waking up . . .

by mulberryshoots

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Yesterday, I took a trip to Northampton, about an hour or so from where I live, to exchange some yarn for a sweater vest that I wanted to knit for a friend. It didn’t take long to find a nicer color in a heavier weight Lopi yarn that would be more suitable for the project. There was still time to window shop at a couple of stores that I like and have a quick lunch before returning home.

On the trip out, I had thought that I might be able to get back in time to catch the matinee showing of the movie, “Silver Linings Playbook.” The movie had stirred a lot of fuss for Jennifer Lawrence, a young actress who has been nominated for an Academy Award for best actress. The leading man was Bradley Cooper, whom I don’t particularly care for, but the film also had Robert de Niro in it so I figured that would balance things out.

I was a few minutes late but the cashier lady kindly confided that the movie had great acting but was slow in the beginning and that I wouldn’t have missed much. The beginning was indeed very slow, setting the stage for why and how Bradley Cooper was struggling with himself. His character does this all through the movie, this viewer wondering off-handedly whether he would ever “get it” or at least pull himself together.

Lawrence’s character is messed up also (of course, why else could there be a plot, right?) but there was an electric moment in the movie, at least for me, which is why I am writing this post on a Sunday morning. Lawrence is yelling at Cooper, saying that she does things for everyone else all day long, all the time, and that when she wakes up in the morning, she “feels EMPTY!” Well, I can identify with that all right. In fact, I was thinking later on, that many of us women feel like we’re doing that at least some of the time, and maybe not even noticing that we’re doing it. Or that it leaves us feeling empty too.

Why is it that even when we KNOW that we’re doing it–being and doing for others, all the time–that we can’t help ourselves. Or maybe our circumstances are that if we don’t “do it,” then nobody else will. Or, maybe we should be doing for others for ourselves, right? I don’t know the answer to this but I decided when I woke up this morning that I am going to take the day off from it, maybe even a couple of days since Monday is a holiday.

Instead of pushing myself to complete projects to please others, I’m going to take a rest from knitting. Instead of thinking that I really have to put away some things and clean the birdcage or the fridge, I think I’m going to read for pleasure today. Instead of cleaning up, I’m going to stop and rest today. After all, nobody’s MAKING me do anything. It comes from inside somewhere.

Another observation offered by the movie, equally as powerful, was the portrayal of a henpecked friend of Cooper’s, trapped by his desire to please a demanding wife who insistingly wanted what seemed like more and more, running him and his life around like a drill sargent. That was the quid pro quo for men who take that heavy burden on, trapped in their silent anger in the basement or out in the garage, the equivalent of waking up feeling empty too.

This little movie can be grating and annoying at times, but it portrays how vicariously we take out our frustrations in life, wanting our favorite sports team to win for us, wanting to win our bets in life. While Jennifer Lawrence was interesting to watch, it was Robert de Niro who stole the show. I hope he wins a Best Supporting Actor Oscar next weekend.