‘How hard is it to decide to be in a good mood and then just be in a good mood?’ – Lloyd Dobler. The boy who tried to explain to his girlfriend’s parents why spending as much time as he could with her was his only immediate plan for the future. We like the film Say Anything because it’s romantic. It’s romantic because it’s not realistic. We have better things to do than feel like Loyd. Things that must be worried about. Things we are comfortable worrying about because we can see their edges.
There are philosophers who – through broad methodological solipsism – suggest that which can be seen, measured and proven to those around us is all illusion, and that which is intangible and yet we feel regardless is all that is real. Love is one of these such things, another is depression. They are ancient things and yet we can’t outdate them.
If love is about hope then depression is about despair. If love is openness then depression is isolation. Therefor both of these emotions run responsively through us and our surroundings.
At the moment we’re all supposed to talk more about depression. We’re going to beat this evil by drawing it out into the light.
Love, on the other hand has been out in the light too long, and has got sun-bleached. It’s colours have faded and it’s become about ourselves not about others. We sculpt our online profiles, until we see an image we can love and then wait for that ideal to be met with equally fleeting notions of perfection. Love has become expected, assumed, all the movies have prophesized man shall not live alone. We needn’t worry about love anymore. Love is fate! All we need to do is sit back and wait and love will show up, looking rosy, become complicated for a week or so, and then ask us to marry it. The small print reads: love has no children from a previous marriage, no chronic health problems and a good haircut.
Where is the film based on the African saying ‘be careful when a naked man offers you a shirt’?
Enduring, real depression is inescapable much like real, genuine, open-hearted love is. Love is not perfect, nor is depression pointless. Both, at their most authentic, are about empathy.
To be alive, amidst the transient expression of a miracle, and find yourself soaking in that which makes you depressed is fucking frustrating. This is true no matter how intrinsic tragedy is to the human experience.
To be understanding of another, engaging yourself in the pain and joy of a lover is tender, and beautiful. This is true even when ultimately it all goes horribly horribly wrong.
To be ugly is to be inauthentic. To be authentic is strong, even if it means appearing weak.
What Lloyd Dobler was saying was that his authentic reaction to being was to love, not to stack shelves. Romantic, unrealistic, but authentic. As for how hard it is to be in a good mood; it’s as hard as it is, but we should try to love ourselves and each other despite that.