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sigh #2

I am increasingly coming around to the view that I may be too emotional to exist in the world.

I had been watching some mediocre *black slave girl runs away hooks up with kind white man who helps her* thing on TV and I had to stop watching it because the piggy drowned. (The kind white man was travelling by cart and he had his farm animals attached to it, and during a river crossing the rope holding the piggy broke and it got swept over the edge of the waterfall and died).

I felt too distressed to continue watching and had to switch the thing off lest I break down completely.

I have always had the habit of empathising with the minor characters to the point of heartripping.

And I'm still sat here thinking *the poor piggy, it was really cute, and it looked so scared* (ignoring the fact that I'm sure no pigs were actually injured in the making of the film). One of the most horrifying experiences of my childhood was in witnessing a farmer run after a squealing pig brandishing a weapon like something out of Psycho and sometimes I can still hear that pig screaming.

For years afterwards I refused to touch any meat that I knew to be pork. Similarly I have an aversion to lamb since seeing little lambs lying in a heap with thier feet tied up watching thier siblings being eviscerated and suspended from hooks. I was in hysterics. I really could not recover all day and I think I had tried to attack the farmer.

As a child I could not bear to witness any sadness without feeling its tragedy as my own. If someone shouted at a child near me, I started sobbing and I was having hysterics about the rejection of the Ugly Duckling in a televised cartoon before I had even learned to speak. I was an excruciatingly sensitive creature and I really took to heart the unhappiness of others.

My grandmother used to recite me this wrenching poem called Poor Little Harlequin about an abandoned toy. It went something along the lines of- I'm a poor little harlequin, abandoned by the boy I've loved, he has a new toy, he no longer loves me and I cannot bear to live in these conditions.

I don't think she'd ever managed to get beyond the second stanza before I burst into tears. For added effect my grandmother liked to practise an amended version of the poem, which went: I'm a poor little harlequin, Nina no longer needs me, I am unloved and abandoned and I shall take my leave of this cruel place.

Anyway, aside from compounding my various traumas, it left me with a lasting conviction that toys had feelings and I used to have nightmares about my teddies feeling slighted and unloved (and weep and mourn when they come alive at night). To this end (I wish I was, but I kid you not) I took aside my favourite teddy and explained to him that even though he was my favourite in order to not hurt the feelings of others I would need to pay a lot more attention to them, and to please understand. I couldn't go to sleep lest I said goodnight to every toy and spent some time of reassuring it of my affections and its attractiveness and good character, and it was not unusual to find me curled up shievering and blanketless because I had used all my covers to keep the toys tucked in snug and warm. One time coming home I saw a toy bear missing an ear that someone had abandoned next to a bin. In the rain. (very Hemingwayesque).

I was not content with merely rescuing the stuffy and giving it a bath. No. I cuddled it, and wrapped it in blankets, and rocked it and talked to it for hours, the better to enable it to recover from its ordeal. *shakes head at self*

I was a child who took instances of unfairness and rejection very seriously and did my utmost to redress them. (Unless of course I was dishing out the unfairness in form of cunning ploys in order to establish my dictatorship over my cousin and the neighberhood children).

But anyway. Movies. Which is how I got to thinking about these things in the first place.

The first ever movie I remember seeing as a child was ET (and I screamed at the scary cornfield scene, and I cried when ET got separated from his mum, and from the boy, and when we thought he was dying) but largely I remember it with fondness. The second movie was Jaws 3 (in 3-d no less, as though the horror were not enough). I have no idea what could have posessed my mother to take an 8 year old t this feature but even in adult life it traumatises me still. No body of water has ever been the same again.

The third film I remember seeing (a class outing, at the age of nine) was something called *These Wonderful Creatures*. It was all about animals. It was tragic from the start. It made the death of Bambi's mother seem like an afternoon tea-party.

The main character was a luckless wild pig called Giles. The story starts at his birth, when he is born as the thirteenth piglet and therefore straightaway rejected by his pragmatic albeit heartless mother (who has only 12 teats). He is chased away from the family den and forced to go out into the wild and fend for himself.

As though rejection and abandonment from what should be his chief caregiver were not enough, he is cold and hungry, and gets chased by bigger hungry things in the forest, and wonders the world entirely alone and dejected until he runs into a foal, Lana, who befriends him and takes him to meet her parents. They all get along, and hang out, until there is a terrible flood in the forest. Lana and Giles survive, but Lana's mother drowns early and most tragically Lana's father, a magnieficent buck dies because his horns get tangled in the flotsam and debris.

Giles and the orphaned Lana emerge into a sad grey dawn, where Giles meets his abandoner of a mother who now is thrilled to see him and makes noises of joy and affection (since all her other piglets drowned and the hypocritical whore wants him). However, Giles has principles and he rejects her advances and goes off with Lana.

I cried. I cried and cried and cried and could not recover after that film. I didn't care about Giles' strength of character and admirable moral tone. I thought of the poor 12 drowned piglets. I thought of Lana's mother and father, and of Lana's grief at being left alone in the world. I thought of all the helpless drowned forest animals. I thought even of Giles' cruel mother and ached at how harshly she had been punished.

And I cried adn I cried and I cried.

I was so devastated, that people spent ages afterwards trying to calm me down (unfortunately with conflicting stories. One group were basing thier comfort on *none of it was real, those were just mechanical animals, no one died* while the other dished out solace with *all the animals have gone to heaven and they're running around and are happy there now*).

Sigh. I really should try to come up with some happy stories.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
grazia
Mar. 20th, 2004 10:48 pm (UTC)
i still feel guilty about having my teddy bear up on a shelf - like i should still be holding her every night as i go to sleep. i worry that she feels lonely and unloved up there. and i try to tell myself, "oh don't be silly emily, she's a stuffed animal, for chrissake," and then i reply, shocked, "no she's not! she's petunia, and i love her!"

hm. my poor teddy bear, getting all dusty up there. it really does make me want to cry. there's something so poignant about old toys.

e
rainsinger
Mar. 22nd, 2004 07:47 am (UTC)
"oh don't be silly emily, she's a stuffed animal, for chrissake," and then i reply, shocked, "no she's not! she's petunia, and i love her!"


thank goodness I'm not the only one. I lve the name petunia. such an unusual name for a teddy.
lillfive
Mar. 21st, 2004 11:25 am (UTC)
I thought maybe I was the only one who felt guilty when not showcasing
and caring for my stuffed animals well enough. But they aren't just
objects, you know? They were my companions and friends. That's why they
are still on my bed.

I think maybe some people identify with animals, even cartoon ones, so
much because animals have no guile, no secrets, no hidden agendas...they
just are. And even the wildest of animals can learn to love like a little
child. I hate living in this farming area where I watch herds of cattle or
sheep or pigs all year and then come spring they all disappear because
they've been slaughtered.

And as far as movies go- I was the one in the movie theatre sobbing
hysterically during "Castaway" when Tom Hanks lost his volleyball named
Wilson. I still tear up just thinking about it.

You are too good for this sometimes ugly world. But I'm glad you're here
because we need your love and wonderful energy.

love, M.
rainsinger
Mar. 22nd, 2004 07:49 am (UTC)
I was the one in the movie theatre sobbing
hysterically during "Castaway" when Tom Hanks lost his volleyball named
Wilson. I still tear up just thinking about it.


me too! except i saw that film at home. heh. last week T ended up explaining why it was necessary for Hanks to let go of Wilson... :)

You are too good for this sometimes ugly world. But I'm glad you're here
because we need your love and wonderful energy.


*soaks up flattery like a sponge and radiates affection*
coalproximity
Mar. 22nd, 2004 02:14 pm (UTC)
ET!!
I just found our old copy of it when I was cleaning out the basement, and have every intention of watching it again soon. What an awesome movie.

And I can't talk about neglected toys right now because of the dreaded cleaning out the the basement, and all the stuff that had to go in the "giveaway" pile .. oh dear.
femmerin
Apr. 7th, 2004 03:15 am (UTC)
oh man... i STILL have anxiety about my toys feeling abandoned. major guilt involved. my first doll, who really was THE toy in my life, had her (cloth) face chewed up by my dog in an uncharacteristic act of vengence on his part, so it has been re-covered in a plain fabric; my friends all find it rather frightening (which, ok, i suppose it is to an "outsider") but i feel this need to DEFEND her. i can't just admit that she's beaten up because i think she's beautiful.

this past summer there were a few days of panic attacks when i started thinking about what happens to animals that don't get saved from the pound, and the ones who dont get sold in pet stores. THEN i learned about "puppy farms" and the tears started. oh man.

i read a book for my french class (can't remember the title, started with a G) where it was based in a mining town. i didnt care about any of the people in the book, they could all die. the thing that got me is that the author personified these two horses -- an old one and a young one. the old one practically grew up working in the mine, and the young one had just started and couldnt adjust to being apart from the outside. there was a line in it that roughly translates to "and they both were sad (or something) -- the old one for not being able to remember, and the young one for not being able to forget." it ALWAYS sets me off. i'm tearing as i THINK of it! and then both horses friggin' DROWN.

oh...and i still havent been able to finish ET.


erin.
(reine de la glace on BUS)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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