I went to go see Rise of the Guardians today. I started seeing promotional images and hearing the buzz about it, but didn’t think I’d get to see it. Lately I haven’t really allowed myself the luxury of spending money for anything other than for the basic necessities. Besides, at my age, it’s. “kids movie” and it would have been hard for me to get anyone to come along. (I actually asked a few people. Everyone turned me down. Even my grandma.)
I knew I could wait until it came out on DVD, or easily find it online. But I also really really wanted to see it, and that it would be worth it for the stunning animation.
So I went to go see it by myself. It was the first time I’d been to a movie alone, and it was actually a very nice experience. I wasn’t stressed about being late because I wasn’t driving anyone there or meeting anyone there. I got to sit where I wanted. I bought a small drink and popcorn and no one asked me to share. No one distracted me from absorbing every detail of the movie.
Before I left – and I chose to drive to the next town over, where all of the screens had stadium seating so that I wouldn’t hurt my neck – my younger sister tried to discourage me from going. She’s five years my junior but she has a knack for guilt tripping me. In fact, just about everyone in my life has a knack for guilt tripping me into doing things I don’t want or out of things I do. I know this. I’m a pushover. But today I made the decision to stop letting it happen. My sister said “Well… If you want to waste your money…” and I said “Yes. Yes I do.” You know why? Because it’s my money. Sure $7.50 is pushing it a bit, but I knew I was going to regret not seeing it on the big screen. I told her so. Just as I was about to drive off, though, she said, “Don’t you feel weird going to see a kids movie alone? What are you going to say, that you’re a critic or something?”
“No. I don’t care. I’ll do what I want!” I declared jubilantly.
The movie was amazing. Based off of ideas from William Joyce’s imaginings of classic children’s mythological figures, it conveys messages of believing, hope, dreams, wonder, childhood memories and fun. The villain of the story is the Boogeyman, scheming to take over with fear. (Jude Law’s voice is perfect for this role, by the way. He has that silky, arrogant tone that can drop to solemnity at the right moment.)
The Guardians all get their power from being believed in by the children of the world. The Boogeyman doesn’t have much power, though. As a result, he is invisible to everyone. Jack Frost is also invisible to children, but he has been trying really hard to get someone to see him. When he is chosen to be a guardian, he doesn’t know why. He has more in common with the villain of the story. There is in fact a direct parallel in their backstories where people walk right through them and they realize that they are alone. When Pitch tries to get Jack on his side he uses this, saying that Jack’s biggest fear is that no one will ever believe in him or see him.
I guess the connection that I’m trying to make is that my biggest fear lies in being seen. How fucked up is that? No one should be afraid of that.
For a lot of my life I’ve been worried about other people judging me. Afraid that they’d think badly of me. People in line at the supermarket. People in church. Everyone. I have this book of scanned notebook pages from Kurt Kobain’s journals, and on the cover it says, in his handwriting, “If you read, you judge”. How grim. But I can choose to think of it as a general piece of advice: I’m not ever going to escape it. People will look at me. They might even make assumptions about me and judge me. It is not my job to care.
Today, I asked for my ticket at the window and the woman didn’t do a double take to make sure I wasn’t a pedophile or give me a pitying glance. I had been worried over nothing. I let it sink in. Nothing bad was going to happen to me.
I will probably come up with some practical New Year’s resolutions in the following week. Keep my house cleaner. Get more exercise. But I really want to be my own person from now on. I want to do things that make me happy without fear of being judged or disappointing anyone.
I’m only human.
How do I know this?
Because the moon told me so.