Friday, January 6, 2012

Sometimes there are real reasons behind bad behavior.

I just finished watching Catfish. Here's a little preview for those who don't know what I'm talking about.

(Author's note: If you haven't watched this movie/documentary but want to and don't want it spoiled, don't read any further.)

Yes, it's been out for awhile but I'm a working mom. I can't stay current with entertainment. I haven't even seen the last Harry Potter yet. (NERD GASP!) In any case, probably the first thing that people think of when they find out that someone has been lying to them online, that relationships weren't what they thought they were, is nothing short of "You psycho." I've never been in that position but I can't imagine that I would think much else of someone who had duped me like that. I'd be too afraid, I guess, to dig deeper for fear of my family's (and my own) safety.

I'm glad the filmmakers decided to make this film. Often we don't think about what others go through on a daily basis. We don't often think about how hard it is to juggle so much work and stress, how mind numbing it must be to provide full time care for those who are mentally challenged. Does this excuse lying to others? No. But there is something to be said for understanding. Heading into her fantasy world was probably the only way Angela could think of to stay sane.


I remember how lonely I felt when my kids were very little. They depended on me for everything, everyday, and sometimes it got terribly overwhelming. I read all the books, listened to all the advice, but still, I wasn't prepared for the emotional shift. No one really understands that shift until after they have their first child. But that emotional shift is temporary as you get settled into your new role and as your child slowly grows into his/her own independence. Think about a decade or more of constant care for someone, or as in Angela's case, more than one person. Think about how much of yourself is sacrificed, how much of yourself you have to abandon. It may have been something you wanted or signed up for, but the emotional stress of the reality of it has to be tremendous. It's hard for me to even imagine.

Fear of self

Being herself wasn't enough for Angela and if you think about it, it probably isn't enough for a lot of people. Take a guess how many fake Twitter and Facebook celebrity accounts there are. (Let's just say LOTS.) People have a need to escape into someone else's life, even if only for a few minutes a day. Why? Different reasons for different people. Some just want the attention but others are too afraid of being themselves for fear that no one will like them. I guess that's why Angela gave credit from her art to a child. "They'll like it coming from her because she's a cute 8 year old. They won't like it coming from me because I'm too ordinary."

I know I've had those thoughts before: Maybe if I was a little more feminine, a little prettier, maybe I would be able to get people to recognize that I have a talent to offer the world. Who hasn't struggled at some point and thought, if I were like so-and-so, I could really get someone's attention? More of us than we'd like to admit, I bet.

Lesson learned

It's great that those guys were able to get Angela whittled down into one genuine person. And it's great that there are people who can see past something like that into the complicated depths behind the scenes. I can't say that I would've responded with such an open mind; even though I proclaim to have one.

It's a reminder not to judge others so quickly, no matter how bad they may first seem. Most likely they have a story behind their behavior. And you will never truly know their story.

This is a movie that will stick with me for a long time and I appreciate the people who worked to get it into my hands. Thanks, y'all.

Peace, love, and understanding,


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