Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Film: Mudbound

Experiencing other people’s lives and seeing what they go through is essential to growing as a person and having empathy.  Watching movies is one way to do this.  Film is a reflection of our society, whether you are watching a documentary about the The White Helmets or watching a film based on historical events.  So when I told my husband I wanted to watch Mudbound on Netflix and he agreed, I was thrilled.  I had only read good things across the board.  But I was not prepared for the feelings of devastation and conflict I had by the time the end credits rolled.  It has been two weeks since the viewing and I am still torn up.

Mudbound is directed by Dee Rees and stars Jason Clarke, Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, and Jason Mitchell.  It tells the story of two families in the early forties in Mississippi.  The McAllans, Laura and Henry, are forced to take up residency in a home not of their choosing after being swindled out of their dream home.  Henry’s father Pappy (Jonathan Banks) lives with them.  The Jacksons are Hap (Rob Morgan) and Florence (Mary J. Blige) and their children.  The Jacksons work for the McAllans.  The relationship between the two families is amiable at best, with Pappy always showing them who is boss with his racist remarks and orders.  Henry is a weak man who doesn’t stand up to his father and appears to be following in his footsteps.

Henry’s brother Jamie (Garrett Hedlund) returns from WWII a drunk with PTSD.  The Jacksons’ son Ronsel (Jason Mitchell) also returns a soldier of war but has gained confidence and strength after being regarded as a hero overseas.  When the two men meet and form a friendship, it presents trouble in the obvious ways you would think in the south in the forties.

From the first disgusting and awful word that Pappy uses to address the Jacksons, I hated him like I have never hated a character before.  As the story progresses I could feel myself dreading what was going to happen next.

I suspect it will be a long time before I can think about Mudbound and not want to cry.  Just like with Ta-Nahesi Coates’ Between the World and Me and The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas, Mudbound opened my eyes that much more to an awful reality that is part of American history.  I feel anger, sadness, hopelessness, and shame.  A film that can have such a dramatic effect on its audience should be shown in history classes, not just theaters or Netflix.

Posted in Word Therapy

Bear with Me

Just like the relatives that you see once or twice a year, the old holiday depression demons showed up for Thanksgiving and this is what they had to say as they pushed their way through the door:

“Nobody reads this blog.”  But its been a year of frustration, hopelessness, and fear and you’ve had enough of Uncle Gerry and his racist and ignorant rants.  So you scream right in that demon’s disgusting, long nose haired, bald headed face and say, “Who cares, you are writing for yourself and for those that can relate!Your nosey ass aunt who nobody likes comes back with, “You’re self centered, writing about what you’re going through.  You should be writing about what brings people up, not what brings them down.”  So you hand your spouse your Rock Star and vodka, take a deep breath, and calmly state, “This is reality.  I am making a path to happiness and getting through the hard is how I will find it.”

You’ve cut a lot family and friends out of your life because you feel you have been treated poorly.  Then you think about how it has been a fair amount of people you have let go.  The nasty voices of bratty cousins taunt you with, “Can they ALL be wrong?”  Kind of like The Beatles.  They are beloved by gajillions of people all over the world.  How can that many people be wrong?  So you force yourself  out of your own head and say, “You are who you are, good and bad.  Maybe some of those people are a loss, maybe some of them aren’t.  All you can do is move forward and learn from your experiences.”

Social media shows that all your favorites (Etst, We Rate Dogs, Busy Phillips) make you laugh and bring you joy.  Why can’t you be more positive and happy?  But just like the warm blanket your favorite grandma made you, you are able to relax by saying that you will keep going, knowing you will get there eventually.

As much as you want to tackle and work through all of it quickly, you know that’s not how it works.  You are not a cold turkey kind of gal and know that anxieties need to be dealt with head on and honestly.

You decide to try a new habit.  Every day you are going to have a grateful thought for every negative one.  For example: You woke up with pain in your arms and hands.  Your legs still work fine so you get up, eat breakfast, and go for a run.  The endorphins kick in, your hands and arms feel better, and all of the thoughts you had while exercising find their way to paper.  It doesn’t fix everything but it’s a start.  There are plenty of people in the world who love you and are there for you.  Those who aren’t and the vile demons are insignificant.  Whether it’s the holidays or not, you are important and can achieve your dreams.  It can be hard to remember that with depression.  But that doesn’t make it any less true.