I’ve been overthinking things a lot lately.
And sometimes, I forget.
Weeks go by and I realize that I’ve lost sight of the overall picture.
Today, I wanted to do something different.
I went with my family to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Even though I don’t consider myself as much of a Star Wars fan, I know that my husband and kid were anxious to see the movie. (Meanwhile, I was somewhat skeptical of the hype, so I didn’t want to go in with too many expectations.) But so much was their excitement, that my husband pre-ordered the tickets online on Tuesday, at $17 a ticket. At first, I’d assumed that these tickets had been more expensive than usual because it is the opening weekend, but then my husband apologized to me this morning because he’d realized too late that he’d purchased tickets for the 3-D version of the film.
Due to some specific visual issues that affect my binocular vision and depth perception, I’ve never been able to experience a 3-D movie.
(Of course, I’ve attempted to see several 3-D movies, over the years. Though it seems more of a waste of money as my personal visual experience of 3-D movies has ranged from mildly frustrating to headache-inducing. …hence his desire to apologize.)
But I really wanted to be a good sport, so I figured that I could find a way to adapt. I brought my prescription glasses, hoping that the best case scenario would be that the film would appear only somewhat blurry if I used them in tandem with 3-D glasses, as that had been my experience in the past.
But you know what?
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an entertaining film. The action was fast-paced and the plot was engaging.
But that wasn’t the best part:
Star Wars:The Force Awakens was visually stunning.
Perhaps it was the curved screen, or the surround sound stereo system, which likely adds to the feeling of being immersed in the action and sound of a film. (After all, the theatre was billed as an RPX experience*)
But I really couldn’t get over how vivid and bright things appeared onscreen.
Perhaps this is how a 3-D movie should look.
Perhaps I was actually experiencing a 3-D movie for the very first time.
And for me, this is no small thing.
*RPX stands for Regal Premium Experience, which is supposed to have better picture and sound quality than IMAX, complete with a giant, IMAX-size screen.
I hemmed and hawed about writing this post, as yesterday was a meaningful date in my personal history.
On the evening of Friday, 19 October 2007, my father died.
I would not find out about until the next day – Saturday – as my mother called me almost 8 hours later, leaving a four-word message on the home answering machine, to inform me that my father had passed.
My husband, my sons, and I had returned from a local skate tournament to see that little flashing light notifying us of an incoming call that we had received earlier that afternoon from an unfamiliar number.
I had been estranged from my parents for several years at that point. To put it bluntly, my mother had ‘disowned’ me in 2005 over something so incredibly petty that I am ashamed to admit now that I honored her wishes for nearly 2 years. And, unfortunately, my father did, too.
But I remember that last conversation that I’d had with my father in early October 2005.
Cancer had returned – malignant melanoma – but my father had insisted that it wasn’t such a big deal.
We danced around the subject of the impending surgery that would require the loss of his right eye, and, in typical form, my father joked about his options upon coming to terms with the reality that he’d probably have to wear an eyepatch.
He insisted that he couldn’t decide if he should tell people that he’d become a pirate, or if he should tell people that he’d given his eye to Odin, for knowledge.
I didn’t know what to say; I was just pleased to be speaking to my father, and I told him that I would be delighted to support him in either choice. In a roundabout way, I was trying to comfort him, but honestly, I would have agreed to support him in any way that I could, even if most of the time my support of him simply required that I cheerfully go along with his jokes.
That was my father. That’s the way that he coped best with adversity – through joking about it.
Though I didn’t want to discuss our own adversity — that elephant in the room — concerning how he missed me, and how he hoped that my mother and I ‘could somehow work things out’ so that he would be ‘allowed to talk to [me] again.’
I was inwardly furious that he felt like he had to sneak around – while my mother was not home – just to talk to me. (Of course, I was too stubborn to look the other way concerning my mother’s obviously toxic and controlling behavior. I was well aware of what a rare occurrence it was that my mother was not at home.)
Despite this, I truly thought that my father and I would speak again.
But we didn’t.
After my father died, my brother told me that the cancer had spread rather fast – but my father was overly proud man and it surprised no one that my father insisted on downplaying the debilitating effects on his quality of life – but as a result, my father refused to allow anyone to contact me concerning this reality.
I’ve no doubt that my father thought that he’d live forever, as long as he could joke about it, but he told my brother that he was even more ashamed to be seen as sickly or frail by anyone, let alone, his daughters.
Please let them remember me the way that I was was what I was told that he had said.
It turned out that my older sister -who was also estranged, also ‘disowned’ by my mother – didn’t even know that he’d died until two months after the funeral. While I am grateful that at least I had been informed in time to actually attend his funeral, I’m ashamed to admit that I was told that she knew but that she just didn’t show.
I regret that I didn’t question that further.
But, my dysfunctional family aside, I miss my father dearly, even now, even today, eight years later.
So what do I do to honor my father?
I will hold a ‘silent supper’ for him this week, wherein I provide him offerings of his favorite foods. Steak and potatoes. Blueberry pie. Sardines. Figs.
As well, it is likely that I will go to McDonald’s today. I will order – and mindfully consume – a Big Mac and a strawberry milkshake. It was the meal that my father loved, the ‘last meal’ that I was told that my father would often insist that he wanted – and then insist upon eating – even though I’d imagine that his body could scarcely have handled digesting such ‘junk food’ towards the end of his life. (Though that wouldn’t have deterred him, however.)
But I will enjoy it, as he would have wanted to enjoy it. (I mean, what the hell, I can imagine him arguing, I’m dying. I don’t worry about nutrition now. Fuck that. I want McDonald’s.)
As well, I have a playlist of his favorite songs that I will allow myself to listen to, and it is very likely that I will have a good cry over this one:
Perhaps I will read him Philip Levine’s poem, ‘Starlight’
(This is the poet, Philip Levine, reading ‘Starlight’)
This is a photo-booth photo of my father and I from 1974ish or so.
It is one of my favorite photos that I have of my father.
This is a photo of a self-portrait that my father painted in early 2007.
I miss you.
I love you, Dad.
The past few days have been so incredibly stressful/awful/what-have you.
This past Sunday being Mother’s Day did not help. (For some context on that, you can read some here.)
And again, I am aware that some of it is my own damned fault…and yet some of it is not.
But I am reminded that only I can change myself, and only I can change my attitude about what’s been happening.
I cannot change anyone else, nor can I change their attitude.
But nonetheless, whenever I have the sort of time that I have been having – a time which seems damned near insurmountable some days – I get this song as a reminder:
And following that, I usually get the Universal poke to the head from Him, thusly:
Today being Saturday, and K starting school the day after tomorrow, K and I have been either hanging out or busily running around trying to get all those last minute ‘back to school’ things done before Monday morning.
Wednesday, we played a marathon session of Monopoly– in anold school style, in a game that lasted nearly 5 hours— wherein K kicked my ass, and bought up 3/4 of the properties before I begrudgingly surrendered. (But, on the plus side: we finally had a chance to use that Collector’s Edition Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Monopoly set that zie got from zir uncle for zir birthday last year.)
Then, for the rest of the day, it was television, movies, and barbecue:
We laughed throughout a three episode viewing of Gravity Falls, two episodes of Adventure Time…and then, we laughed, commiserated, and eventually cried with John Grogan and his family as we watched Marley and Me.
(Though I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried hard at the end, and that movie made my dog – a Dal-Lab mix – appear to be a piece of cake to deal with compared to Marley…even though our dog did chew up several of my older son’s wallets ..and once, our dog did chew up a set of jumper cables…)
Thursday, we had a last hurrah type summer cleaning day.
We cleaned the pool,weeded, and I walked the dog.
We re-arranged things around the house a bit more, cleaned and straightened the bedrooms, and inventoried what school supplies we had left over from last year.
We went through zir closet and sorted through which clothes that fit and which didn’t in preparation for how much clothes shopping we would have to do for the new school year.
We talked a lot as we did this, and discussed at length the events of the summer, since we’d spent a good chunk of it not at home together or hanging as much as we would have liked.
On Friday afternoon, we went to Parent’s night, and K and I met K’s teacher, whom I am glad to say we both liked very much.
K is actually looking forward to going to school on Monday…which is fucking miraculous.
We got the supply list, and afterwards, we went and finished picking up everything that K would need for Monday, which was a relief.
(Nothing like waiting until the last minute, I say.)
All in all, it’s been a tough few months.
I was feeling kinda down — even if K wasn’t – and zie did the sweetest thing to cheer me up:
Zie offered to do something for me.
So while at the store buying supplies, zie picked up
a bottle of nail polish for me:
Zie insisted on painting my nails for me
– both my fingers and my toes-
in this particular nail polish called ‘Candy Sprinkles’
Now I am not usually a person that wears nail polish on my fingernails, but I must say that I find this particularly delightful…
And it does serve the intended purpose of making me smile when I look at my hands