I watched American Beauty tonight at Andy's. It is one of the most honest movies I've ever watched.
I saw it once before, in ... high school, I think. It was a time in my life when I still thought I was straight.
There were only two small scenes that I remember from the movie. I think rewatching it tonight helped me understand why they were so meaningful.
The first scene is perhaps the most well-known in the movie -- the plastic bag scene. We see the beauty that is elegance; the beauty that is inherent in things being what they are, no more, no less.
The times in my life when I have been the most compassionate, the most human ... these are the times when I can observe things for what they are. These are the times when I can drop the labels and stop telling stories.
Sit. Just ... sit. Find the quiet space within you.
The other scene is less well-known, but equally powerful.
For most of the movie, we see Ricky's father, Frank Fitts, as a hard, uncompromising Marine Colonel. But when he enters Lester's garage, he suddenly becomes human. We watch as, in a brief moment, the facade of discipline falls away, leaving a withered, tortured boy who wants to be loved as Nature intended him to be. We see, in an instant, the lie of his straight marriage, his sexuality, his entire material life ... fall away.
What of the lies--the stories--we tell ourselves?
I feel almost hypocritical even writing this entry. Here I am suggesting we stop telling stories to ourselves and those around us -- and what do I do? I use a story to explain my point. I try to explain in words what words cannot possibly express. Words are merely abstractions. There are no abstractions, not really.
Here I sit.