maggie’s review published on Letterboxd:
I remember being 12, being idealistic, hopeful, optimistic: having a large group of friends, and a feeling of hope for the future. It was quickly wiped away. Undiagnosed severe depression, anxiety, panic attacks. Suicide attempts followed. Eventual bipolar diagnosis.
I entered junior high with the news of my parents separation, the sudden isolation of not having my father, my friends abandoning me for other, cooler kids that shared their religion and politics. I felt completely alone for the first time.
At 12, I obsessed over this film. I saw this, and its sequels, countless times. At 13, I realized why, and I obsessed further with this realization.
It tells the story of a young girl thrust into a kind of maturity she is not equipped to deal with. A mother to her younger sister, a survivor in a world so hostile to her very being. I was isolated. With no option in my mind but to withdraw: from responsibility, from the reality of my situation. The draw to death was an allure based upon desperation. I couldn’t imagine fighting to live. Katniss fights to live. Survival is inherent. Survival, to me, was optional, it was a daily attempt to understand why, why oh why, must I survive.
I spent years surviving. Not living. Alcohol, whatever other substance, anything, everything, to keep a purpose of living. Getting drunk, getting fucked up. That was a reason for living. To see someone so beautiful, so intelligent, live through that which she cannot even understand, keep living, trying, surviving for nothing except the compassion, and care from others, kept me living. For my family, for everyone who showed me love and kindness, I stayed alive. I relied on escapism.
I cope with the guilt of what I’ve done, who I’ve been, everyday. In the end I can only be grateful I’m still here. Grateful for knowing it’s all been to stay on this planet. The sunset makes me cry. The art I’ve relied on through every step of the way gives me confidence to stay here. It makes me weep. It provides an outlet for the emotions I still cannot deal with. I work a job that gives me faith in humanity: a kind of kindness I’ve never known before.
The nostalgia I find in this film is one of pain, one of spite and anger, one of regret for that person I used to be: the person I hope that has died and left me only with strength. Every day I cope with who I am. I haven’t found love for myself, but I have found respect. And I finally understand the comfort I found in this series. The comfort of being afraid, of fearing myself, fearing for myself. It’s a fear that’s far behind me. I fear, and I wish I will never experience again. I know I will. But I know I will continue to survive. And I finally want to survive. The last time I watched this I was high off heroin, I was drunk off stolen liquor. I was alone. I was dealing drugs, the only comfort I found was in abuse. I watch it again with a sort of horror of past lives I now relish, for the strength they’ve emboldened me with. I’m just happy to be here. I’m happy to find passion in art. I’m happy to have all those, real and virtual, to confide in. I have love for all those I meet. I have boundless love in my heart again, I’m working to defeat apathy, and self-loathing. I hope to love myself again. But I love the idea of living again.
Thank you all for the empathy you’ve shown me. I’ll keep writing, I’ll keep living, not surviving, if only to keep creating. I have hope for the first time in a decade. I owe it all to art and friendship. Even if you don’t know me, I appreciate every single one of you more than you know. Please know that for every horrific thing, every tragedy, there is always love. Always respect, always understanding, even in the darkest pits, the worst of hate. There is always love.