I came of age in the generation where covering a war was a near impossible assignment for a woman to get, unless she could get there on her own dime and send dispatches back. My own dime was pretty slim, and so that was out of the question. But take an assignment to cover a war, if I'd been able to? I would be home packing to go before my boss heard my YES.
I didn't bother reading a single review before I corralled my husband into going because I knew I had to see it. Many male reviewers I read after I saw it put the movie down because they expected more of a hee-haw comedy from Tina Fey. Me? I loved Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (WTF in military phonetic spelling) from the opening scenes in a cable newsroom where Kim Baker (Tina Fey) is writing about sucrose to the final scene when she in back in the States, now in a much better job. But what I didn't expect was that I would spend the last 15 minutes of the movie crying.
Triggers. They are everywhere in life and this movie was full of them for me, and one I sensed I knew was coming--spoiler alert here but it won't detract from enjoying the movie--was when Baker goes to visit a Marine she'd interviewed who later has his two legs blown off. Now he's on a farm somewhere back in the U.S., it looks like he brought home a wife with him, and he's doing just fine. I don't have the dialog down but he says something to the effect of--What are you going to do when this shit happens? You either lie down and die or you keep on going--what else are you going to do?
Well, Okay, that is what unleashed a torrent of tears in me. Sometimes we first mothers have written about how losing a child was like losing a limb, and last Sunday in that theater, I felt the rush of everything in my life overwhelm me, from identifying with the woman (though I hadn't covered any war) to the soldier with the prosthetic legs.
While I continued to think about triggers, today's New York Times has a story about how some women professors are discovering that it's difficult to talk about certain subjects in their classes because--Hey, someone will be triggered unpleasantly if say, rape, is talked about. Or sexual deviance. Some professors have been castigated for writing about sexual paranoia on campus.
Now look at us--we all have family and friends who have babies, but we can't go around saying--Don't show me a picture of your new baby! Even if it is a trigger that reminds us of the worst thing that ever happened to us. We live with triggers all around, and have to learn to cope in spite of them. We welcome new babies into our lives. But I have to say, I probably won't ask to hold him or her. Now, that is too much for me, but I do this discretely and no one has to notice. Or be reminded that this new baby or toddler reminds me of what I missed.
And yes, I did feel differently about my granddaughter Britt (as I call her in Hole In My Heart), when my daughter Jane brought her here as an infant. I loved holding her, having her stay with us for most of the summer when she was a kid. And maybe for some first mothers, maybe for those who had other children, other people's children and grandchildren aren't the reminder that they are for me.
Other triggers for me? Anything connected with the first few days of April, as my daughter's birthday
|I planted this bush in our yard for my daughter.|
And what about the word: Adopted. The legislature adopted a bill. The county adopted a new budget. Adopt a pet. I will say that perhaps because I covered the legislature in Albany as part of my beat on a newspaper in the New York's capital and saw the word all the time, and used it myself, I became inured to its usage. However Adopt-a-cat/dog still reminds me.
We can't cut ourselves off from humanity, nor can we avoid all the triggers in our lives, Philomena was a trigger certainly, but it did a lot of good in bringing our issue to the forefront. Juno was a trigger too, of course, and I waited to see it until I could at home so I could be pissed off in private! Ditto with books and my lord, I've just written one that I hope helps move the dialog more about the awful injustice of sealed adoptions and sealed records. And the only way it does that is if people from our cohort read it, triggers and all, and feel the urge to write a legislator, lobby at the state capital, or simply tell their neighbor about their secret or how they really feel about the fact of their adoption.
If we are trying to change life as we know it, we have to let those triggers into the world. Shit happens. We got a big dose of it when we felt compelled to give up our children. Others lose limbs, loved ones at an early age, or are in the wrong subway in Brussels at the time a bomb goes off. We go on, because really, what else are you going to do?--lorraine
On another note: Happy Easter everyone. Love the ones you are with.
And speaking of that: Husband liked the movie to. The male reviewers weren't looking for a movie about a strong woman.
Professors’ Group Says Efforts to Halt Sexual Harassment Have Stifled Speech
Hole In My Heart: memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption
"I loved this book and recommend it to anyone who wants to read a fascinating and honest memoir about a time when women and girls got everything but a scarlet letter on their forehead for adultery, but for anyone who wants the truth about adoption and it's aftermath. I would love to see this made into a movie. Please someone out there who does screenplays, contact Lorraine Dusky and get a contract! It would be as compelling as Philomena and help the youth of today understand a time when most unwed mothers felt pressured to choose adoption for their babies."--J. B. Greens at Amazon