Oh, the Dramma

Anger, depression, self-righteous glee, embarrassment, more anger, regret, helplessness, and a literal shot in the arm that really, really hurt. Glad this week is over.

A quick recap of a dust-up, several years in the making and that culminated rather dramatically this week, prompted the question, “Why are you so attracted to mythic proportions? They’re exhausting and depleting you.”

Ugh. Damn you, awesome therapist.

I have previously written about what I hoped was a brave new me, emerging from a need to be a supporting player in other people’s Grand Guignol sagas; I was happy to be the long-suffering, patient Emilia to a rotating cast of Othellos and Desdemonas. I do think I’m better than I used to be, but if you’ve ever watched any kind of metamorphosis, whether it’s a butterfly pushing its way out of its chrysalis or a chick breaking out of an egg, you can attest that it’s a long, arduous haul.

I’ve been looking hard at myself over the last few days. Sadly, I’ve had my own mythic events. I hate them. I’ve tried to reconcile with them, and most are way too painful. Other People’s Dramas, some of which frankly pale in comparison to my own, have afforded me an escape, a way to forget and pretend all that stuff didn’t happen. I never talk about the majority of it. It’s no wonder that for years, I always had one close friend who talked exclusively about him or herself and rarely asked me anything beyond a cursory “everything ok?”

I don’t know how I’m going to address this, but I know – yuk – that it’s time. It’s a tad rough at the old homestead, despite the spouse and I behaving well and remembering that, whatever happens, we love each other. As emotions claw and bite like trapped animals, I’m slipping into old, nasty habits that I thought I’d shed. Coping mechanisms don’t die without putting up a hell of a fight.

I have a great support system in place, and I’ll be ok. In fact, I have hopes that, once I gut my way through this, I’ll be a decent-looking butterfly, or, if you prefer, a scrappy chick. I just hope I don’t bust a damn wing on the way out.

By the way, avoid The Killer Inside Me, despite the draw of the always terrific Casey Affleck (A.O. Scott calls him “Eddie Haskell on the way to strangle a puppy” in an excellent review) . I love Jim Thompson, but the tone and ambivalence of his books are way too complex for literal-minded filmmakers to attempt; even a seeming no-brainer fit like Sam Peckinpah resulted in a movie that isn’t bad but lacks the empty-eyed yet somehow graceful horror of the written Getaway. Given my week, Killer was a stupid choice. It was discarded for the brilliant Coup de Torchon, THE Thompson adaptation. Leave it to the French to get it right.

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