Film Diary #1: Introduction

First, let me explain what this film diary will be and what it will not be. It will not be polished or always profound or necessarily well-written. It will be intuitive, spontaneous, mostly unedited, emotional, messy, intense, raw, and honest. I need to write. I need a space to ramble and meander and share my innermost thoughts, which are often unformed, inchoate, and fragmented.

Social media has become an alienating presence in my life. I scroll through feeds of random photos and videos and posts by people I don’t know and never will know. I want more. I don’t know how to find this “more.” I don’t even know how to name it or describe what I’m searching for. I know the thing I want isn’t to be found on social media or on these screens.

Everything I do in my life is to connect, to reach through the artifice and façade of everyday existence and touch something alive and writhing and beautiful. That’s why I write–because there is something underneath the surface of the world, and I want to ensnare it. There is a world inside me and so much of it is still mysterious to me but certain things dislodge memories and emotions. Usually it’s a film or book or poem that overwhelms me, and I want to share everything I’m feeling and what’s happening in my life. Writing is the only way for me to do that. It gets to the essence of life, to the intensity that I am always living inside of.

Let’s get something out of the way. The last two years have smashed me to bits and I’ve often felt like I was unravelling, that I was possibly losing my mind and my grip on reality. I’ve hidden it well. No one in my everyday life knows that I’ve been suffering like this. I developed feelings for a man online and the entire experience was a disaster, a catastrophe that turned my world upside down because he didn’t feel the same for me. I developed a bond with this person. I became addicted to him (research limerence), and I’ve never been the same. It has changed me in horrible ways. It’s made me unrecognizable to myself. It’s caused me to form obsessive, intrusive thoughts that torment me just about every waking moment of my life. I felt a deep devastation over opening up to and trusting this person only to basically be discarded. I opened my heart, and it was crushed.

I don’t know how I got caught up in such a mess, but I’m trying to heal, to take my life back, to be free of it all. I’m trying to get my thoughts under control, to understand myself better, to rise up out of this darkness. But I’ve felt incredibly destabilized, disoriented, and torn apart. I’ve struggled to function at times. I’ve experienced such horrific anxiety and depression that I feared for my life.

It’s been a dark night of the soul for a very long time. I had no idea my feelings could be this violent, that my thoughts could be this powerful, that I could meet someone and never know him in real life but feel all of this for him. It does not make sense. I fight every day to understand why this happened to me, why I fell into this, and how I can save myself. I will probably write about the experience in these diary entries. I will share my feelings and struggles. I will process the experience as I try to heal from it, let go, and move on. But something inside my head resists letting go.

What I got so addicted to in my interactions with him were our messages and the intimate connection I felt to him through writing. I’d never written to anyone the way I wrote to him. I shared my thoughts and dreams and memories. Everything poured out of me. It felt so good to open up to someone, to feel seen and understood for the first time in a long time. I poured my heart out. In a way, these diary entries will be an attempt to replace those messages. Instead of writing to him, I will write to the internet ether. Maybe this could provide the catharsis I need right now. I just need to write and share. I need to purge my feelings and put them somewhere. I will put them here for now.

I’ve been lonely for much of my life, isolated from people and the world because of my intense agoraphobia and social anxiety and some physical health issues I struggle with. Men have never really paid attention to me or cared about me. This obviously makes me vulnerable. The only man who ever really loved me unconditionally was my father, but he died in 2006 when I was 16 years old.

Looking back, I’m not sure how I could open up to someone and trust him so easily when I didn’t really know him. It was foolish. It was romanticism run amok. It was me allowing my dreams and desires to take me over. What did I think was going to happen with this random guy who lives very far away from me and who didn’t even like me? What took me over? What was I thinking? How could I let myself get swept away? How did this completely devastate and destabilize me? I might explore these questions through films. I might write about them here, among many other subjects. I want to know myself in a deep way, and I want to understand my motivations, desires, and vulnerabilities.

This guy didn’t even like me romantically and did not return my feelings. We just exchanged very intense and personal messages, and I felt such a deep connection to him. Maybe I wanted to be saved. Maybe I wanted to escape the pain of my life. The pandemic was in full swing by that time in late 2020. My mom had fallen earlier in the year, and I had become a caregiver for her. I still am. It is brutal. It is impossible to explain how painful it is. I was drowning. And he came into my life and I was the silly woman who lost her mind over him. I’m paying the price for it.

So, yeah, it’s been a brutal couple of years. I’ve almost been destroyed by all of it–the pandemic, being a caregiver, being lonely and isolated, struggling with anxiety and depression and limerence, being thrown away by a person I trusted and cared about. It’s a lot. It’s more than a lot. It’s too much. But I’ve found a way to survive and I’ve made positive changes to my life as a result of all these experiences. The limerence told me that something was deeply wrong with my life. It forced me to finally start my healing journey and to confront a lot of trauma from my past.

I’ve started loving myself and taking better care of my health. I’ve discovered feminist spirituality, and it brings me immense comfort in this chaotic and frightening world. I’m doing tarot, which I love more than I ever thought I would. I’ve connected with some beautiful souls and cultivated deep friendships with them. I don’t feel as alone as I once did. I am changing in positive ways. I am taking responsibility for my life.

I’m hoping to one day work on my agoraphobia, to maybe pursue becoming a therapist if that’s ever possible or maybe I’m meant to be on another path and hopefully I’ll figure that out somehow. I’ve reconnected with my creativity and my identity as a writer by doing Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, and I really love it. I read books and watch films and listen to soothing music. I meditate and write and share my passions across my social media platforms. I’m thinking about the future and what my life could be because I know I’m meant for better things. I know this darkness won’t last forever. This is a long internal winter, but spring will come. I’ve found a strength and determination within myself that I didn’t know existed.

The last stanza of Sylvia Plath’s “Wintering”

I’ll write about all this in these diary entries I’m sure. I’ll write about films and my feelings and my struggles and my triumphs. Writing has always been my salvation. I’ve always just wanted to share myself with others through the written word. I’ve felt compelled to take these abstract, immaterial emotions inside me and put them into language. I live for the connection that comes through words. There’s nothing like it, in my opinion. I’m not just writing for fun. I’m writing for my life.

Cover Image: David Lynch’s Inland Empire (2006)

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