Tuesday, January 19, 2010

t.s. i love you redux

I went to see a nice movie on Saturday with my mum. It was called "Leap Year." It was about nice Bostonian woman with nice shoes named Anna who went to Ireland to nicely propose to her boyfriend on Leap Day, because for some nice reason, she can. Of course, all sorts of nice disasters ensue. Flights are cancelled, some rain happens, then she's forced on a nice adventure with an Irish pubkeeper named Declan, who was not very nice at all.

Very nice, of course. I can safely say I'm offering no spoilers when I say that Anna and Declan sorta fall for each other accidentally, and there is great personal conflict in Anna's heart, because her boyfriend is pretty nice and she likes him an awful alot, and he is a cardiologist, after all. Cardiologists are romantic, you see, because they are well versed in all matters of the heart.

The point of my discussion of this nice movie is not exactly because of the movie itself. It was a shallow romp, with nice music, and nice scenery, and it made me want to visit Ireland but probably never want to live there. Anna really did have nice shoes, but they got dirty. ("Tro' 'em in te wash; they'd be grand").
The point is, Declan's character made me finally understand what Caitlin means when she talks about Irish humor. She's always said that she belongs in Ireland because her humor is dry and rude just like the humor of the Irish. I always thought to myself, "eh yey sarcasm is awesome," in a negligent and undedicated fashion.

But here comes Declan, and gadzooks. He's downright frickin' mean. He never shows her an ounce of sympathy, and openly declares time and again that she's a bloody idjit. He ridicules her job, ridicules her clothes, her outlook on life, her determination, everything. I found myself thinking in a strangely deep manner at one point, about something he says to Anna. Because of zany chance, he was required to pick her up, and commented with a huff, "Oh, you're quite a lump." Cue chuckling from the audience.

Now obviously, I'm the last person in the world to care about people's feelings for the sake of caring. And obviously, I'm not challenging Declan's manner. But this movie made me realize--the humor of the Irish is not dry and rude, per se. It simply is honest, with no concept of sugarcoating. Honest to a fault, but honest. I think it comes down to a cultural consciousness, almost entirely unknown to Americans, that to speak with any kind of hidden intention is a waste of everyone's time, and a builder of walls and false, unnecessary sensibilities. Even if that hidden intention is to save your own hide, and save her "feelings," when your friend asks if that dress makes her look fat.

People aren't so breakable as we've been convinced we are. As much as I've learned and benefitted from the psychologists in my life, all this delving into minds/personalities/emotions has us all believing that the human psyche is something to be pampered and catered to, and that each person's individual "self" should be maintained, and ultimately, bowed down to. Frankly, this thinking encourages outward self-improvement, but condemns any denial of your "unique nature". If you're a sensitive person, by no means should you seek to toughen up, because by Jove, everyone's self is important (but yours is a little more important, hush... keep it quiet and subconscious)

The fact is, it's pretty hard to screw up a person. Rather, it should be hard. I'm gonna say something now that probably will be unpopular but here goes:
Unless you've suffered some violent offense, witnessed horrific trauma, or recently lost a loved one, you don't need to be protected emotionally.

I'm not saying that everyone has to be a hard ass all the time. But damn it, you do need to learn what matters and what doesn't. This whole modern mentality of taking everything personally is so destructive to the honest relationships between human beings.

Point being, at first I thought Declan was mean. But well, Anna was being an idiot. Her $600 shoes were still just shoes. And when he picked her up, she was a heavy object. She didn't need sympathy, because she stuck herself in her own situation, and what good does coddling sympathy do? All it does is keep you from cutting through the BS and dealing with what matters, because you're so often encouraging to swim about in your feelings of how bad things are.

Of course, I'm a hypocrite in all this, too. When I'm in my depressive moods, I'm incredibly sensitive and the smallest thing will send me up to cry myself to sleep. But does that mean I need coddling all the time? Heck no! It means I need kindness, but then I need a kick in the bum to make me choose to change. It's not always easy. Mostly, it's pretty impossible. The times that my mum has been hard on me, well, they hurt pretty badly, but she was right. Maybe a little unpleasantness was entirely good for me.

That's one thing I really appreciate about Andrew, even when it bothers me in the moment. He's so straightforward with me, and he really truly doesn't care about silly sensibilities. About a month ago, when I was IMing with him, home alone, and I was hearing noises outside the house (and I'm prettttttty sure it was a bear when I looked out the window), I told him about it and I kept being nervous and talking about it (deep down, I was trying to get a sweet, sympathetic response from him) and all he said was, "what do you want me to say? 'go hide in a closet with a baseball bat because it's probably gonna try and eat you?' It's outside, babe, it's not coming in, and you don't need me to play to your fears." Of course, that made me a little mad, but then I said (in honesty, with no 'intentions'), "I just want you to be gentle with me for a minute, because I'm scared, even if it's irrational," and with no pretense, he did just that, and he didn't mind at all. Even though we didn't say a word about it, we both knew subconsciously that the only time we don't communicate well is when we're not being naked-hearted, no-excuses, no-intentions, no-pretensions, truthful with each other. It's a delicate difference. I wasn't lying about being scared--but I had motives for how I told him about it, and even through instant messaging, he could tell. Good lad.

People talk alot about getting out of your comfort zone. But the biggest, most invisible comfort zone of all is the zone where you're surrounded by people who are nice to you. Maybe we should all take a trip to Ireland and get called a idjit and a great lump, so we can start to see the nonsense in our lives.


  1. Yay Ireland.
    Definitely a good lad.
    It's actually "eejit," and I never said the Irish were rude. But I understand about it being more than just sarcasm and dry humor.
    I want to see that movie.
    I want to go to Ireland.
    I want to go to Scotland.
    I want to see you, EEJIT!!!

  2. "It means I need kindness, but then I need a kick in the bum to make me choose to change."

    I think it comes down to that...the happy medium...and what Ephesians 4 is saying. Truth and love together, and all that. I also like that you make a distinction between being kind and being nice. We're definitely called to kindness, but I don't remember the Word ever saying anything about just being "nice" to people. Good post. :)

    You totally need to see it, Kiyat. And I totally need to see both of you.