After I saw this movie in the theaters, I jotted down a few notes on a scrap piece of paper from a hotel pad and shoved it away.
I watched the movie again once it was released on DVD and I profoundly loved it for the second time. It moved me in a deep way. It seems to be one of the few movies out there that accurately depicts highly stigmatized mental illnesses such as bipolar and subsequent medication therapy.
I laughed so hard I cried and I cried so hard I laughed.
I think that’s what great movies do. They make you feel. A lot.
There were four things I took away from this spectacular film, four ‘plays’ to remember for this game of life.
1. Forgive yourself and embrace yourself.
Tiffany (played by Jennifer Lawrence) owns the fact that she has a promiscuous side and we fall in love with her honesty and humility as she recounts her checkered past. When we acknowledge our shortcomings, we find the silver lining. We find greater ease.
When we deny our faults, we face bigger problems.
Denial and resistance are the roots of evil in my book. Whatever I choose not to face always comes back stronger. We can’t forgive our mistakes if we deny them and self-forgiveness is something we all deserve.
“I was a slut. There will always be a part of me that is dirty and sloppy, but I like that, just like all the other parts of myself. I can forgive. Can you say the same for yourself, fucker? Can you forgive? Are you capable of that?” ~ Tiffany
2. Be a yes.
When life presents an opportunity to expand from where we are now, we’ve gotta take it.
Collect new experiences.
Seize every opportunity.
Be open to it all.
Avoidance is one of the worst coping mechanisms because nothing new is ever learned. Growth is not possible when we avoid. Pat’s dad (played by Robert DeNiro) told him, “when life reaches out at a moment like this, it’s a sin if you don’t reach back,” referring to his son going after the girl who loved him for who he was.
3. Persist, persist, persist.
“The world will break your heart ten ways to Sunday. That’s guaranteed. I can’t begin to explain that. Or the craziness inside myself and everyone else. But guess what? Sunday’s my favorite day again.“ ~ Pat
Life and love, they’re both battlefields. We can thicken our skin, but there’s no protection against getting hurt. No one comes out alive, much less unscathed. The only full armor is avoiding life completely and where’s the living in that kind of life?
The best we can do is to keep getting up and putting our best foot forward, playing the cards we’re dealt.Persistence in the face of fear is the bravest thing we can do. Hold on for beautiful moments and keep hope in our back pocket.
The beautiful moments, like loving Sundays again, are worth fighting for.
4. Meds are necessary when medically necessary.
“I love feeling depressed and pretending to be happy, maintaining a poker face for the world. I wake up every day with dread and basically just go through the motions waiting for it to be over, it’s the best feeling ever.” ~ Nobody
No one said this because no one would choose to feel like this. True mental illness such as major clinical depression is referred to as a chemical imbalance for a reason. Medication is a very controversial subject and I won’t begin to offer advice when it comes to taking it, but I do believe that medications are necessary when necessary.