All boundaries are conventions. (A ‘Cloud Atlas’ 2012 Review)

A coworker was arguing at me a few days ago about The Avengers being better than Cloud Atlas. (Please note that he has not seen Cloud Atlas, but just likes forcing his opinion on others. I am a neutral person so I’m usually the target of his arguments.) I loved both movies but, as I told him, I found it impossible to compare the greatness of both movies because they are very different from each other. They each affected me in completely different ways. The Avengers movie thrilled and excited me in a way that only a long-time continuity could; Cloud Atlas moved and inspired me in such a way that I had no idea what my feelings were doing.

I went to see Cloud Atlas opening night and then went again the next night. I can say with complete honesty that it blew my mind. I was simultaneously impassioned, motivated and inspired. There was also some despair and lighthearted happiness thrown in there somewhere. By the end of the film I had no clue what emotion I was actually feeling; they were all over the map and my brain decided that the best self defense against the onslaught of feelings was for me to sob uncontrollably. This was the first time I had ever been so emotionally invested in a movie.

Cloud Atlas is essentially six separate stories being told to you at once. In the beginning you have little idea as to how they’re related and then mid-way through the movie everything starts to interconnect beautifully; everything suddenly makes sense. Revelations are made and connections are discovered and you’re left reeling from the force of it. I’m limiting what I tell you because I’m hoping that everyone will go see it in theaters and I don’t want to spoil anyone who hasn’t seen it yet… or read it.

Currently on top of my ‘to read’ pile.

I discovered right before going to see Cloud Atlas in theaters that it was based on a book. Usually I’m a bit more aware of these things and I’m a firm believer of books being better than their movies. Since the movie effected me so much, I can only imagine what the book will do to me and I’ll be sure to keep you all posted. Needless to say I’ve bought the book and I’m hesitating to read it this close to the start of NaNoWriMo, but I don’t think I’ll be able to hold off much longer. I’m craving to see the movie a third time and the book is sitting conveniently beside me. I’ve never been good at resisting temptation.

Because I will be the picture of discipline.

For one reason or another I seem to think that buying material things will make me happy, and they do. For a VERY short while. A new laptop, Blackberry, or purse is NOT going to fill the void in my heart. It’s like I’m justifying the purchases by being convinced that this next new item will do what the other item didn’t. It will make me happy and somehow fix whatever is wrong with me. NOPE. Not even close. Despite knowing that it won’t actually help, I still listen to that voice inside that tells me to buy these things. I think it is most likely because I still get that small rush of adrenaline when I purchase some new thing. Endorphin’s create a small bit of happiness that I keep clinging to. Honestly, that type of happiness is like the one-night-stand that tries to get away without waking you in the morning. Fleeting satisfaction.

Books though! Books are fantastic. New books bring me ACTUAL joy. They fill the void a lot more that anything else seems to. They wake me up. They pull me past the sludge of reality and into something wondrous. Until the book ends. Less one-night-stand; more summer-fling. I know they won’t actually help fix me, but it’s nice to pretend. Distractions help get me through.

 

Know what else helps get me through? Amanda Palmer.

And in my mind
I imagine so many things
Things that aren’t really happening
And when they put me in the ground
I’ll start pounding the lid
Saying I haven’t finished yet
I still have a tattoo to get
That says I’m living in the moment

Once I get up I feel better and I pull myself together.

I remember those two letters; it will be O.K.

Everybody has their own dysfunctions; some have more than others, and some barely have any. I fit into the ‘more than others’ category. I have difficulty filtering what I think from what I say. I tend to fan-girl at the worst possible moments. I’m a bit socially awkward and meeting new people is synonymous with getting a tooth pulled. I also have extreme reclusive tendencies, to the point where just going outside can be a lot more difficult than it should. These are just a few examples of how much weirder I am than a good majority of the people I know.

I also know that I’m not alone.

It took me at least four-thirds of my life to realize this fact. Prior to the realization, I knew that people were accepting of ‘the jumpy girl running the cash register‘ or ‘I don’t know why my daughter is the way that she is, but I love her anyway‘ or ‘it’s weird when she hides herself but I like her, I guess‘. It got really messy in my head for a little while and I wasn’t entirely sure I’d make it out alive. Then the realization came. It was a few years ago when I witnessed a man actively avoid physical and verbal contact with everyone else in the cafe I was writing in – to the point where, when it got really crowded, he ran to the men’s room and I could see him peeking out from behind the door to see when the crowd dispersed. I have no idea why he was in the cafe that day, but I am very thankful that he was. It was like looking at a mirror image of what I did sometimes. I was a bit more subtle about it than he was, but it was exactly the same. It hit me in the face then, that I wasn’t alone in what I was going through. That there were other people who fought themselves over going out into the big bad world with all its humanity. It was an oddly wonderful feeling.

I would also like to say that I’ve gotten a lot better since then. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some very bad days, but they aren’t as frequent as they used to be. I still frequently get my ‘run and hide’ instinct when I’m around large crowds of people but I can control it somewhat, where I couldn’t before. Having a somewhat distant family and friends that didn’t push me helped a lot.

What I went through is something that I don’t talk about often, mostly because I don’t like the questions that come with it. The why’s and how’s and the confused looks when I’m trying to tell someone that sometimes the thought of stepping outside my front door used to crush the air out of my lungs. Or that sometimes I still need to meditate before I leave the house so the irrational fear doesn’t overwhelm me. There are quite a few people out there who are incapable of understanding, and I’ve accepted that too. It’s okay to not understand or relate to the crazy reclusive girl. I understand and that’s a good thing.

Dysfunctions and weirdness are apart of everyone. Whether you’re reclusive, fighting depression or another mental illness (possibly more than one), or you’re a giant socially awkward geek that nobody understands, an outcast, a victim, or you’ve just lost a very important person in your life.

You. Are. Not. Alone.

I’m not going to tell you that it gets easier or that it gets completely better, because those would be lies. I will however tell you, that there will be both good days and bad days, and to quote Doctor Who – life is just a pile of good things and bad things. Always remember the good things no matter how hard the bad things try to pull you down and if you can’t remember the good things, cling to those who care about you like a lifeline; they don’t have to understand you to care about you. It could be any one, including but not limited to your cat/dog/chinchilla. Just let them love you… it helps.

That took longer for me to get out than I thought it would. Now that my seriousness is over – get over here so I can internet hug you.

Hot water.

I love tea. In fact I probably love it more than most people. If I could have a romantic relationship with tea, I would and we’d already be married with kids.

I’m drinking tea as I’m typing this. It’s good for you, it can relax you when you’re stressed, put you to sleep, boost your metabolism, clean the toxins out of your system, make you feel better when you’re sick and it tastes great. I have yet to meet a tea that I hate. Tea comes in so many tastes and varieties that I have too many favourites. It’s a brilliant beverage and, since I really can’t stand the taste of coffee, it gets along very well with my taste buds.

I also have a crazy mental thing, where I buy accessories for my tea.

This giraffe kettle being the most awesome thing I have purchased in a great long while. It makes a ‘hum’ noise instead of a whistle when the water boils. It makes me happy and feel slightly ridiculous all at once. Personally, I think that there should be at least ONE thing in every persons home that makes them feel that way. It’s a delightfully giddy feeling that everyone should experience. Plus the object in question would be a wonderful conversation piece, or it would create awkward silences. Either way.

Putting the kettle on in the morning is much more fun.

Bonjour world!

I was apparently Freshly Pressed yesterday, but I was at work and missed it. I got home and was sorely tempted to call my best friend and have her double check the numbers coming up on my blog because they were a bit ridiculous and shocking. I’m still trying to get to all the comments!

So… I guess that really did happen then. Wow. I didn’t know that could happen to normal (sort of) people. That was surprisingly exciting.

I’m feeling very humbled and slightly intimidated right now.

Book babbling.

As a budding novelist and an avid reader I usually find myself picking out phrases that really speak to me in someone else’s writing. I’ve taken to tabbing those phrases within the book so I can go back to them again and again. Trying to work out how the author made me feel that way, what words strike me and I try to learn through their writing how to better myself, in my own style. I enjoy it – it’s quite fun and the books I own are more colourful for it.

When I started reading The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, I had to stop tabbing because there ended up being two to three tabs per page. I decided not to tab-attack TFIOS because the whole book was simply amazing. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me borderline hysterical and I frightened my cats with my laughing/crying madness.

It was wonderful and brilliant and I was an emotional wreck for two solid hours after I was finished reading it. I am recommending this book, with great love, to everyone reading this humble little blog. As an adult who reads Young Adult literature, I can absolutely say that this book will be greatly enjoyed by anyone who picks it up.

Reading is one of life’s great adventures and goodness knows I wish I had the time to read as much as I did in Middle School. If I spent that much time reading now, I’d have no job, money or food. Darn those necessities of life.

And it goes on, and on, my friend.

I’ve managed to get the winter blues this year and it’s a first for me. I think Joline’s death is (obviously) the main reason for that and the fact that we’ve barely had any snow this year. I love winter and I love snow. My parents used to joke that I was the only true Canadian in the family. This year I’m having a lot of trouble keeping my optimistic personality in place without it cracking.

I dislike negativity and people who always focus on the bad things that happen to them. There’s a woman I work with who can’t stand to see other people happier than she is, and she’ll go out of her way to drag them back down to her level. I’ve never let her get to me before, but recently she’s just been driving me up the wall. I’m more than sure that I’ll be fine, but I don’t like the idea of someone else thinking they can control how I feel. She’s so negative it’s incredible. She enjoys seeing other people’s pain and it’s slightly disturbing.

There are a lot of things that help me focus on keeping my positive nature, and I’ve decided to share a few of them.

MUSIC. Loud music. Anything from happy show tunes to kick ass battle sequence instrumentals. If it increases your joy by even a tiny bit – listen to it. Frequently. I walk to and from work everyday so I have twenty minutes to get myself into a positive and motivated mood. If you drive to work, crank that shit up in your car and drum along on your dashboard.

READING. Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction; whatever your favorite genre – read it into the ground. During the days following Joline’s death I’ve managed to finish reading three books and I’m halfway through a fourth. I shouldn’t really promote escapism when trying to deal with the unpleasantness of life, but I’m pretty sure there are worse coping methods out there. An example would be alcoholism or shooting heroin or both. So if you escape into books to get away from life, that’s a-okay in my book. I do it too. (John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars, Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood and Terry Pratchett’s Guards! Guards!, would be good places to start.)

MY CATS. They are ridiculous and funny and they will make me laugh until I, almost, pee three times out of five. If you have pets, let them love you, or watch them do stupid things because they don’t know any better, or let them fight each other for space in your lap because, being needed makes you feel better even though they’re using you as furniture. Having a constant companion (or three in my case) can bring you joy just by scratching an adorable set of ears.

So there you have it. Some tricks for surviving the winter blues, and negative coworkers. Deep breaths probably help too, but I’ve found humming “This Is The Song That Never Ends” under your breath works better.