reminded me of the verse about Paul's thorn in the flesh. He said it was to torment him. Torment, not torture. I know a lot of scholars say his thorn must have been his physical illnesses or injuries. But I'm wondering if he was plagued with a chronically broken heart. I wonder if I'm going to have a chronically broken heart.


   I might. I might never feel better ever again. But maybe I wasn't meant to feel better. Maybe this life isn't about my feelings.

   Sometimes I think it's better to be in pain. At least when I'm in pain, I don't think I'm better than anyone. At least then I stop relying so much on myself. At least when I'm hurting, I'm more compassionate towards others.

   It's just been a cycle though. Me being okay, and then pain comes and I remember to have faith. I persevere and it gets better. Then more pain until I remember to trust again. It's just a giant circle. I don't think I've ever been this emotionally tired. I don't want to try anymore. I just want it to be over.

   That's the truth, right? I don't want this to make me stronger. I just want it to end. I just want to wake up one morning with my mind wiped of all the terrible things I can't stop remembering. It hurts.

   It's been a nightmare for my family, seeing me like this. It's annoying for my friends. Nothing has been easy. It sucks because I really thought I would feel better by now.

   I just want to take pictures and draw until I have forgotten everything. I want to write until my words run out. I want to stop thinking and overthinking. I don't want to wait. I just want to know how this plays out.

   But I don't know. That's all I can think. I don't know how to make this feeling go away, I don't know how to move on, I don't even know what to pray for or what I need. I don't know what to learn from this. Because sometimes pain just hurts. You know? Sometimes it doesn't make you better or stronger; sometimes it just makes you feel weak. I don't know how to be a good example to my girls in my small group. I don't know how to be a good example to my siblings who don't understand why some nights I can't stop crying. I don't know if I'm a good enough Christian or a good enough leader. I don't know how long this is going to last. I don't know if it was worth it. I don't know anything.

   But I keep holding on to the words in Jon Bellion's song "Maybe IDK."

   "Although I guess if I knew tomorrow, I guess I wouldn't need faith. I guess if I never fell, I guess I wouldn't need grace. I guess if I knew His plans, I guess He wouldn't be God. So maybe I don't know. But maybe that's okay."

   I don't know anything. But maybe I need to stop focusing on the stuff I don't know and think about the stuff I do know.

   Like I know I'm not alone. I know I've gotten through 100% of my worst days. I know I have people that love me. I know art exists and so does music. I know I have you guys; and all of your support makes everything suck so much less.

   I guess I don't need to know it all.

   The truth is, I don't know if I'll be okay. I don't. But that's okay. Because I don't need to feel better. I just need to keep living anyway.

   Sorry I'm just rambling. I just didn't want you guys to think I fell off the face of the world. I just wanted you guys to know what's going on.

   Here, enjoy my spotify playlist. It's been getting me through a lot lately. (The songs at the bottom are the best.)

   Don't worry about me. I'm going to keep making art because that's all I can do. I'm going to breathe even though it hurts. I'm going to survive.