Back to Life. Back to Reality. - By Mary Barwick


Back to life. Back to reality.


Another night. Another movie. Andy and I have watched so many movies together over the past year. Because he’s in bed so much, it’s our time to bond. I’ve grown to love watching movies with him. At first it was like pulling teeth to get me to sit, be still and watch. It just felt boring to me.

But when introduced to Andy’s incredible taste in film everything changed. These movies are the kind of movies that stick with you. The ones you dissect and dwell on. The ones you desperately wish your friends would see so you could discuss them and talk about all the good parts.

A few of the movies we have thoroughly enjoyed are TIMER, Hurt Locker, Crazy Heart, The Wrestler, OUTFOXED: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism, Food Inc., A Beautiful Truth and The Road.

What these movies do for us is allow us to escape. Something we definitely need from time to time, especially now with Andy’s illness. But there’s a fine line between escaping and hiding. I think I do both very well.

When I escape I hide for a short while and then I’m back to feeling. Back to reality.

When I hide I stop feeling. I must admit this does feel good. If somebody asks how I’m doing I say, “fine”, as if my life is fine and nothing of any significance is going on. In reality there is something going on, something sad, something out of my control. But because I’m hiding I don’t see it, I don’t feel it. I can live like this for a long time or until whatever it is I’m hiding behind breaks or falls apart.

A lot of people do this. They hide. They don’t even know they’re doing it. In fact, even if they were to read this blog, they wouldn’t see it. That’s the reality of hiding. When you hide, you hide everything. Your pain, your joy, your mind, your reality, your life.

I wish I knew exactly how not to hide. But with the help of Oprah, I’m beginning to figure it all out. Seriously though, she really is helping.

I think the first thing I’ve learned is I have to stop. Stop. Stop. STOP.

If I feel like hiding my emotions with food, I have to stop.

Then I have to feel. Feel. Feel. FEEL. Feel the boredom. Feel overwhelmed. Feel lonely. The urge to run and hide comes from not wanting to feel what’s unpleasant or uncomfortable. But it’s just a feeling. Why in the heck does “just a feeling” have so much control and lead us to do so many hurtful, harmful or unhealthy things?

I have NO IDEA. But I’m figuring it out. I think if we feel these shitty feelings we become better. Better friends, better moms, better wives. Because we’re not running to other things, we’re running to ourself. Figuring ourselves out rather than filling ourselves up with silly distractions.

That’s why I love movies so much, at least the good ones. They have it all. I get to experience the good the bad, the ugly, the soul of the movie. The more I allow myself to experience these raw, unlovely emotions, the more I become like one of my favorite films. If I dilute my life with crap, in hopes of escaping and not dealing, I get something as good as a bad porn. And I don’t want to be a bad porn I want to be a movie that’s real, rich, worth watching. And I can’t get that if I don’t stop and feel.