Cinema Therapy


I was raised to keep my feelings to myself. Burdening my father with my feelings and needs was simply not something I felt safe doing. The consequence was that I repressed my needs and feelings for so long, and so well, that I forgot how to know what I'm feeling.

It sounds crazy, I know. How does one not know what she's feeling? You feel something and you name it. Easy!

Unfortunately, sometimes, it just doesn't work that way for me. I can go very, very numb or feel fear only, for example, even when the appropriate emotion for most everyone else would be anger, or longing, or sadness, etc.

It's because of this that sometimes I need a substitute situation to have feelings about. A scenario that is not my life, but resembles my life, that I can attach my feelings to and then I'll often be able to identify the actual feelings I am having and work through them.

Movies are one of the best ways for me to accomplish this. They're highly emotional and great for triggering.

This probably explains why, from day one, I sought out movies about tragedy so I could make contact with my emotions obliquely. It was the way to feeling something.

Lately I've been seeking out stories of loss so I figured I'd been trying to get in touch with some repressed feelings. So, I looked through Amazon Prime to find a humdinger.

Get the kleenex ready, it's time to feel things!

I found this movie The Face of Love. I warn you. This one will hurt. In my case, that's exactly what I was looking for. If you're thinking of watching it now, too, spoiler alert in effect now...

Annette Bening plays a widowed woman who runs into a man who is a complete double for her dead husband and tries to have a relationship with him. When he finds out that she is with him just to recreate the love she had with her husband, they can't continue the farce. The movie then jumps to a year later when she finds out he has died, leaving behind a series of paintings he painted of her.

I bawled. I sobbed. I cried out in pain. At first I was crying for the pain in the movie and then it shifted inside of me and I could identify it.

I'm sorry! I wailed. I would've done anything to save you! I couldn't save you and you died! YOU DIED! I shrieked into the empty house. I cried into the bed, grabbing the blankets in my fists in utter helplessness.

As I spilled out the hurt, I realized I'd been feeling guilty and hadn't been able to access it. Now I could.

I've been feeling guilty for moving on and being happy and not being sad enough. I could name it, feel it, and move through it. Ah, cinema therapy.

If you feel enough already, thank you very much, this one might not be for you. For me, it did wonders for clearing out my emotional storage files.

I feel lighter now. I feel more connected to myself and as though I was honoring Dave by letting myself feel the pain his loss has left behind.

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