Find strength in what remains behind

Last night, after a very inspirational writers conference, I watched an episode of It’s Me or the Dog that left me rather emotional. Not that the family in question underwent any moving transformation or anything. This crazy woman had rescued four dogs. One was “aggressive” and fought with another. Trainer Victoria Stilwell helped by having them walk the dogs side by side.

Side by side. That simple.

I cried after the episode because we never were able to walk Isis and Leo side by side.

I’m in a fragile place, because I’ve reached that place in the memoir. The last seven months of Isis’ life were very difficult for her and me both. I decided to press pause and go back to the beginning. Hey look, Isis is still a puppy and we just got her. Yes, that’s a much better place.

Before I went to bed, I flipped a few channels to find something a little less heartwrenching. What’s this? Splendor in the Grass is on TCM! I’ll just watch a few minutes

… Or the rest of the whole movie.

Does any movie better capture teen romantic angst? Seriously. My ribs constricted against my internal organs during several key scenes in this movie, just as they had when I first watched it, like, 20 years ago.

In the movie, Natalie Wood goes nuts after Warren Beatty dumps her. And he dumps her because he really, really wants to have sex with her, but he can’t because she’s a “nice” girl.

Granted, I have a sophisticated enough understanding of mental illness to recognize that not all girls go nuts after boys dump them. Surely Deanie Loomis (Wood’s character) had some predisposition toward a psychiatric episode. But what if she’d been allowed to have sex with Bud? Could she have married him and not gone crazy?

Either way, I cried for the second time last night. And then I went to bed.

3 thoughts on “Find strength in what remains behind

  1. Oh, sweetie… What a weird thing about all of us – like our painful life experiences weren’t bad enough in reality, we’re compelled to go back and re-live them, over and over, until the worst moments lurk in our pages – authentically, believably, as nakedly painful as they were the first time around. Talk about mental illness! (Good thing there’s a bunch of us to be crazy, hurting writers together. Big hugs and recognition of all your work and struggle – you CAN do this.)

  2. I had the same reaction to Splendor in the Grass when I saw it as a 16 year old AND when I re-watched it 20 years ago.
    Love your blog.
    Auntie Lou

    • Thanks. Glad to know it’s not just me … And to know that a mental health professional agrees with me! 🙂

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