Photo source: TiaLife (Pixabay)
As with fiction books, I have come to value movies and TV series not merely for their entertainment value, but as another way of sharing real-life stories and messages. We resonate with the characters because we can empathize with them. We’ve felt their hurt, their joy, and witnessed some of their losses and wins in our own lives. These fictional stories capture our realities and reflect our emotions.
As I grieved and went through my own recovery, there are films and series that helped me, not only by keeping me preoccupied or amused. More than this, they have made me feel that other people out there have gone through what I am going through. This idea of a shared humanity gives me hope that I, too, will someday be okay.
Here are some of the movies and TV series I appreciated and my key takeaway from each.
Accepting that the people we love and whose love had been among our sources of strength, may die. Especially when we know nothing can heal them, we have to let go. But to get to that point of letting go, we have to allow ourselves to cry, fall apart, and perhaps even break things, and let ourselves feel such amount of fear and anger we have never felt all our lives.
When we lose someone, grief can overtake us. We may question everything, even God. But doing so is not a sin. We can ask God any question, be angry at him, cry to him–and that’s okay. More than being put on a pedestal, I now believe God just wants to have a personal relationship with us. He/she wants us to talk to him/her, and be honest and say what we truly feel. God understands. He/she may never say “Yes” to our prayer, or bring back the people we love, but God walks with us through the grief. As we rebuild our lives, God’s there, helping us put one brick on top of another. As my therapists had told me, we can seek help from a God of our own understanding.
- Goblin (TV series)
Sometimes, forgiveness takes time. Toward the end of the series, the female lead character could also be seen taking medication and seeking a professional’s help to get her through the intense sadness she felt. I liked that the series tackled mental health/emotional health. Because there ought to be no shame in asking for help, for leaning on someone, until we can once again get back on our feet.
We have to value nature even amidst progress. Also, forgiveness cannot be forced. It’s okay to accept people where they are emotionally, instead of forcing them to do what we want them to do. And as the priestess in the movie had told the warrior, while we cannot always alter our fate (or a part of our life), we have the choice to rise to meet it.
Justice may not always be served. Life may seem unfair, especially for those of us who had a traumatic past. But when we are able to stand up for ourselves, regardless of the result, we have somehow demonstrated our own worth and power. Eventually, life has a way of moving forward and helping us find healing and resolution some other way we have not foreseen. In the end, what matters most is that we stand up for ourselves, and seek the support of those whom life will bring for our own healing.
Perhaps our society has not given as much focus on the way fathers, even those who are emotionally unavailable, have tried to show their love. Either through simple gifts, or self-sacrifices, or toiling hard at their jobs. But the love is there; perhaps they just really struggled finding ways to express this. The same may be true for any family member’s sacrifices, perhaps even our own, that may never get told and have remained unappreciated. But all these years, the love had been there.
Students from difficult neighborhoods and dysfunctional families are facing daily battles just to survive. Getting by just one day is already an achievement. I loved that the movie showed how journaling could help us. And it was also honest about the cost of giving our all to something we truly believe in.
Some of us from dysfunctional homes may have attempted to protect others from pain, but there was no one to protect us from our own. We may spend years in search of something, of healing, of ourselves. We search for a reason, a way to live, that resonates most closely with how we feel and what we believe in. But for many of us, while relationships have caused pain, our yearning for it remains. And our capacity to form new bonds remains with us as well. Perhaps one day we can find that middle ground where we can engage in good relationships and set boundaries to alleviate the fear that relationships would again ruin us. Because much as we love being on our own, a part of us only finds its expression as givers, as lovers, as friends, as neighbors, as strangers willing to lend a hand. Someday healing comes.
On the one hand, we have an image of our ideal life. On the other, we have our real life, the life we never thought we have to live through. The movie reminds me of my dreams that did not happen, or may never happen, of how scary a simple life used to be to me. It’s a beautiful reminder that no matter what happens, life goes on. We can always decide to move forward and enjoy even the simplest of things. Even just a night out of town. Having a pet. A swim. Having some of the people we love. A home outside the city. A job. And that, for now, is enough. Until we find our way again. Or maybe we have found that where we are now is in fact where we wish to be, as it has given us the kind of freedom we’ve never had.
It is okay, if not crucial, to let ourselves feel whatever we feel. To not label sadness and anger as “wrong,” but to let them pass through us without acting out. As my therapist had said, when we supress pain and sadness, inevitably we also suppress joy.