August 4, 2012

"Rear Window" Details , Fargo versus the Olympics

I've shared that this past weekend, our family visited with good friends in our old hometown. 

My emotional vulnerability showed up while staying overnight at their home. It was simply that  "screen story" interfered with my emotional serenity.  Even so, my "slip" was significant enough that it warrants reflection. I shall write this out,  so as to "not regret my past nor shut the door on it." 

Some of you may know  the movie, Fargo.   I'd vowed never to see the movie again, because  of the enduring memory of one sociopathic character grinding his accomplice in a wood chipper. Turned out, my friend's family owns the movie and is fascinated with the sing-song Minnesotan dialogue!  

After dinner we adults were focused on the family-friendly Olympics. Our boys, however, had tuned into Fargo, and were watching car-salesman, William Macy,  hatching his diabolical plot. 

To pay off debt, Macy was readying to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife and demand a ransom for her safe return. He would later plea for his business partners (namely his father-in-law) to pay the money to the kidnappers. Macy's plan was to collude with the criminals,  pay  them a small percentage of the take, and keep the rest. 

It is a pathetic, badly executed idea from the get-go.   Long story short, the wife is not safely returned and we see too many people losing blood on the white landscape of a midwest winter.

If I had early say in the matter, and our sons were younger, I'd have quashed this choice of movie.   I am, alas, not  an authoritarian parent. Nor am I able to let DS watch a charged movie, without occasionally checking in. That is how I find myself in the Olympics vs Fargo. 

I watch as the money-making plot goes terribly wrong, spinning out of any semblance of control. 

Macy lets everyone else but himself act out the crime. By showing up with the ransom money, and demanding his daughter back, his father-in-law becomes the fourth person killed in this botched crime.

Watching this film is painful, for we see Macy acting very powerless.  And we see each killing, face-to-face.  

What redeems the ugly, unravelling scheme,  is the cast of midwesterners,  police and citizens alike, bundled up against the elements, speaking sparsely (with those accents) puzzling about these very weird events taking place in bleak, black-and-white Fargo, North Dakota.

Especially redeeming is the quick wit of the local copper who solved the crime. She has the guts to apprehend the sociopathic thug at a remote lake cottage, in the act of feeding his accomplice's foot into the grinding machine. The movie thankfully ends shortly after this grizzly scene; the criminal must endure the lady cop's common-sense moral commentary as she brings him in. Other cops apprehend Macy at a hotel.   "Just a sec," he tells the police, just before they break the door down. Macy is a pathetic coward, rightfully afraid to face the consequences  of what he has done. 

I appreciate redemptive, true movies, but my psyche is vulnerable to violent tales about the darker side of human nature. Especially when bedtime is on the heels of a midnight ending.   I was afraid.  First, that I'd not done right by my son. Then afraid  of my shadow side, for I have a hard time setting psychological boundaries when  delve vicariously into the dark side.

What fueled my anxiety was ambivalence about watching the movie at all, and being angry at a no-win situation.   The choice seemed to be between being a good parent and watching the movie with my son, or caring for my own mental health and watching the Olympics.  Not able to focus fully on the Olympics,  the movie, or my self-care, I ended up in a moral Catch-22. This is exactly the kind of situation for me to feel distressed.  Watching a movie about society's losers, I went to bed feeling a "loser" myself.

Being so conflicted when I lay down to sleep, all I could do is watch, powerless, while my mind dredged up fears about other unresolved (and unrelated) things in my life. (Those things undone, commitments not kept.)  One fear triggered another .. snowballing.  I wanted to cling to DH, for him to bolster me.  Alas, he lacks the gift of knowing the "right things" to say in such situations, when I am afraid and feeling powerless.  He is more inclined to say "buck up," which tends to simply ticks me off.  (As we did not have a lot of privacy for me to "fix" his responses,  I decided not to risk being frustrated with him.) 

Instead, I tried the self-parenting that helped during our move. It is a new practice in new understanding my HP.  I imagined my adult self saying that I would have been the lady cop, facing reality and doing what she could to make things right. Next, I imagined someone else in my life, like my mom or my former mate,  reassuring me, but without the subtle putdowns they would have said in real life. 

I settled on the image of my ideal mom telling me I am a good person and can  trust myself. I imagined receiving mom's solid, reassuring hug and her gentle words wishing me to rest well and be at peace.

And that is how I came breathe more and more deeply and have more easeful thoughts and to fall asleep.  

When I share next, it will be simply to express the power, and the edginess, of the dreams that visited me that night.


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  2. Well, I am not sure that anyone lend a hand. And I certainly did no research here; just my own experience being shared.

    Cat spraying. I guess it is a topic of concern to some. As for me, I have a female cat. When she has a problem with using her litter box it usually is anxiety of some kind. And it happens when we are away, so I guess it would have something to do with anxiety about our return, and the fact that we do not speak the same language. We have no way of telling her when our vacation will last only a week....


I welcome your thoughts. Keep me honest~