Saturday, April 21, 2012

Movies Imitating Life

This evening I went to a movie viewing of 50/50 at a friend's home.  There were seven of us watching, all of us cancer survivors.  I was hesitant to go at first; I like to believe I've put cancer behind me and I wasn't sure what watching a movie about a guy with 50/50 odds of living or dying was going to do for me.

I laughed, I cried.  No, really.  Parts were predictable and silly and light hearted (yes, there are parts of cancer that are funny in the right light, but only someone who has had cancer is allowed to say so!), but the parts that got me the most were the relationship parts.

In the movie, the main character has a lousy girlfriend who lets him down in multiple ways.  There is a scene of him going to chemo by himself on a bus....and it hurt to watch it.  It hit way, way, way too close to home.  And there are tender scenes where the best friend is truly there for his buddy, and those made me cry a bit thinking about my lovely girlfriends and how they'd been there for me, but it was those scenes with the girlfriend that just made it hard to breathe.

Bryan did not know how to support my cancer.  Somehow, it was all about him, and its effects on him, and no matter what I did, I did not get praise from all just seemed like an imposition.  I know what it feels like to take a bus to chemo because my girlfriends were all busy rushing around making me meals and taking care of my toddler, so I felt like they were tapped out, and I couldn't ask
them for more.Plus, I was too embarrassed to ask for help when he was sitting at home.  Denial isn't pretty that way.

I am working hard at putting that stuff in the past, but it's not easy.  The film brought it all up for me, and I guess it's good to process it...but "good" isn't the same as "fun."  I'm working hard at being the person I want to be, not bitter and angry, but the bitterness and angriness isn't that far below the surface.

In the movie, the guy ended up with a great girl.  He had the strength to kick the lousy girlfriend to the curb, and doing so opened up space for a great new relationship.  Given that, and that he lived, it was just the right kind of happy ending.  I love a good happy ending, and I'm working towards mine.

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