“What’s broken can be mended. What’s hurt can be healed. No matter how dark it gets, the sun’s going to rise again.” ~ Dr. Meredith Grey
The plot line or trope or whatever you would call it that I enjoy most in stories is the redemption narrative. I first encountered it in ‘Watership Down’ via Bigwig. A mild arc, but it spoke to me nonetheless.
Then Vader, and later still Shawshank, and countless others; the most powerful being ‘The Wrestler’. The title character seeks redemption and forgiveness from his daughter, and does not get it. So he pulls it from inside himself.
Redemption: Coming from the dark and finding the light, the love … the redemption of a new and better life.
This speaks to me in my life because a redemption narrative says: no matter how broken or wrong or bad or stupid or ridiculous or harmful or sad or terrible you are … you can atone.
There is still a road back. It might be rocky and steep, complicated and messy. Walking it may take your entire life. You may lose your foothold, slip and fall back into the abyss, but the wall is still there. The ascent is still there. Hard is not the same as impossible.
You are never too far gone. You are never beyond saving.
For a season in high school, I wore a cape. I didn’t imagine myself a superhero or any such … I donned a floor length black cape with crimson red lining. I had purchased said cape from Morris Costumes, to use at Rocky Horror. It had residence in the trunk of my B610, and one morning I just decided to slip it on and … pretend it was the most normal thing in the world.
The oddest thing: most everyone accepted it without question. “Just seemed like something you would do.” was the thing I heard later. Lots of my friends wanted hugs, wanted to be wrapped up inside my cape for a moment. Escape the pressure … be silly and whimsical, for a moment, for a season.
For a season in high school, I wore a scarlet letter. I read the book and had a heated debate with a teacher about gender roles and acceptable behavior. I didn’t know the term ‘slut shaming’ in 1982, but the concept was really clear. So I sewed a big red ‘A’ on my jacket and refused to take it off, even when threatened by administration. It caused a stir, but the point got through. Almost earned me a small vacation. Almost.
I do card tricks now, and sometimes i push an envelope that constantly dares me to push it. This Labor Day I’ll be doing such a thing.
I want to be a safe place. I want to be a shield when a shield is needed and a pillow when a head is weary. I’m walking toward peace, and I’m plucking little bits of joy along the way.
I wasn’t sure where this was going to go, and I’m not sure how to end it.
Be weird. Get a cape.
Kind of a lazy, snowed in day. I spent a few hours in rehearsal, working on a version of ‘Sympathetic Cards’ that I’d like to build into the Cyrano act. I’m really pleased with the progress, just need to find the right wine glasses.
Best is up in the mountains, visiting her new nephew and niece, and having a belated birthday party for the toddler … need to make sure she feels included. She sent me a picture of this precious three-year-old holding one of her new siblings and my heart just melted away. So perfectly loving, pure and innocent.
I think I would have made an excellent grandfather. Sorry. Wistful side note.
Made some food (Tuna, peas and Kraft dinner) and sat down for Dr. Zhivago, which I haven’t watched in maybe twenty years. It was my Mom’s favorite, and she made it a point to share it with me whenever it ran on TV while I was growing up. She filled in the blanks of the Russian Revolution for me. In turn, the movie taught me about raw, burning passion and the patience it sometimes takes to get it.
When I was sixteen, I surprised my Mom by taking her to see Dr. Z in a real movie theater. Park Road Cinema, I think … the spectacle and color or this amazing story had us both in tears, happy ones, and it changed the way i viewed that movie entirely. She told me later (over pie) that I had given her one of the most moving experiences of her life. I treasure that memory.
Another side note: Dr. Zhivago was released on the same day my parents adopted me from the Children’s Home Society. I wonder if that was part of the reason Mother loved it so.
Families don’t always understand us, and the other way around, too. Carrie Fisher described her mother with these words: “Performing feeds her in a way family cannot. That’s why we’ve always been frustrating. People aren’t cooperative, audiences are.”
Little things. Little gestures. Little tokens of love. These reverberate mightily in a life well lived.