Running With Scissors

Tonight I watched Running With Scissors.

Watching movies seems to be very bad for me. Whenever I sit down (actually usually I lie down and curl into the ever popular fetal position, with my hood up and a blanket on) to watch a movie, I have this tendency to cut myself off from everything else.  There were a few phone calls I was supposed to make and receive tonight, but I turned my phone off, planning to say that it mysteriously died on me.  My sister asked if I wanted to play basketball with her, which I responded to with a mumbled invitation to watch my movie with me.  I had quite a few errands I should have been running.  There were lists I could have been writing, along with letters and stories and journal entries and emails.  In short, there was a lot of stuff that I completely ignored tonight because I wanted to cuddle into the darkness of the downstairs of my house and watch a movie.  Television, radio, books, you name it…nothing else quite encourages my anti-social side to come out and play quite like a good piece of cinema does.

Let’s talk about the movie, shall we?

Running with Scissors truly impressed me.  It is sad and funny and it is horrible because it is true.  The story follows a young boy, Augusten, as he grows up in less than usual circumstances.  His mother is a bit eccentric to begin with,  but declines into what can really only be classified as madness at the hands of her not-very-capable-due-to-his-own-frightening-peculiarities psychiatrist.

Although the story follows Augusten most closely, the story is actually about the psychiatrist; the puppet master, the behind the scenes string puller…the man who is responsible for every ounce of crazy in the movie.  He has three children (all adopted?) to which he adds Augusten halfway through the film.  None of his kids are quite right in their minds, and his wife is just odd enough that she is okay with munching on dog kibble while watching old horror movies.  The story is about influence and how everything a person does impacts (for good and ill) the people around them.  “The Doctor”, as his wife always called him, ruined at least five lives due to his unorthodox approach to the mentally ill (for example, handing out medicine like it was candy), and probably drove others into the ground as well.

The movie  was about unraveling:  It showed  people losing their hold on relationships and self.  It should have been painful to watch, but there was just enough whimsy that I could and probably would watch it again.

It is a story that offers hope.  Whereas other similar stories are only dark, this one offers a glimmer of sunshine.  The author of this book recovered and grew into a functional adult.  He was able to recount his childhood in a humorous way, because he made it through the tough times and became the person he is today because of it.  Running With Scissors asks us to believe that no matter what we go through, no matter what obstacles life erects on our paths, it is possible to overcome them.

The end of the movie made me contemplate that all too prevalent and unanswerable question of mine…what do I want to do with my life?  Where is my passion?  Could I please, please, please just put on a backpack full of clothes and start somewhere new?  I do not think I am quite capable enough to just walk into a sunset, but…

The problem is that in order to pick up and move, a person needs to have a passion or a driving force behind them to guide their journey and I am not sure that I have one.  There are many things I like, but I do not remember the last time I loved something.  I could not even tell you what I have loved, because I do not remember what it felt like to care passionately about a part of life.

I can’t write any more.  My Mum came downstairs to watch television and it’s killing my focus.  Agh.


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