Monday, 29 October 2012

Blade Runner

From the time I was a teenager until my late twenties "Blade Runner" was my favourite film. Closely followed by "Rumble Fish". Odd choices for a  teenage girl really. Something about the films drew me to them. I didn't know why. Now I do. "Rumble Fish" is basically a story about a dysfunctional family. "Blade Runner" is about seeing a different reality. Recently someone lent me the DVD for "The Adjustment Bureau". I loved it too. Most of my acquaintances, when giving their opinion on the film (including the person who lent it to me) would say: "I didn't like it. It wasn't what I expected","Why? What were you expecting?" I'd ask. "A political thriller or conspiracy theory film". I found those answers really amusing. So many people I know watch a film with a preconceived idea. I don't. I go with the story and see where it takes me.  In this particular case  I knew that the film was based on a Philip K. Dick story so I already had a sense of what kind of film it would be. I have not read any of his books, though I've always wanted to, and I really don't know much about the writer. Before I went on my holiday, I listened to a BBC podcast about Philip K. Dick's life. Journalist Matthew Parris interviewed actor Michael Sheen ( yes, the guy that played the unbearable snob in "Midnight in Paris"). At one point in the interview, Michael Sheen says: "indicative of Dick’s writing is the moment where the central character begins to discover that maybe the reality that he’s living in and that he’s taking for granted may not be everything that’s going on and that maybe there’s something else going on behind it."
Maybe that's what draws me to all films based on Dick's stories. That central theme of being able to see a reality that nobody else sees.
As I'm listening to the podcast I start wondering if Philip K. Dick was an ACoN. You pick up on different threads once you know about Narcissism. There were a lot of clues in the things they were discussing about Dick's life even if they themselves weren't picking up on them. They spoke about Dick's relationship with his mother. For some reason this made me think of that scene in "Blade Runner" when Mr. Holden is running a VK test to see if Leon is a replicant:
Mr Holden says: "Describe in single words the good things that come into your mind about your mother."
Leon replies: "My mother? Let me tell you about my mother" and shoots Mr. Holden.
Well, if that doesn't reek of ACoNhood I don't know what does.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Heckle and Jeckle

     The commentary on other blogger's posts of the recent events has triggered a memory. It came back to me as I was thinking how Charity's actions seemed like she was trying to get a reaction from us. Like setting a cat among the pigeons.  
Someone mentioned about people who get a kick of creating a situation and watching people's reactions. For the life of me I can't remember who said it. I was thinking: what kind of person does that? And then I remembered...
     It seems so far away now that I don't remember much of the detail. I do remember the feelings though. Years ago I made friends with two sisters. When I first met them I thought they were really funny, in a witty clever way. My friends found them irritating. Their nickname for them was Heckle and Jeckle because of their high pitch voices. I could see what they meant but, tolerant and patient as I was then, I used to make excuses for them because I felt sorry for them. They had a really tragic history.Their father had died falling from a scaffolding when the mother was pregnant with the youngest one, so she had never even met her father. The other sister was five when it happened. Their mother had really struggled to make ends meet being on her own with three little girls. 
As things turned out I ended sharing a flat with them for nearly 3 years. 
     These girls used to make the most shocking statements when there was a ready audience to see what people's reactions would be. I had completely forgotten about this. Since my relationship with them ended in proper narcissistic fashion, I don't think of them very often.They loved winding people up. And people would fall for it every time. One time I brought up the issue with them about how they were embarrassing me they just told me that I was too sensitive. That I had no sense of humour. And that I had to learn to take jokes. How I wish I knew then what I know now. I could have given them a run for their money. Although to give myself credit, towards the end I started giving back as good as I got, and they were terrified. When they realised I could turn their tricks against them they said: "We've created a monster. Kara is not a "good girl" anymore." I guess their definition of a "good girl" was a victim that would take their digs laying down every single time. What they did might not seem like a big thing but it was rooted in cruelty. Putting people on the spot so that they could amuse themselves. It's just wrong. The funny thing is that if anybody came even remotely close to having a dig at them they would tear at them like a vicious tiger. They would go on and on for hours about how bad was the person who had allegedly offended them. Another great example of one set of rules for you, another set of rules for us. 
   When I was looking up the name of Heckle and Jeckle in english (I only knew them by their spanish translation) I found this: (from the wikipedia article)

 "While both are basically brash, cynical and antagonistic, Heckle may be more openly confrontational, and Jeckle slightly more devious. Both may deliberately annoy their mutual foils with insults, slapstick violence and rudeness, but Heckle is more likely to make his intentions clear from the outset. Conversely, Jeckle often treats enemies politely at first, in order to lull them into a false sense of security before unleashing magpie mayhem. They are alternately cast as a pair of conmen actively out to swindle an unsuspecting dupe—or just freeloading opportunists, idly in search of a free ride or mooching a meal.The duo bested their foes by outsmarting them, all the while indulging in wry commentary that made their adversaries appear even more stupid.
The characters' cheeky personas occasionally extended to impromptu song routines, such as "Give Us a House to Wreck" in House Busters (1952)."

Give us a house to wreck indeed. These sisters loved generating chaos and then had a good laugh at everybody else's expense. I'm realising now that their nickname was fitting in more ways than one.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Determined to Fly

I read the lyrics to this song in Bess' blog yesterday. I have heard the song lots of times but never really paid much attention to the lyrics. The song really struck a cord with me too.

Learning to Fly

Into the distance, a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
Flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone, my senses reel
Fatal attraction that's holding me fast
Now, can't escape this irresistible grasp
Can't keep my eyes from the circling sky
Tongue-tied and twisted; just an earth-bound misfit, I
Ice is forming on the tips of my wings
Unheeded warnings, I thought I thought of everything
No navigator to find my way home
Unladen, empty, and turned to stone
A soul in tension that's learning to fly
Condition: grounded - determined to try 
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted; just an earth-bound misfit, I
Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapour trail in the empty air,
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night
There's no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation - a state of bliss
Can't keep my mind from the circling sky
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Standing Up for Yourself (Part 2)

      Standing up for yourself is like a two-sided coin. One side is knowing how to stop people invading your boundaries. The other side is looking after yourself. This is easier said than done, I'm afraid. We have been conditioned from birth to look after other people and other people's feelings. Conditioned to rather be uncomfortable than bother anybody else. To drop our own stuff to go take care of someone else's. So when I at last drew a line in the sand and managed to keep all the narcs in my life at a reasonable distance I found that I didn't know where to start when it came to my stuff. I had spent my whole life "winging it" (as in: to improvise with little preparation). Spinning plates. Stashing and dashing. Dealing with the urgent rather than the important. Always on the run to catch up with one thing or another. Reacting to things as they came my way rather than deciding in advance what I wanted. And always, always putting myself last. 
     When I was in the process of deciding to put the narcs behind a safety line, I came across this sentence in a self-help book: 
 "If you don't have a plan you'll be a stepping stone for those who do."
    That's exactly how I felt. Like a stepping stone in their plans. The problem was that I didn't know what I wanted. What I wanted had never been an option. It had always been about what other people "needed". Since I was the "good girl" who never got in trouble and was always "ok", it was my "job" to help with my siblings' messes. 
   This sentence haunted me. "I need to have a plan" I'd say to myself, "but what?" "What do I want?" "I don't know". And somehow to even think about what I wanted just felt self-centred  and selfish. That's what all the narcs had been doing all along, right? Except that, in our quest to not be anything close to what they are, we end up shooting ourselves in the foot. Because there is nothing wrong with looking after yourself and your stuff. What the narcs are doing is different: they're not looking after themselves and their stuff, they're getting us to do that for them. Hitching a free ride at our expense. They just trained us to think that way so that we would look after their stuff. Quite a clever ploy, don't you think?