I have realized that I use movies as a form of communication. This is more true with my mom. She and I have a complicated relationship and I find that communication between us is like navigating through a minefield. So, whenever I find a movie that has any resemblance to what my mom and I are like I scour the internet for the Spanish-language version and force my parents to watch it.
I watched Lady Bird in the movie theatre when It opened and cried all the way on my walk home. Recently I was sitting in Washington Square Park with a random Starbucks drink in hand before work and I looked around me and got this inexplicable feeling. I looked around to the NYU students sitting on the grass and thought, I didn’t get in, NYU will never be part of my story. As cliche as it sounds, NYU was my dream school. When I first got the rejection letter I was in voice and speech class and cried in the midst of trying to continue breath work. Others in my class had also gotten rejected, two got waitlisted. I remember one of the boys that had gotten waitlisted later on say something along the lines of feeling guilty for even being waitlisted when this other classmate we had deserved to get in more than anyone else. I remember being hurt. Even now it still stings. It dawns on me sometimes that people might think that I’m not deserving of my dreams, or that in their eyes I’m not good enough. But that’s a whole other blog post. Anyways after being sentimental and imagining life if things had turned out differently, I reminded myself that I live in New York. I am so lucky to live here and have access to all the things I have access to. I know what I want to do for the rest of my life, I’m a little unsure of how to get there but I’m determined to get there. Which them reminded me of Lady Bird.
Lady Bird, throughout the whole movie, was so driven, she didn’t know what or where she was so determined to go, but in everything she did she marched right along. She had this hunger. A hunger her parents, especially her mom, didn’t quite understand. I’m sure when I’m thirty and I watch it again then, I’ll think of it differently. I just watched the Times Talk with Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan. Towards the end the moderator or an audience member asked them if they felt that both Lady Bird and her mother were equally responsible for the state of their relationship. Greta Gerwig said yes, Saoirse Ronan said no.
When I first watched the movie, I remember having so much empathy for Lady Bird when her mother ignores her and doesn’t say goodbye to her when she leaves for college. Her mother said such hurtful things to her. Maybe its because I’m young and am not an actual mother, but I don’t believe that a mother should say what Marion said to her daughter.
Anyways, I found the movie in Spanish and during breakfast I forced my mom to watch it. I wanted her to watch it just because I identify with Lady Bird and my mom is exactly like Marion, Lady bird’s mother. I was hoping that by forcing my mom to watch the movie she would understand where I come from. I though maybe she’d understand my dreams and desires. But no, instead she said how she thought Lady Bird was a horrible character who was blindly cruel. To which is said “that’s the point”. Because I think that many times “teens” in films aren’t ever allowed to act like teens. They’re always just perfect, with the perfect parents, and they have their life figured out. But Lady Bird isn’t perfect. Even her dad was like mine. The one always in the middle watching while mom and I hurricane around each other.
Once the credits rolled it saddened me that Lady Bird was the one to extend the olive branch to her mother. Not the other way around.
I had hoped that by my mom watching Lady Bird she would understand me just a little better. But life is not a movie. And the relationship I have with my mom will continue to be difficult and complex. Like Lady Bird, I’ll wonder if she likes me. If I wasn’t her daughter and we met in school or out about would she like me? Would she want to be my friend? I don’t think she would.
My mom, like Marion, has many presumptions about the way I think. She thinks I don’t appreciate all the things they have given me. She thinks I’m embarrassed of them. I’m not.
I truly believe communication between parents and children is so important, talking not yelling at each other. I know I have to work on that with my mom.