Kristina Furey

"Whiplash" I finally saw it!

“You’ve got me running in circles-round and round-till I fall down-You’ve got me jumping through the hoops of your heart-And I don’t want to play this game with you-but you know I always do-and I guess that’s the amusing part”  <—My answer, when my father asked me, “What was the part about jumping through hoops?”  After Dan and I had played our song “Obsession” for him.  I rattled it off, as the pride in me swelled, that he had noticed how cleverly I was able to state something, I had tried so hard to explain over and over again, year after year, in songs I wrote and in other things I’d written and tried to communicate.  I was certain in that moment he could really see how hard I had worked and that I had talent.  

So that’s what kept popping up in my head as I watched the movie “Whiplash” last Saturday.  

I squirmed in my seat, recounting all the hurtful things my father had said to me over the years.  I wondered if his strategy had been similar to J.K. Simmons’ character and I was perhaps the student that couldn’t cut it.  I thought about how exhausting it is to to try to please some people in an attempt to validate yourself and how once you’ve been taught to hold yourself to impossible standards, you yourself can carry on the abuse for years or even a lifetime, if you don’t discover a way out of that kind of thinking…  No, I decided, it wasn’t that I couldn’t cut it, it was that I wouldn’t.  I saw it as abuse and I wanted no part.  I did what came naturally to me and walked away in an effort to self preserve me and the things about me, I hold sacred.

Where did it begin with my father?  I have reason to believe, in the boy scouts.  I remember it told, that the NAVY soldiers had been in charge of the scouts while their fathers were away and it was run with military precision.  My Grandfather was an officer.  I believe he also expected nothing but excellence from my dad.  My dad performed like a champ.  He went on to become an Eagle Scout.  

I thought too, about the girl I occasionally spoke to in my chorus class, that showed up at my house at midnight, in my senior year of high school, explaining to my mom and I upon arrival at our door, that she had meant to knock on the door earlier but had noticed my car wasn’t in front of my home and while waiting for me to get home, she had fallen asleep in her mother’s car, that she had driven that day, her 18th birthday, to a Chopin competition in Baltimore.  We lived in Reston at the time.  She had not done as well at the competition as she had hoped and couldn’t bear to face her mother with the news.  There had been a lot of what I would define as abuse going on in her home.  It was always my nature to be open to others, empathetic to them when they opened up to me and forthcoming with my own experiences, when I thought it was helpful and I was kind of use to being sought out.  My mom was the same.  I studied my mom as she took in my classmates story.  I remember her saying, “Well I think we all need a good night’s sleep.  Let’s figure this out in the morning.”  In the morning (It was a Sunday morning), over breakfast, my mother told my classmate, seeing that she was now 18, legally she was an adult, so if she wanted she was free to stay in our home.  She had a scholarship and was heading to college in August.  If I remember correctly, it was in February when this happened. My mom also commented that because my friend was now 18 and the car legally belonged to her mother, she would need to get the car back to her mom or there could be legal problems.  We dropped the car off without her family knowing and then she called her mom to explain her decision to live with us until it was time for her to go to college.  Eventually, she did have some face to face encounters with her mother and family.  In fact about a month before she left for college she moved back in with them.  She and I became close and I learned more of what she had experienced.  Her experiences were similar to Geoffrey Rush’s in the movie, “Shine”.  

I want to mention, as uncomfortable as they are to watch, “Whiplash” and “Shine” are both exceptional movies showcasing the excellence of the actors in them, that will most likely leave you thinking of them, long after you’ve watched them.  They are remarkable pieces of work.  I just hope no one was abused in an effort to bring about the excellence of the performances.  

NOTE:  I originally wrote “We Can’t Deny” for my father.  Another one of my many attempts to build a bridge.  To speak to him in a way he might listen…

“We can’t deny-what’s happening here-You’re getting older-I’m getting older-I see the lines-etched on your face-a map to the past-reminder of yesterday-A time when you couldn’t love me-the way that I needed-thought you only loved me when I pleased you-now we push that pain aside-what good is pain-once we learn the lessons it teaches-I can’t deny-when I look at your face-love that I feel-love that you’ve given me-please won’t you give me your hand-I’ll help you stand-I can be strong now that you’re not-you, you can be strong for me-give your hand to me-that would show great strength in deed-Cause we can’t deny- that all that we have-is just here and now-only this space in time-please won’t you give me your hand-I’ll help you stand-I can be strong now that you’re not-you, you can be strong for me-give your hand to me-it could give us the courage-we both seek-…cause we can’t deny-what’s happening here-what’s happening here-what’s happening (.) (!) (?)

Strange enough, a friend shared this with me this past week:  Mike and the Mechanics' "Living Years" live at Isle of Wight Festival DEFINITELY remarkable!

 

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