Paul and I go out to the movies about one time a year. It is all our wallet can handle. We sneak our own soda in and with popcorn up to $6.25 for a small bag, if I am in the mood for a snack, I will sneak a small bag of candy in as well. Pawning a kidney simply to get the ‘big screen’ experience is not an option. We did have free passes, a Logan’s gift card (Christmas gift) and had not been on a ‘date night’ in forever. I felt passable so we opted for “August: Osage County” overlooking that “Walter Mitty” was still showing, albeit at only one early afternoon matinee. Little did I know this ‘black comedy’ was going to have me crying through part of the movie.
Julia Roberts is my favorite actress and Meryl Streep is one of my favorites. If Meryl Streep does not win the Oscar, it is a crime! As the daughter of addiction, Ms. Streep did not just nail the part, she had me so engrossed, my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder kicked in and I literally felt I was there….. feeling I was back with my own Mother and reliving her escapades while she was under ‘the influence’. It was almost as if I was watching my life, with the addition of two sisters and an array of eccentric, imperfect extended family to help support me in their own way. I have always maintained if my life were made into a movie, I would want Julia Roberts to play me. Little did I know that in a way, my prophesy was coming true! This led me to think; what if my battle with chronic illness started long before the chicken pox and shingles ever hit me at age 29? What if getting the chicken pox and shingles were just a trigger for the inevitable? Perhaps trying to stay focused on getting the hell out of dodge and staying sane in a house of horrors for so long made me extremely fragile. The first really difficult physical illness that set me up to crumble, physically, like a tired, broken down building just needing that last little push in order to give way. I will maintain that every fellow fibro warrior I have talked to can fill in this sentence, “I was never the same after________”. Perhaps for me it could and should be amended to “surviving a verbally abusive alcoholic Mom.”
This is not a ‘warm and fuzzy’ movie with a ‘happy Hollywood ending’. It is, nonetheless, real and accurate. If the author did not grow up as the child of addiction, they had a whole lot of input from people that grew up in the chaos of addiction. You cannot ‘just’ write this. And every actor and actress did their homework well. I tip my hat to the entire cast. When I feel like my life is being played in front of me, that says it all. There were moments I literally did not see “Violet Weston”, I saw my Mom. The way she swayed back between being kind to nearly evil made my hair literally stand on end. Of course as anyone with PTSD can tell you, we tend to ‘flash back’ to those events that made us who we are. We do NOT live in them. We get PAST them. However, when presented with something that ‘puts us there’, we cannot help but be back in that very moment. It is an element of PTSD that just is what it is.
I feel this movie should be mandatory for every Psychology Class and any Class, College or High School, dealing with addiction. The addiction does not matter. The collateral damage is the same. My Mom did a lot of things that I could easily have not forgiven her for. However, I did. They are long forgiven. The only thing I ever asked of her was to get help for her addiction. I told her when she finally reached out for help, I would be her biggest fan and cheer her through the entire way. In the end she died for her addiction and of her addiction and I, still her ‘protector’ or maybe even an ‘enabler’ to a certain extent, out of respect, choose not to disclose the details of her death. I tell only my closest most trusted friends. It is sad. It is pitiful. And it is the most lonely death one could ever imagine.
Do not get me wrong, this is a fantastic movie. I do not want to give the impression that is is a sad, sorrow filled, downer of a movie! It is not that at all and most people will find Streep hilarious especially the ‘Eating the catfish’ scene! I laughed plenty through the movie and Paul enjoyed it very much! This movie did lead me to another train of thought: what if the stress of living in this mess was the true start of this mess I am living with now? I probably will never really know. This I do know: Addiction is a horrible disease that affects not just the user, it affects countless others. The others affected are affected their entire life time. If you have Fibromyalgia, think back: was there trauma in your childhood? Another train of thought: if an imperfect someone in your life is really trying to right a wrong, at least they are trying. The “Violet’s” of the world just carry on their venom and see no wrong in it. I hate spoilers so I am not going to say a word about the ending other than we heard some people around us that were disappointed or wanted it to end another way. Paul and I? We ‘got it’ ; we so, so ‘got it’. Until next time, K.