Happy New Year, Darren Aronofsky

Two of the highlights of my life were with my son: seeing Foo Fighters at Wrigley Field in 2015 and seeing the stunning Cameraperson film at the Milwaukee Film Festival in 2016. He and I share a love of art, literature, music, and film.

We are down for the beautiful and the beastly as far as art is concerned. Last week we watched Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream (FF’d over some over-the-top awful scenes), which I’d only recommend to the relentlessly cheerful. The acting is truly exquisite, and the cinematography is powerful. That being said, the movie is a total drag–a maddening, depraved descent into drug addiction without a glimmer of hope or grace.

Truly, my kid was flattened. He was quiet as the credits rolled, and I filled the silence with a dumbass remark . “Geez,” I said. “Aronofsky needs to lighten up.”

I’ve seen Black Swan and The Wrestler, and I’m sure I’ll watch more of Aronofsky’s work in the future–even though I think his vision is far less than 20/20. After all, how do we know we are in darkness if we haven’t experienced the light? Not even a glimmer of grace? It’s not all bad.

Somehow Requiem really got me thinking (as good films do)–and what kept coming to mind were the endless memes on social media right now that curse 2016. F you, 2016! Sketches of a hand dropping a match into the papered-up year we are departing. Is all this really about the Presidential election and the death of some entertainers? I think not.

I have to tell you, 2016 did not deliver a lot of what I hoped but all of what I needed. I deliberately decided to concentrate on what was happening in me than what was happening to me. I devoted myself to things that were, for the most part, positive for this single gal–which means I spent copious time alone. I read a lot. Listened to several podcasts daily. Buzzed through great tv on Netfilx. Journaled. Practiced yoga daily. Stopped doing shit that wasn’t working.

I don’t want the rest of my life to be like that, and it won’t. Each chapter has its own flavor. I don’t have the Thing I most want in life, but I do have appreciation for the place I am. Today I was rewinding my personal history in my head, wondering if there were years I ended with my middle finger up or a match in hand. I really don’t think so. I’ve had my pain and anger, and I felt every single bit of it, without need to seethe on into the next year.

Happy New Year, Aronofsky. I’ll meet your darkness with my own bright hope.




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