A few words on the world opening up, and why it’s absolutely okay to still be struggling with that a little.
Hello and welcome to the quiet corner of Film Stories, where you can put your feet up and take a moment to yourself. This week, we’re thinking about the fact that not all of us are ok. That some people might be struggling. And reflecting that it’s okay, to not be okay.
Green shoots of life are coming back to our outside world. Shops are sprucing up their windows, cafes and bars are creating little outdoor havens to welcome in the relaxation of lockdown rules. There’s a sense of beginning in the air, perhaps of hope.
And this is great. People are feeling more optimistic than they have done for a while. There’s stuff to look forward to.
Except: not all of us are feeling this optimism. Not all of us can partake. Some of us are grieving. Some of us are anxious. And others are in a daily battle with the black dog.
While it’s lovely to see my home town come to life again, for me personally it’s also a bit frightening. More people, more crowds. My daily walk is bringing me into contact with larger numbers of people than I’ve become used to. I’m jumpy.
I’m clinically vulnerable to serious illness from coronavirus, yet unable to have a vaccination (for the same reason I’m vulnerable). As other people relax, I can feel my anxiety budding into life. And it’s something other people struggle to understand, when offered freedom that I can’t take part in.
There’s a sense of being apart, of bringing the mood down. I’m genuinely happy that other people can expand their worlds and begin to enjoy simple pleasures again. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t envious. That’s ok. We’re all moving at different speeds. Testing out different ways of getting on with life. It’s okay for me not to be okay.
While saying that, I have found some respite in comfort culture. A large part of this was watching the film Northern Soul at the weekend (streaming on Prime). What a brilliant film, about friendship, music, finding your identity, and how things were not perhaps all that rosy back in our respective pasts. About screwing up, and finding your feet again.
Rocketman was another bright spot. Just pure bliss, very funny but with some sharp insight into family and society dynamics and how they dictate our actions.
There has been a multitude of books. Those 70s sci-fi trade paperbacks need rehoming somewhere. Loving C.J. Cherryh’s Morgaine series right now, taking me away to magic, mystery and the ties of loyalty and honour that bind us.
A comfort blanket of sight, sound and imagination. It doesn’t make it all okay, but it helps me step away from the internal worry machine for a few moments. I hope that if you are having a rough time, there’s a little cultural comfort there to catch you in its spell. Feel free to leave a few words about anything that’s helping right now, whether it be books, music, film or indeed, anything at all. Or indeed, a few words to reflect that you’re not doing so well.
Because it really is okay to not be okay.
Take care and thanks for reading.
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