Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Brokeback Mountain: No One Told Me

I feel duped.

No one told me Brokeback Mountain was about me. It was supposed to be about other people, you know, homosexuals. That's the hype, right, two gay cowboys in love.

So why did I see myself in this story? That young girl I was who couldn't imagine escaping the narrow confines of her strict upbringing. That young woman struggling to find her way in a society which promised to prize independence but, too often, rewarded conformity.

When you're stuck inside the status quo, when it's all you know, you've played a part in this film. And I, for one, have acted, at some point, for some person, rather than risk exposing myself to condemnation and punishment.

Brokeback Mountain, with its vulnerable performances and clear-sighted direction, is about our natural human struggle. Our longing to belong pressed up against our longing to be ourselves. Our desire to live peacefully (and safely) pressed up against our need to live truthfully.

This film reminded me that liberty can be a shared delusion. We enjoy certain freedoms, yes, yes, but that doesn't necessarily make us free.

12 repartee:

Blogger mysticgypsy wrote...

Hi Frankengirl
I haven't seen this movie..but I totally know what you mean by being forced to comform and having had a strict upbringing. My society has its own pressures...and I've had more than my fair of having to defend myself. Half the time I wonder if they even understand HOW or WHAT I say and what values I am trying to stand up for :-\
I just feel like I am living in two worlds and it drives me crazy because I dont' want to do that....one in front of my family, one in front of myself. How is one supposed to know oneself if they are forced to comform? How else can one even make some mark that's their own in this world?

ugh!

1/03/2006 8:07 PM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

Oh, mysticgypsy, I do know what you mean! And I wish I had a wonderfully coherent and helpful response for you. Your situation is so hard because - when its family, those we live with and depend on, we can feel completely stuck and suffocated.

If you don't already own one, *grab* a copy of THE ARTISTS WAY by Julia Cameron! And you might try (this is very, very hard!) to look compassionately at the "ignorance" that surrounds you. I know this sounds weird and I can't say I'm brilliant at it myself.

When I was young, a close relative of mine always said: "Why do you read novels, they're not real!" I was hurt at the time, because it was meant as a severe criticism of me, but later, I was able to laugh at the absurdity of it and eventually, I felt sorry for the one who said it since she denied herself the rich world of fiction. I was also told a lot as a girl: "You frown when you write," as if writing makes me too somber or unpleasant to look at. :) Well, I can laugh at that one now, too!

I don't expect you to laugh at the moment! :D But I hope you can see the absurdity (and fear) in any criticism of your creativity (people fear what they don't understand). Living as truthfully as you can now will save you a lot of trouble later - but start small (and expect to make mistakes!). If you can set any boundaries to prevent them from injuring you, you are helping them, in the end, from becoming "villains." And reward and pamper yourself for your desire to be true.

Well, I feel sorry for them! Because they're missing out on your creativity; they are missing out on knowing you. That is very, very sad for them!

1/04/2006 12:36 PM  
Blogger mysticgypsy wrote...

Thanks Frankengirl :)
You do understand!

Yeah...I think a lot of people just find it harder to question things. Hence, they'd rather live an easeier life based on lies than a harder one based on truth. Some people I know refuse to question what they really want or who they really are. They just give into family or society's pressure instead of listening to their hearts. They think they are doing the right thing...but how right is it if your heart is not in it? If you don't have a pure intention? LIke my family wants me to be a doctor but I told them that perhaps I won't have the best intentions if I do become one, in that my heart won't be fully in it. They just don't GET IT! They are like, "of course you can study medicine. You are not stupid. And being a doctor is a noble profession, much better than anything in the Arts.You'll fail if you go into the Arts."

You can imagine my fury.But these are the retorts I get every time I am at home with my family (during breaks). Then I wonder if I could make it as an artist or a writer or a teacher. If I could be good enough. An oh boy!! I totally can relate to that comment you got from your relative about writing. In front of my relatives, I am expected to put a plastered smile and "talk" (how could they expect me to talk when I know that they would not understand more than half the things I would say??)

One of my close relative has already decided that whatever I do (since I left medicine)she won't be happy with me. I guess I've got a lot of proving to do for her then :-/

1/04/2006 2:41 PM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

I love your questions, mysticgypsy! By asking yourself now (instead of forty years from now), you're saving yourself a lot of trouble! :D

And guess who you remind me of? A certain Jane who had to listen to herself instead of Aunt Reed, Brocklehurst, St. John. But I imagine her world was a bit less "noisy" than ours - so hearing your own voice - well, it's not always easy. ;)

So, ahem, let me remind any and all relatives (who may be eavesdropping) that they won't be living *your* life in a day-to-day manner (try as they may!) and thus, how you spend *your* days is going to affect you - yes, you - most intimately.

Also, let me say that if anyone tells you that you will fail at Art, you may honestly reply, "YES, indeed, I will!" For worldly success in Art is an up-and-down business (since we live in a fickle world). Then you may add, "I plan to enjoy some success as well! And I may even be merry!" And if you feel like it you may remind any and all parental people that no career is 100% certain! Ask any fifty-five-year-old man who has just been downsized.

This will probably not go over well, however. :)

As long as our society prizes money, fame and product (over process and journey), you may never appear a "success" in the eyes of your relatives. So if you choose Art, you must accept that they may *always* shake heads over you! (And it's their LOSS!)

But you mustn't worry if you're "good enough." That's a lot of hooey! What is good enough? It's ineffable! You deserve to pursue your dreams, whatever they may be. Is it more noble to "fail" at what you love or succeed at what doesn't fulfill you? :P

And finally, please IGNORE any and all of the above! I'm only one silly voice in a very big universe, and not that true, deep, inner voice of yours.

1/04/2006 8:11 PM  
Blogger mysticgypsy wrote...

Hi Frankengirl.
Yeah...that's the trouble with society. No matter how one looks at it, it does seem obsessed with material, superficial comforts like wealth, beauty, and fame over sincerity and noble purpose. Oh well..I suppose if we can do good one step at a time, it will be worth it.
Thank you for the advice. Truly. I do appreciate it. Its nice to hear such commments from someone else other than my own head :)
You seem really understanding. And a kindred spirit, no doubt? :)(I noticed you like Anne of Green Gables too hehe)

Have a great day!

1/05/2006 11:55 AM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

I think you already know all you need to know. I just like to preachify! :P

Yes, I adore that Anne with an "E" Shirley and her mishaps (tho I've only read the first three in the series).

My favorite scenes are when she dyes her hair greenish and gets tipsy with Diana. Might be fun to play in her world for a while. ;)

1/05/2006 12:52 PM  
Blogger mysticgypsy wrote...

hahaah yeah those scenes are hilarious! Anne is such a dear! :D
You should totally read the rest of the books in the series, I think you'd like them, espeically the last (but more sombre) one, called "Rilla of Ingleside".

And if you are craving a slightly Bronte-ish turn to an L.M.Montgomery tale, you could read "The Blue Castle". Its one of my favorites.

By no means did u sound preach-ey (if that makes sense lol) :D

1/05/2006 1:33 PM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

I've never read THE BLUE CASTLE! Hmmm...a Bronte-ish turn? What could be more perfect - ;)

Wait - I just read the book description on Amazon:

"For the first time in her life Valancy did and said exactly what she wanted. Soon she discovered a surprising new world, full of love and adventures far beyond her most secret dreams."

You sure this book isn't about you? heehee!

1/05/2006 1:57 PM  
Blogger mysticgypsy wrote...

awww *blushes* hehe
I sure could relate to Valancy :)

1/05/2006 2:05 PM  
Blogger Rick Barnes wrote...

well said, I linked to your article from my blog today and quoted you. Thanks!

http://queerthoughts.blogspot.com/2006/01/brokeback-mountain-taking-down.html

1/05/2006 2:52 PM  
Blogger frankengirl wrote...

So glad you liked it!

:) Thanks for the quotage.

1/05/2006 3:28 PM  
Blogger SlayGirl wrote...

I saw Brokeback Mountain last night and was moved by the performances and honesty of the film. I have been trying to avoid postings of it until now so I would not ruin it for myself so now am trying to catch up with the posts I missed. I was under the impression that it was a love story as well. I had inadvertently learned from other posts before watching the movie that it was not a love story. I am actually glad I was prepared for some of the scenes because I found them disturbing.

I also saw myself in the movie, as the person struggling to break free from the harshness of the world (in my case sexism and racism). I also saw how the world reacts to someone who is different with fear, distrust, and violence.

I read the first few lines of your post a week ago or so so began watching it with this in mind. thanks for the food for thought.

7/24/2006 2:09 AM  

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