Six Feet Under-standing

Today I finished watching the fifth season of a little HBO show they like to call ‘Six Feet Under’. I began watching Season One earlier this year with intelligent and sort of cineophile-ish Canuck boyfriend. When he began explaining the premise of the show (that it is about a family who own, operator and live at the premises of a funeral parlour) I was intrigued but hesitant (the fact that he has not once been wrong in suggesting a film to me is besides the point.)

What began in the early part of this year ended today, and to his credit, Canuck boyfriend watched the entire thing again from start to finish with me, without missing an episode. We would discuss at length this emotional, fantastic show about love and loss and everything in between.

I haven’t watched many shows from start to finish without missing an episode, and especially with the same person in the room for every viewing experience. I think the last time something like this happened I was in Hong Kong for Christmas, and my Mum and I downloaded the first and second season of ‘Archer’ a wickedly funny animated adult-ish show about a spy agency. I was supposed to be heading out later that evening, but Mum and I downloaded them all, started drinking Bailey’s in the afternoon and couldn’t stop. I have never laughed so hard, nor snorted Milk so far across a room before.

But watching ‘Six Feet’ was different. Not only are the characters so real that you miss them and hope for their safety and well-being, but the way the show progresses is in a linear narrative structure, so each episode reveals something new about the characters and deepens their journey. And while I’m sure that each episode has its stand-alone qualities (each episode begins with a death and follows a similar structure, jumping from story lines that ensnare the different characters) after watching 5 series of this show in order…I can’t imagine just flicking on the TV and catching a re-run, or skipping to episodes I think I might like better.

After five series you believe in the struggles of the Fishers (the main family) and their community, and you have also watched them grow and develop, make up and break up, so you feel like you know their past and where they might be headed.

The whole cast and crew of this show can not be commended highly enough. They take you on a roller coaster of emotion, and although I am extremely late to the party on this one (the fifth season ended in 2005) I feel that the messages and struggles within the show are relatable to each of us today.

Whether it is David’s struggle with accepting his sexuality and wanting a family, Nate’s fear of commitment and responsibility, Ruth’s fight for independence and self-image after years of playing the role of wife and Mother, or Claire’s desire to be heard, to not be forgotten about and to be loved, we have all been there, we have all felt at times like a David, a Nate, a Ruth or a Claire. This show reminds us that life is not always pretty. It’s intense and interesting, but it ain’t always sunshine and lollipops.

In a TV and film landscape where producers and film studios are still trying to feed us glittery images of a Utopia that doesn’t exist (well…maybe it does…on the backlots of LA studios) this show is refreshing a sad and unflinching when it comes to dealing with pain.

‘Six Feet Under’ says:

Hey you know what? Sometimes life sucks. But you’ll get over it.

Everyone always said to me that the last episode would stay with me. After the tumultuous five seasons, I couldn’t imagine where the writers could take us after all the hurt we as an audience had endured. But they really took it to the next level and everyone was right. The last episode was amazing.

I would recommend that people commit to the 70 or so hours of viewing, just for the last ten minutes of episode twelve, season five.

I wish sometimes that life was documented like a TV show (I’d definitely want mine to be HBO). Things happen to us in increments sometimes, just little tiny pieces of the days and nights and they add up to make big things, to change lives for the better or for the worse, but always clumping together to form hours and days and months and years. And it’s hard to see them in big picture form. Sure, you’ll remember the big ones, the day she said yes, the day you signed your name on the deeds of the new place, births, deaths, awkward school reunions…

But what about the moments of interaction with a family member – where you learned something unique about them just for a split second, where you saw them in a different light for just a moment? In TV land the character could narrow their eyes and the music could come up, but in real life those moments go undocumented. They just happen and without realizing them, or having the remote control to go back, freeze and re-watch, we are unable to perhaps identify significance – or appreciate that nuance to the extreme.

The underlying message that I took away from this incredible show is that life is short and hard sometimes, but beautiful.

I’ll try to keep that in my heart on the days I wonder what the fuck I’m doing with my life

The Challenge of wanting vs doing

I haven’t blogged in almost 2 weeks and that makes me feel bad.

Blogging is always on my to do list, even when my brain feels like the melted easter eggs I found in the bottom of my desk drawer (and yes I still ate them).

I have a personality with a “type” clearly labelled. Over-achiever, controlling, etc etc. It’s all very interesting, (as you can tell by the way I’m casually skimming over the issue), but to live the personality day in day out – well…it’s rather exhausting.

Take for example the lack of blogging.

(Conversation with myself)

I didn’t blog today, or yesterday, or the day before. It’s cool. I recently took on the challenge of writing an article for a local paper.
Is it cool? Blogging was the one thing I was doing consistently.
Yes Paris, it’s fine. Relax.
Okay… but I should have blogged about something… like my first experience with Passover, or that car accident we witnessed coming back from Buffalo… or more lists of things I haven’t achieved (that was a popular one), or destinations I would like to travel too, or the failed planned Miami trip or-
I didn’t blog. Get over it. Or blog. Yoda says do or do not there is no try.

I’m kind of mean to myself. Harsh. Blunt. Actually that’s pretty much how I am with most people, except that I temper the things I say to other people.
And they don’t live in my head 24/7.

But it’s frustrating when your biggest distraction is yourself.
No, I didn’t have to spend 3 hours on Reddit reading every single funny post.
Nor stalk the wedding photos of a girl I went to High School with.
I didn’t have to watch the 2 new episodes of Modern Family.

I could have used that time to do something worthwhile, like go online and pay my bills. Or enroll in that course I’ve been meaning to enroll in. I could have done another draft review of the article due on the 19th, or connected with a family member. I could have gone to the gym, or done my laundry.

All the things I could have done… that I didn’t.

And it’s not like I don’t want to do them!

I want to build a blog with a strong following so I have some kind of writing to show for myself.
I want to pay my bills so it’s off my mind, and enroll in that course for the same reason.
I REALLY want to finish that article so I can send it off and feel great and not stress about it last minute.
And I really want to go to the gym so I have a banging hot body for Camp this summer (where I will spend every day in a bikini and shorts)
And I really really NEED to do laundry because I’ve been having to wear my sexy underwear on days I just want to wear comfies.

sigh.

But like all good members of my personality type, I go through fazes of mass productivity, and uber-incredible-indescribable slothness.

The challenge of wanting vs doing.

Blog: check.

p.s Sorry the picture at the top has literally NOTHING to do with this post. I was trying to find a superman sloth but…well google images just wasn’t playing ball.

I achieved Being alive today

What constitutes a good day?

For some, it is not getting eaten by           lions, having clean water to drink,          having enough food and shelter and a supportive family that loves you. But this is not a world vision special, and I am talking first-world-problem good days (sorry world-vision, you do good work but your ads make me sad and this is a ranty blog post, not a saddy one).

For me, a good day is one where my boobs point in the right direction and the huge blemish that keeps re-occurring around PMS time, even though I am now 23 and WELL past adolescence, is less red and angry then the day before. A good day is one where I don’t consume 30,000,000,000 calories in the office due to boredom and there are interesting updates on facebook.

But what else constitutes a good day? Logic tells me (going back to our world vision special) that if I have my health and freedom from persecution, then indeed the world is gumdrops and lollipops, a magical land of chocolate rivers and oh look an oompa loompa! Oh no…it’s just a dwarf. Little person? Midget?

I digress.

2011 is the first year that I have not been at school. At first, it was liberating, then terrifying, then I was apathetic, then sad, then angry. It’s been a fun ride of hormonal upswings.

My goals and dreams are the gold plated kind, the soar amongst the moon and stars and eagles variety (gosh I’m using a lot of imagery in this post, my poetry lecturer would be proud). If I wanted to be a banker, I’d (presumably) go and work in a bank. If I wanted to be an underwater detective, I’d have completed the Certificate IV in underwater dectetivery.

But no. I want to be a writer, and an actor, and a director. And so I work in a camp office. In Toronto.

I’ve been finding it hard of late to get my creative juices flowing, to find the inspiration (and angst) that used to pour out from me as a teenager. I thrive under pressure, and with only myself to set deadlines and beat up if I don’t do them, I’ve found that projects I’ve started have been…well…erm…oh look a procrastination shiny thing over there!

You see, a good day for me is getting down on paper the creative bits and pieces that I promise myself I will capture. Because in the industry I want to DOMINATE, no one is going to hand you the tools or the jobs. I believe that the creative industries are changing, and to succeed, you have to create your own projects. Be your own task master, as difficult as it may be.

I worry that at 23, with a full time job that saps me dry so that come 6pm, all I want to do is zone out and watch 30 Rock, I’ve lost the fight, the drive, the will to conquer, to accomplish, to succeed.

Oh look. 500 words exactly of creative outlet.

8th November: Task completed