I’m beginning to have a deeper awareness of why people make movies, write into them, design into them artistically, because you can create realities where you can control every story line, down the tiniest of details, how and when they end, how and when characters transform. How appealing, that particular of control, when there is no such control in real life. Most especially the decision of directing when someone should take the moment to open their hearts … A director needs to know that timing, a civilian human who knows this is just annoying …. Sigh, as I continue to watch humans around me try to control the messes of life. Funny and ironic would be the film maker directer type who knows how to give into the world the most beautiful movies and has a personal life that is a disaster because in their personal life you can’t control every move the way you can a film.
I want to say something too about the difference between controlling and shaping … Controlling is saying no and shutting down, and shaping means showing up and going with it … Shaping also means having a higher standard of the shape, creating a quality of the thing. Like if I have 3 hours with my sister from the East coast, do I want a group thing, or do I want to have her meet my boyfriend for the first time over an intimate dinner at home? O right and then let it go. Controlling is also somehow not being ready for the real inner work ….
Shaping is being more intentional about how a think will look and feel like … Shaping has something to do with who we choose with partners - when I think about the men I’ve been with who fuel my ego - as opposed to co-living in heart spaces …It’s a whole different kind of living. Shaping is my carving out space and time for a man who limits himself in no way mentally or emotionally, which is very different from Knight in Shining Armor … Once there is no mental limitation the world is your oyster, and as a result making space and time for this man has has given us a wholistic life together that we could never have put on a bulleted controlled list.
Shaping creates a quality of a thing, a moment, a friendship, a love, a life, following the beauty, the light ... And words are our only way up and out … Intentions, even if they are listed and written, are a way towards shaping the quality of the thing. Control …. you know, control doesn’t even exist, so I’m not even going to both trying to define it.
When I was 17 I had to go see some movie and it was a need that my mother didn’t understand, forecasting at the time that this is a phase in my life. With just a hint of judgement.
My love of movies has only grown deeper. So has my mother’s, may I add. Maybe this is in direct correlation to the level of small-minded thinking in the real world, it is for me. Film is not an escape for me it’s a ritual reminder of how to think and be bigger. In the film world things are dared to be done, dared to be said, people dare to be the most amazing concepts, courage is had, visual and word creativity, new ideas … It’s the one space our universal criticizers are turned off. Where our largest thoughts and hearts get to exist.
Maybe this is my biggest and most fundamental frustration in life. That the kind of large-seeing and daring that happens in film - people just don’t do it in real life. I do. God, I do. Where IS everybody? It’s so weird to me that you are waiting for the fear to leave …
Anyway, just like life, the better the movie is the better, deeper, more intense the transformation of heart is. And of course it can’t be fake, it has to be felt, it has to be real.
As G and I continue to use Words and Intentions as action steps of how to shape the direction, quality, daring and meaning of our lives, it occurs to me that there are links among these concepts which he and I work with: writing, designing, being creative, and NLP / neuro linguistic programming - the raised awareness for Family Therapists to work with people to think differently than the automatic systems we were born into. Being alive and stitching closer together life and art.
Movies and art are an extension of someone else’s inspiration, values, visions, art and it resonates with our humanity … For me the best movies have to do with some kind of courage and truth. And always the least likely to succeed story, always the underdog. My list of daring heart movies is so long, and now, adding to it is ::
Dumplin’, the new Netflix film, is pure courage.
I’ve been wanting to write about beauty for ages and maybe this is the heart-window, after all, tears were had while watching this film … I knew I wanted to wait for a time I felt ready / open to hearing what I knew would be a raw emotional fat-girl story, one that I knew would tap into my own feelings around being big boned, loving food, and just in general not caring about conventional superficiality of beauty or skinniness. For me I think even well out of my rebellious 20’s, if I were to loose 20 pounds and look like Barbie, well, then I would look like Barbie and that’s a problem. Extra pounds are a good political statement.
And then we have genetic make ups … I can’t be the first one who has wondered what it would be like NOT to have been born the daughter of a beautiful German woman and tall dark and handsome American man. That I didn’t choose this container of beauty (but not skinniness) I came into, and that people continue to believe that it defines who I am, at least in part. I have spent my life watching what power I have, when, who I attract and when, living in the identity of being pretty. People have even insinuated that I landed certain jobs because of my looks. People always want to have beautiful friends, there is an energy that happens - pretty makes people feel good … People love shiny. Straight men are particularly pathetic on this subject. Clearly I was neither meant to live a life of the Ego - all externals that prove our existence (“You look good, so you must be good”), nor the human biological experience of being shiny to reproduce (“There, I contributed.”)
Soul is the only thing that makes me good and Dumplin’ takes on soul, no surprise to me, in the mess, in the pain. Gorgeous skinny mother Jennifer Anniston produces a not gorgeous not skinny daughter Willowdean, played by Danielle MacDonald. For this actress to be so open with her not perfect body, it breathtaking courage.
The movie follows two threads, the pain of the mother / daughter and the war between being skinny and fat. And the joy thread of the friendship between Willowdean and skinny childhood friend Ellen who see each other for who they really are, not exterior measurements. And kind of following how the threads come together to create something beautiful and universal.
The main draw for me with this film is the kernel of it all is Follow The Mess! Follow the Not Straight Line! How brilliant for the character Willowdean to take the pain right on and enter a beauty pageant. It’s the only way, of course! Lean into the discomfort, they say, and she dives in. It’s irrelevant whether it is fact or fiction, based on the novel. The point is the courage to take on something hard. The point is where can we have courage. Where can we expand on the higher qualities that this movie brings forth.
This movie might have been predictable in some ways, but if having Drag Queens come to the rescue is now predictable surely that is proof of our social fiber having grown spiritually. The exposed inner process of Willowdean combined with her vulnerability and strength makes Willowdean my new favorite super hero. Anyone taking on the world outside of conventional beauty, I want to learn from her. Everything in our society is screaming against her existence, and she doesn’t let the world wilt her.
What messes can we follow. What relationship shapes can we mutually shape. How can we support people for showing up. How can we encourage real relationships. Encourage vulnerability. How can we step out of our comfort zones more. And encourage people when we see them doing it.
There are other threads to this movie that make it dreamy. She knows that there are things in life that are the real beauty, a deeper, truer kind than patent beauty. She finds her voice. She asks for help. She knows her own strengths and weaknesses. She knows what her truth is. She doesn’t try to run away from her messy world. She steps into it with snark and humor and love …. She uses her spiritual guides - her memories of her fat Aunt and Dolly Parton’s words and music.
And ultimately about body shape, and the containers we were born into, aren’t we just a series of lines? A series of differently shaped lines?. The question for me, is who is going to see us for that invisible interior, past the shapes of my lines … In a Tribe kind of way, who is going to help me shape the kind of interior quality, and exterior living that I am looking for. This movie is one of my guides.
What I see visually are lines that initially show a fat girl and a skinny girl, just like the book cover. But if you take those lines and zoom them, morph them, swirl them, the labels come off them and you get something beyond the fat and thin. What I want to do is take the curved two hip lines - one from the left and one from the right sketch - and join them to see what new shapes can be combined … new beautiful shapes coming out of something love/friendship made ….