The younger three children were spending the evening with their father and the teenager was working, so I decided to rent a movie. A novel idea. I cannot remember the last time I watched a movie without interruptions, a movie of my own choosing without regard for rating.
I chose Redemption.
The star is an extremely attractive man, and the previews showed him in a beautiful suit driving a fancy car. It seemed like it had a story line but winked at me that it would be nothing more than a showcase of his hot body and his awesome fighting skills.
The story line was offensive at many turns, including a scene depicting sex slave victims warehoused in boxes in the back of a big rig being delivered to America, where all of their dreams would come true.
It was gritty. It dealt with war crimes, PTSD, child molestation, victim blaming, the sex trade and prostitution, and homelessness. It wasn’t quite what I expected. Not that I would recommend the film. There was plenty of make believe (he just happens to fall into an empty apartment and the bank just happens to send a PIN number through the mail and no one becomes suspicious and he is able to secure employment without appropriate ID and on and on) and too many photographs of penises as someone’s idea of photographic art. And, part of his redemption comes through giving away the money he earned as a henchman.
But, there were gems to be gleaned.
Like when he and his nun girlfriend were accusing each other of being hypocrites. His line was profound. It was something to the effect of, “What about you? You give them soup. What they want is their lives back!”
How many times have I felt that way? How many times have you felt that way?
I’ve been told over and over again to just apply for disability or social security. My landlord made a harsh comment, “I thought there was government assistance for people like you!” Others have said, “You need to go get some help. That’s what it’s there for, for people like you.”
Everyone wants to point me to the soup kitchen.
What I want is my life back.
No, wait. No, I don’t. I don’t want my life back. I want a life. For the first time.
Yesterday I walked out of the bank and saw a young mother pushing a jacked up Blazer through the parking lot. She had a child in the front seat and two car seats in the back. A stocky built man sat in a brand new pick up truck, watching her struggle. She was dirty and dressed poorly, as were her children. That was my life ten years ago. I don’t want that life back.
Yesterday morning I started reading a book on dieting to rest your adrenal glands and restore your health. The author likened our bodies’ response to standard dieting practices to our mental process should we be told we only had four cups of rice and two cups of beans to live off. We’d ration and save. That’s just what our bodies do when we try to restrict our calories and fat intake too severely. I recalled years of starving. As a child and later as a mother. I remembered living off of beans and rice, twice a day, for years on end as R took what other little food we had. He claimed that he was entitled to it because he had a physical job and needed to keep his energy level up. I would agree to it if I “wanted him to keep working.” The implied threat was that he would quit work if I demanded food for the children and myself. I don’t want to go back to beans and rice and being hungry all of the time. I don’t want that life back.
I went to the chiropractor and massage therapist yesterday to try to deal with the scar tissue that binds my neck, the bursitis and tendinitis in my shoulder, my blown out sacro-iliac joints, and the fluid bubble on the tendon sheath on my right hand. I’m falling apart, but these two young men haven’t given up on me yet and keep trying to find a way to help me heal and recover. So, another new process was used on me, wherein the MT used an ox bone to try to break up the scar tissue throughout my neck and shoulder region. It left me bruised today with petechiae covering my neck. I knew that would be a consequence, and I accepted it as a small price to pay for long term relief and increased mobility. However, I remember my neck being covered in petechiae and my body bearing bruises simply because my husband was using me as a short term release for his intense anger. I don’t want that life back either.
But, I want a life! God, I cry out for a life.
We all, myself included, have a tendency to look at the suffering of others and wonder what we can do to relieve it for a moment. We cover a sleeping homeless man with a blanket. We take a meal to someone. We help someone push a broken down vehicle off of the road. And, those things are good and necessary. But, we should always remember that beneath the hunger, the dirt, the broken vehicles, the bruises is someone who really wants more than a blanket or a meal. They want their life back. Or, perhaps, a life for the first time in any real sense of the word.