Tunnel Vision

There are times in my life when things get especially hard, when the weight of the world crushes down on my shoulders, back and chest. When it gets hard to swallow and the tears threaten to break forth. When the world outside is cold and unforgiving. Now, feels like one of those times. It’s a time when I can no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel. When the tunnel is just a tunnel and the tunnel is never ending.

But, I find that surrounding myself with things that bring their own light to my life, then I at least have a flashlight to guide me within the tunnel. One that shines on the dark spaces and reveals them for what they really are. Simply cracked, grey concrete.

The idea to break through with force and with rage is appealing. But it’s not the only way. I’ve found that if I keep enough battery in the flashlight, if I keep feeding it with the little things that I love, I will eventually find my way out of this tunnel and into the sunshine. To feel the wind on my face or the spray of the sea.

Because I know it’s waiting for me to reach it and to tell me that this, too, shall pass, eventually. So I’m taking the steps to get there, one at a time, flashlight in hand.

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Those Who Risk, Win.

On Monday, I went to see Joss Whedon and Mark Ruffalo speak as part of the Directors Series at Tribeca Film Festival.

There was a point where Joss started talking about how, years after Buffy, he finally realized that he was writing about himself. That he was, in fact, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He realized that all of the emotions Buffy experienced and what she went through came from somewhere deep within. And it
wasn’tlarge_joss-whedon-mark-ruffalo-1 until it was over that he was finally able to understand.

He said the same thing happened when he was writing the character of Bruce Banner/ The Hulk for The Avengers. The character of Bruce Banner spends much of his time trying to prevent The Other Guy (i.e. The Hulk) from emerging and taking over. It’s something that he will have to learn to cope with for the rest of his life. In the 3rd act of The Avengers, Bruce joins up with the rest of the team as they’re about to take on an army of Chitari. Captain America turns to Bruce and says something along the lies of: “Dr. Banner, now would be a really good time to get angry.” And Bruce simply responds with: “That’s my secret, Captain. I’m always angry.” Joss said that one of the reasons he was so proud of that line from Bruce was because it made him realize, that once again, he was writing about himself. And that he is, in fact, always angry.

As I was listening to him talk about this, I began to realize something too. When I’m writing particular characters, they always seem to either be angry or sad. And if, like Joss, I’m writing about myself, then maybe, I too, am always angry or sad.

The anger I can get on board with. I do believe that a lot of the time, I am angry. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Anger can drive you. It certainly drives my writing. It takes me to places that I never thought I could go. And If I’m being honest, anger gets me some really great dialogue.

The sadness, however, I’m not so fond of. But sadness is a part of life and sad things happen all the time. So why shouldn’t I write about them? But if I really think about it, if I actually dig deep, I feel as though I am sad. Though about what, I’m not entirely sure. But what I find is that when I write sad characters, I feel better on the inside. I get those emotions out and project them into something I can make positive. Something I can be proud of.

Joss said that, to him, writing is one of the best things in life. He loves the writing process and he gets so much out of it. He discovers what he’s capable of and what brings out his emotions. He said he was once writing something so powerful that as he was writing, he found that he was sobbing.

When I’m not [writing], I remember that I hate myself. – Joss Whedon

The degree of honesty and candor to which he spoke, was truly awe-inspiring. To be able to have that lens into one’s own self is nothing short of immaculate. And the fact that he shared it with a room full of strangers and continues to share it through his writing is one of the reasons he inspires me.

That’s what I want from my writing. I want to feel that catharsis that comes from simple words on the page. Not just words that dig deep inside myself and reach my soul but words that actually came from me. Words that came from my own heart and my own soul. Like Joss, I love writing. It brings me a joy unlike any other. And it feels like it’s what I’m meant to be doing. And maybe I am sad or angry. Or both. But even so, I know that I can take those emotions and do something with them. And hopefully by doing so, I can bring a little solace to other people and maybe to myself, as well.

Writing about yourself is risky. It’s opening yourself up to criticism and judgement. It’s showing your wounds and most of the time you’re not sure if doing so will heal those wounds or just make thing fester. But I wholeheartedly believe, that at the end of the day, it’s a risk worth taking.

“If you’re not writing about yourself, why are you writing? Why would you not want to write something that’s important for you to say to people?” – Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon is a writer, director & producer known for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly and The Avengers. Mark Ruffalo is an actor and producer. 

Inspired by The Daily Post Discover Challenge, Risk

Love, Hate, Fear

Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda

3bbbf5b90d2295fa9ca9a0198495c219We hate fear

We fear love

And we love to hate

They say “Hate” is a strong word

But so is “Love”

“Fear” can be an even stronger word

A stronger emotion

A stronger attitude

We fear the unknown

Unable to welcome it

It’s easier to hate what we don’t understand

Instead of taking the time to truly learn

To appreciate

To love

We fear love

And yet we desire it most

We covet it

Like we covet acceptance

But not everyone will love you

Many will fear you

Many will hate you

For just being you

Just because it’s easier

Easier to oppose

To oppress

To object

Then to take the same side

It’s hard to accept our fear

So instead we learn to hate it

In order to gain back something we lost

To let go of that uncertainty

And take back our power

In an already unknown world

Standing up and spewing hate and fear

Can make you feel tall

It can make you feel just

It can make you feel important

But standing up

And spreading love

Can make you feel empowered

Known

Heard

Seen

We can fear fear

And we can hate hate

But we can also love love

…we must choose between what is right and what is easy.“- Albus Dumbledore

Mad as a Hatter

Tell us about a time when you flew into a rage. What is it that made you so incredibly angry?

There have been a few times when I’ve been angry. So incredibly angry that I’ve wanted to throw things across the room and scream until my lunges burn. There are times when I have to yell about my grievances. It helps to get certain things off my chest. But there are also times when I hold it in. Most of the time I find myself with nail marks in my palms from fiercely balled fists and pained inner cheeks from teeth bitten down a little too hard. It depends on the situation, but I always find a way to channel my rage. It may not always be productive, but it’s what I have to do.

I’ve been angry, but I’m not an angry person.

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