|Let freedom ring.|
It's that time of the year again, 4th of July, which means we are socially obligated to turn our collective patriotism all the way up to eleven and rock out with hot dogs and firecrackers in tow. One of my 4th of July traditions that I've established for myself is sitting inside with the A.C. blasting and watching horror movies until it's time for the fireworks show. I do this primarily because friends and family members have woken up and stopped inviting me to barbecues during the day. I don't blame them after what happened at the last grillin' and chillin' event I attended. You can read about that debacle here. Now, you may think that spending the better part of my afternoon, stuck indoors watching campy gore during a national holiday is an odd thing to do but I find it quite fitting for this day. Watching horror movies signifies a certain independence of my own so to speak. You see, I am deftly afraid of many of the themes found prevalent in good horror tales. Fear of the unknown, fear of isolation, human decay/death, these movies hit me at my core and begin to permeate my imagination until I sit powerless and paralyzed with the all-encompassing fear that they portray. I become hypnotized by them. It's like my own version of sky-diving.
|Most importantly: CLOWNS... not to be trusted.|
That these movies also make up a large chunk of my dvd collection comes to no surprise to me. I've always been somewhat of a glutton for punishment and although these movies scare me enough to sometimes keep me up at night, they are by far my favorite genre of movie. They allow me to, within a two hour span of time, face and overcome my fears head on. Fear is good in small doses. Cathartic even. Fear is something that intrigues us. The fear that horror movies conjure up (the monster in the closet, the faceless stranger out to get us) often stand in place of our own real-world fears and psychosis. We watch them and it allows us to battle our own demons through the movie's protagonist. As we root for them to prevail (or to be destroyed) we suss out our own mental demons. This year I chose to watch Silent Hill which is one of my favourites. I countered that with that dreadful Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel they made a few years ago. I honestly watched the second movie because I knew it wouldn't scare me that badly. The use of non-linear noise and jump-scares only amount to cheap shocks for me. The more lasting films are the ones that make me question what I'm seeing, question my own beliefs and strengths. They act as a nice distraction to my even more real and ever present everyday run of the mill fears. Like not being smart enough,or missing out on key opportunities or people not accepting you for who you are.
|Though sometimes being accepted for who you are can be a bad thing.|
It's easy to escape my everyday fears by diving into the other-worldly problems of the horror movie variety. Sure, I may be in immediate danger with Leatherface chasing after me with a huge chainsaw while he wears my boyfriend's face as a mask. But at least in that moment, any fears I may have about raising my credit score or finding the money to pay for another bulky textbook flies out the window. As the realities of adulthood creep up on me in varying and often strange ways, I find myself looking for guidance and perspective anywhere I can find it. One such odd place of recent note was in a little independent movie called Visioneers that my friend Roger and I watched one night starring Fat Jesus himself, Zach Galifianakis.
|Hamming it up on Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!|
What strikes me as strange is that although a performance in a little indie movie like this may never garner Zach the popularity that he receives from the Hangover franchise, he is able to do both. He can live in both worlds and one doesn't dilute the other. That's a risk when you do something different than what your target audience expects. He does so quite successfully. An especially risky venture when you consider his rise to fame was based off of his work in the Hangover movies. I admire that as I branch out personally and try new things. Like this lovely blog you're reading here. It's exciting and scary to put your work out there and for each new post and new reader, it's almost like a first date and job interview all rolled up into a conflicted glass case of emotion. But you know what? The fear is half the journey. The fear is the fuel to my fire that allows me to keep writing and hoping that the audience relates to me and I to them. The risk of it all is the thing that keeps us going. The risk is why the reward tastes so sweet. This 4th of July, I celebrate the independence that is afforded to us in this country (still) to overcome not only our fears but any obstacle we can create or that has been created for us. Even as our country sits in discourse and spins it's wheels with rhetoric, we have those opportunities to take those risks with sometimes huge payoffs. I recently came across this verse on ittybiz about risk over the holiday weekend:
To laugh is to risk appearing a fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
…To place your ideas , your dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in returned.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken, because the greatest risk hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and is nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.
Chained by their certitude’s they are a slave, they have forfeited their freedom.
Only a Person who risks is free.
The risks that we take in everyday life are as important as the risks from the horror movies we watch. Every risk that we take is like turning a dark corner, not knowing if the monster awaits us on the other side. And just like in the movies, it's the hope of coming out safe and victorious are all the reason we need to keep pushing forward through the fear.
--- Vanity in Peril