Brave: At Least Somebody Gets Her Mother Back

So I saw Brave this weekend. It was a pretty great movie. Finally, a film where the most interesting, most active, most dynamic characters are all women!

However, I had no idea the movie would bring up so much mother stuff. Without giving anything away, I can say that the mother is much more involved in the plot that I imagined she would be, and I cried from about the halfway point until the end of the film.

It was already a pretty weepy day. The night before, I had a dream that my grandmother was young and happy, after which I woke up crying. The memory of her dream-happiness and the reality of her depression just crushed me. Every woman in my family drags the burden of living like an anchor after them. There is no joy for them, only depression. And in my mother’s case, mania. Life isn’t a Disney movie. The moms you lose don’t frequently come back to you. And if they do, you’re not necessarily better off than you were when they were gone.

Someday I want to be able to look at the bombed out shell of my mother and not have it cut me apart on the inside. Someday, I want to stop questioning if I imagined her ever not sucking. Someday, I want to be see the full moon, eat a fresh tomato, or smell a rose in somebody else’s garden and not think of her, or at least not be sad about her.

I’m working on it, but I don’t know if I’m really getting anywhere with that. I seem no more clear on her now than I did this time last year, before I started therapy, and before she was diagnosed with stage four cancer, and before my sponsor told me I should start acting like she’ll be dead in two months so I can make my peace with her. I don’t think peace is something you can force, but I do think that it’s something you can delay. I’m trying to be honest, and do good work, because I want this to be over. I just want this to have been my bad year and then I want my happy, amazing life back without the burden of her hanging over my head, but I’m not there yet.

What does this have to do with the movie Brave? Just that I’ve been crying my eyes out in regard to mothers (real, fictional, and adoptive) all day long and now I’m tired of myself and my misery. I feel like I’m stumbling around in the dark of my own subconscious, and when I can find that light-switch I’m looking for, everything will become clear and I’ll know how to feel about her, and what to do about her and it will be calm, and simple and amazing. And I’ll be able to approach my broken mother, not as a needy child, but as an adult and an equal with a shared history that may explain us, but that doesn’t define us. Wouldn’t that be nice?

How does that happen?