23/05/2010 § 2 Comments
I was standing in an electronic-store, my dress was a yellowing-white and dirty around the hem, as if I had been running through the mud. My hair was stringy and wet. I must have been in the rain.
I asked the man behind the counter for a hair-dryer and curling-iron, I was in a rush. The man didn’t seem confused, nor irritated, just there to help me find what Ineeded. He was average height with a thicker build and full facial scruff. He could have been Greek, he could have been Middle-Eastern. My anxiety get dry and proper made my vision a bit cloudy diluted.
After he had found my necessary items, I began work on my hair, going through the routine that I had already been through earlier that day. Pulling my hair through with a brush, flipping my head upside down, curling and holding. All I could remember thinking was: I’m getting married.
I woke up with a jolt and a tightness in my chest. I had stopped breathing. Again. I didn’t know if the dream made me stop breathing or if the lack of oxygen made me hallucinate that moment. Perhaps, it’s the approaching wedding season that made me think of white dresses and electronic shops. Whatever it was, I had to tell myself to breathe.
I decided to get up and make my morning coffee, refocus on breathing, and do some contemplating. While sipping and inhaling and thinking, I listened to CBC Radio and read emails, really trying to make the morning as normal as possible. My mom sat opposite me, fiddling around with some online puzzles. I looked at her. I asked her to tell me more about her life — something I have done quite regularly to put my own life into perspective. I think many kids don’t ask much about these somethings these days. Maybe that’s why we seem so lost. Just the other day, I exchanged some stories with A and it was as though we developed a deeper understanding of the other and why we do the things we do.
My mom’s stories help me understand where I come from and why I feel the way I do. It explains my roots, not only culturally, but emotionally and mentally (thus, biologically.) It helps to explain why I want to run, why I choose to stay, my sense of justice, even that tiny part of me that wants retribution. It is a reason, or a cause, to why we become the way we do. It fascinates me because when you understand it, you are able to change it.
So it was, understanding this person within, that I decided to try and be where my hands are: in Toronto, in the now. I looked up times to go to a movie, let my girls know that I wanted a solo-night, and headed for Cumberland to watch the Argentine film, El Secreto de Sus Ojos, The Secret in Their Eyes. This movie was my balance: to transport me back to Buenos Aires and enjoy a little me time in Toronto.
The film won Best Foreign at the Oscars and has been hailed by critics everywhere. In general, it posesses every genre from thriller to humour to, of course, romance. It is stylized and well-acted, but that’s not why I loved it, nor was it the colloquialisms — prolific “che” and “boludos” — nor the filthy phrases that are common porteno conversation. No. Never for this girl. It was the love story.
In the past months I had become a stone, or a shell, unable to feel. I was too afraid that if I let someone in that the tiniest cut to a chord would make my guts go tumbling out. With a thick-shield, I could fend off invaders while doing internal repairs, perhaps a little remodeling.
We are fragile creatures because we know how to love. Love is the thing that makes us wake up in the morning, gives us a purpose, but it is also the thing that can make you stop breathing, or make you lose yourself in something external. It will make or break you.
Listening to my mom’s stories showed me how my life could go. I could lose myself in something I can’t control, I could go down that rabbit-hole. Or, I could take what I know and what I have learned and grow. Life is a series of experiences to help us up, up, up, not to wallow in stagnation. Disease breeds in stagnate water. Like I said, humans are fragile and when they are continually pushed back down they learn to settle, to sell themselves too short. We need to remember that we are incredible creatures with infinite potential.
After a long process of thinking and contemplating and a little bit of wallowing I decided to get into gear. It’s as simple as a switch, you just need to find it.
I left the film a bit lighter and with more purpose.