You Are Lisa Simpson

To those of you who know me well, this next sentence will not come as a surprise. I cry at everything. Really. I cry when I’m sad. I cry when I’m happy. I cry when I’m hungry. I cry when I’m angry and feel injustice has been done. I cry at adverts. I cry at birthday cards. Yesterday I cried at a HIMYM rerun. Where Marshall turns up at the airport with a marching band for Lily and tells her what he had for lunch? Oh, gosh.

I can understand this can be annoying. I found it thoroughly irritating in family members as a kid, only BAM! puberty hits, and I’m one of them. I have no control over it; is not meant to manipulate or to tug on the heartstrings. I just can’t help it. Believe me, it bugs me as much as it does you. To my friends who asked me to read at your wedding – I’m sorry. I tried so hard. I couldn’t make it through without the bottom lip going and the Claire Danes chin wobbling reliably.

There is one thing guaranteed to send me over the edge. Something that has been a trigger for as long as I can remember. Animated films and TV programmes. Pixar seem to have the monopoly on emotional manipulation; I can’t remember seeing one of their films without turning into The Human Waterfall (an interesting X-Man power, perhaps?) I cannot particularly articulate why this is ~ perhaps because animation is often aimed at children, so fears and upsets are more primal, more simple. Because children represent innocence and to me, the loss of innocence is one of the saddest things of all.

For no particular reason (hey, maybe I’m feeling masochistic) I’ve decided to list my top 5 Saddest Moments in Animation. I would love to hear yours, if you have the time or the inclination to post them. It seems to me that this is a common thing!

In no particular order…

Jessie & Emily – Toy Story 2

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A common one, this. Aided by Sarah McLachlan’s heart wrenching When She Loved Me we see how toy cowgirl Jessie was the love of Emily’s life. They grew together, played together, went everywhere together. Jessie’s face is radiant as she lies contentedly in Emily’s arms. But Emily grows up, as children are wont to do. Jessie is increasingly neglected until, eventually, she is given away. Abandoned, no longer needed. This is the worst one for me. This will set me off for days. An ex-boyfriend soon regretted bringing this DVD home. “What is WRONG with you?” I don’t know, truthfully. I think the idea of loving unconditionally only to be kicked to the kerb is a heartbreaking one. But also – and this is a common theme in this list – children growing up and losing their innocence makes me so very sad. I think I watched too much Peter Pan as a kid.

Jurassic Bark – Futurama

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Have you SEEN this? Honestly, it breaks my heart. Fry (in the future) finds his dog Seymour fossilized. The Professor tells him that there is enough of his DNA to clone the dog, but that he lived for twelve years after Fry disappeared. Fry changes his mind and decides that Seymour must have moved on and found a new owner in that time. Cut to a flashback scored with Connie Francis’ I Will Wait For You – Seymour is shown waiting outside Fry’s pizzeria – for months, seasons, years, waiting for his master, until finally he closes his eyes and passes away. God, I’m crying just writing about it.

Mother Simpson – The Simpsons

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Homer was told his mother was dead, so when they are reunited after 27 years, he is overjoyed. However, it soon becomes clear that Mona Simpson is on the run from the law, and after a tip off from the police, she has to leave her son again. The end credits show Homer sitting on his car bonnet, in the starry night. He says nothing, but stares into the darkness. However old we are, our parents are still everything, aren’t they? For the most part, we never stop needing them.

Wall-E and Eve – Wall-E

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A hard choice between this and Up, but this one – despite the latter featuring actual humans with a beautiful love story, this just did it for me. Again, it’s Wall-E’s unconditional love for Eve, his innocence, his refusal to give up when it seems she is lost and his willingness to wait for her and follow her across the galaxy. Sweet, innocent and beautiful.

Best Friends Forever – The Fox and the Hound

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The original Emily Blub-Trigger. First set me off in 1989. Still doing it today. Two best friends torn apart by circumstance, their place in life and what is expected from them. Another case of innocence lost. Not sure why that is an issue for me…! My childhood best friend (who I know I am friends with on facebook, hello if you’re reading this) moved to France when I was 13 and oddly enough, I watched this film just after she left. It was a mistake!

Honorable Mention

You are Lisa Simpson – The Simpsons

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An honorable mention because it is not a traditional cryfest. Lisa Simpson, lacking any understanding from her family or teachers, is inspired by her substitute teacher Mr Bergstrom (who sounds a lot like Dustin Hoffman). But, as substitute teachers are wont to do, he leaves – onto the next school. Lisa is left crestfallen; how is she supposed to know who she is without his guidance? He leaves her a parting note ‘You are Lisa Simpson’.

Truthfully, it is this particular iconic animated moment that inspired today’s post. As my friends and I approach 30, a new wave of insecurity hits. Are we in the right place? Are we doing the right thing? Who are we supposed to be? I lose count of the friends who have recently poured out worries about their position in life. But for them, I try to take a leaf out of Mr Bergstrom’s book and say this: You are you. And you are brilliant. And don’t worry. It will fall into place. Just keep being you and know that is enough.

I’ve just rewatched all these clips. It was a terrible idea. Thank heavens I’ve already taken my mascara off.

Consciously Naive

I begin today’s post with an apology for my extended absence. I have been busy beyond compare ~ tour, temping, tonsillitis. The three Ts. I will also be leaving my lovely little flatshare soon and have been fretting about what the future holds. Mainly though, I have been deep in research for my new job: Historical Interpreter at the Royal Palaces. As my first day grows nearer (it’s on Saturday, at Hampton Court) I grow more and more trepidatious; I am meant to be professionally knowledgeable about the Georgian period, when in fact – despite copious amounts of research – nothing is staying in. I find myself reminiscing about the year of my GCSEs. At 6pm the night before each exam I’d grab a coke, stick Goo Goo Doll’s Gutterflower in the CD player and read all of my text books for the first time. Inexplicably, I got pretty good results. Why doesn’t that work now? I have neglected my blog, my Hotbuckle duty and letter writing, but I promise – all will be picked up again sooner than two shakes of a Cockapoo’s tail.

Today’s post touches on a film that is not an ‘oldie’ – it was shot in 2003 – but the book it was based on is from 1948 and remains one of my favourites. A book that resonated deeply with every romantic girl as she grew to womanhood and experienced her first love, her first heartbreak, her first journal. I talk of the Dodie Smith literary classic, I Capture the Castle.

A quick recap of the tale: Cassandra Mortmain (Romola Garai) and her family live humbly in a dilapidated castle purchased to inspire their struggling writer father (Bill Nighy). Two young American brothers inherit the nearby Scoatney Hall and become the Mortmain’s new landlords. Cassandra’s beautiful sister Rose (Rose Byrne) captures the hearts of both men, while Cassandra attempts to deal with her unrequited love for the elder American brother, Simon. (Played by Henry Thomas; only ruddy Elliot in ET)!

Cassandra – dubbed ‘consciously naive’ writes her diary sitting in the kitchen sink. She tells us all she sees ~ her artistic stepmother dancing naked in the moonlight, her father’s anger at his own inability to write, her sister’s attempts to marry well and thus save the family from financial ruin. But most of all, she tells us what goes on in her mind. And therefore is a somewhat unreliable narrator. The young gardener, Stephen, (played by Henry Cavill… yes, more on him later) loves Cassandra with puppyish abandon, but she spends her time thinking of Simon. The occasional fantasy of her and Stephen passionately kissing in the fields sometimes invades her thoughts, but she pushes it aside. Does Cassandra really know what she wants? Does she know what is real and what is a fabrication from her daydream world? She admits herself “Dreams are like a drug. The magic doesn’t last. And then the pain is worse than knives.”

I am a girl who does – and always has – lived in my mind. From dawdling on family walks to drifting off during science lessons, my little daydreams have made life that bit happier. I spin elaborate fantasies in my mind, situations – they always have to actually be feasible, the dream is ruined if I don’t think they could happen – and spend hours staring out of the window, inhabiting my little fantasy world. Sometimes I set time aside, just to have a little ponder. 3 – 3.30 Imagine that Henry Cavill is having lunch in the nearby Pret and he has to sit next to me. And… go! (NB that could actually happen; he could be shooting a film nearby. Shut up). But when does this become dangerous? Is it true what Albus Dumbledore says? “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live?” Does life become too unbearable when the dream is over?

(3.30-4 Imagine that this blog is spotted by an editor and you suddenly become a published writer… go!)
I worry often that my daydreams impact dangerously on my ‘real life.’ That perhaps I won’t appreciate what I have if I spend too long dreaming of what I don’t.
But then I stop.
The best and most wonderful people I know live halfway between the real world and the fantasy one. The creatives, the artists, those who grab their dreams and pull them into reality. Where would be without the writers, the musicians, the visionaries who transcend the two worlds? One of my close friends is an inspiration – she has her dreams, her love of music and her need to travel – and she lives them. Is this not what life is about? To take your dreams and mould them into a feasible reality?

A little spoiler: As the book and film end, we see Cassandra growing up into the woman she’s supposed to be. She still has her journal, her little daydream world – but she is beginning to understand how life works a bit more. Here is my confession: a large part of me is an incurable romantic. Most of my dreams are about love, about my future, about my hopes in a partner. Perhaps this is counter-productive. Friends have told me time and time again that there is no hope for me if I don’t put myself out there, if I don’t try in reality. But I don’t think that’s true. In the book’s iconic final line, Cassandra ends her diary with ‘I love. I have loved. I will love.’  Perhaps sometimes you just need to find somebody to share your daydream world with.

 

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