While trotting my boy babe ‘round town one afternoon, I heard snippets of an interview on NPR regarding the latest Oscar-touting Best Picture: “Spotlight.” Something about journalist, Sacha Pfeiffer describing Rachel McAdams’ portrayal of her during this pivotal moment in her career, in her life, triggered a response. Pfeiffer spoke of presuming the actors shared dinner and long talks with the journalists as a means of getting-to-know-you. In actuality, the actors were hard at research, picking up on the intricacies of what makes their staged counterparts tick, tick, tick. In the first time that I can recall, I wanted to rush to my television set to see their months of research come to life. Of course, my babe had other plans for me, and we spent the day talking of Turtle Power and trains-go-choo-choo.
A few weeks later, I treated myself to a viewing while my babe napped. I recalled the NPR interview where Pfeiffer laughingly stated that McAdams looked her worst when playing her, foregoing makeup for baggy shirts and khakis. While watching the film, I noted that each character portrayal–particularly the journalists in their muted business-casual stances–acted as backdrops to the story, allowing it to fully conceptualize into the monster that it was and is. The actors were on an assembly line, necessary parts in moving the story along.
Of course, I am the caboose in chatting up this film–you can read a proper review here. What takes prevalent space in my mind, what I cannot shake, is the line uttered by actor, Stanley Tucci (portraying attorney, Mitch Garabedian): “If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.” If one isn’t watching closely enough, he or she could easily miss it. Tucci’s delivery was that understated. And yet how profound it is.
Why is it so easy to overlook what is going on in your own back yard?
Why is it even easier to remain silent?
I rewound and paused the film several times—the incredulous gasps, the injustice. I sat and sat, white words building static against the screen, my motherly mind freaking blown. Never did I stir until my babe woke.
Here is where I could delve into my own childhood, and write of the abuse faced, painfully swallowed, and faced again–all surrounded by white carpet and shitty motives. Here is where I could yell and bite and scratch and claw until I feel solace, until someone lying in their own terrible thoughts comes forth, to offer some part of their self, if ever they had anything left to give. But I don’t have anything left. I don’t harbor enough resentment or angst to pour into bitter names that still dampen my spirits on days that I feel too weak to fight against it.
Recently, I met a soulful woman. Almost instantly we knew that one another had shared the kind of experiences that are prevalent in fiction, but rarely discussed in real-time. We told each other stories that we don’t even tell therapists, and in this way, we healed–even if just for a moment.
This is what matters.
Not the names of the shitty people that tore at our bodies like Raggedy Annes in the mouths of dogs. Not the moments we felt more fiction, more foe, than female.
This is what matters.
As in Spotlight, I wish to be on the assembly line that strengthens females, that brings them together and puts a voice to crimes committed against our bodies. For years, I silently screamed in and out of dreams. But I am the luckiest. For I had a confidant in writing.
Aside from my campfire tales, another branch of olives I wish to bestow upon a world where females are still considered less than man comes in the form of my small child.
As my wee boy grows, I promise to watch him with both eyes so that his body may remain his own. And I promise that he will learn to value each and every woman, to care for every living thing.