As the weather begins to get colder and the days begin to get shorter, I am trying desperately to find the smallest crack of light amongst the sometimes, unfortunate concrete clouds of doom. Literally. So a couple of weeks ago I decided to get my hair highlighted!
I was talking to my hairdresser about the new HBO series Enlightened starring Laura Dern, which premiered a few weeks ago. Even before this show aired I was really excited, just watching the trailer made me feel mad, empathetic, curious, sad, happy and enlightened all at the same time. I don’t think that I am spoiling anything if I say that the premise of the show centers around a woman who has the wrong job, sleeps with the wrong guy, hates life and needs desperately to get some waterproof mascara. This woman, Amy Jellicoe, a beautiful, tall, blonde, played brilliantly by the wonderful, Laura Dern, has a grade A, nervous collapse.
Now, being a New Yorker (at least for the last seven years, calm down Canadians), I’m usually pretty bored by, and unsympathetic to these kinds of meltdowns. However, I was immediately drawn into this character. I cared for her and I saw the potential for her life. I literally wanted to reach into my television screen and give her a great, big, giant hug.
Thankfully, I was relieved when the next scene was Amy sitting on a beautiful beach in Hawaii getting the help that she so desperately needed and deserved. There is a series of scenes where she is talks by a bonfire, dives for shells and looks longingly into the sunset (you know, all the things that people do when they get therapy). By the end of this montage, Amy is finished with her treatment and must return to her normal life. This means finding a place to live, finding a job and resolving the wrongs that she may have done during her journey into Crazy Town (you know, all the things that adults do in real life). This proves to be much more difficult than Amy may have first thought.
I was very intrigued by this show and it did affect me. For the past year now I have tried to reflect and find stillness in my life. I know that sounds pretentious and maybe a little douchy, but its true. I’ve never seen a therapist, and don’t really venture into the self -help section at my local Barnes and Noble, but I do know that the help that is out there does have a place in this world. I believe that part of the journey of life is figuring out where we can infuse these therapies into our daily routine in an attempt to fully enjoy life, in the moment. It’s very easy to stay calm when you are sitting on a beach in Hawaii, but how about when the train is stuck at a station and you are already ten minutes late.
Enlightened opened to mixed reviews and I don’t think that everyone will like it, but I do think it’s an interesting examination of what we are all really doing with our lives, and how we can make the most of the precious time we have on this planet (you know before we get to sing with Elvis and drink with Marilyn). There is so much information in our world these days, that we have all become human encyclopedias and genuine moments of interaction are slowly being lost. I worry that the unknown, the stillness, the joy may be slowly replaced by apps, droids and pods. Enlightened reminded me to take a breath, freak out a little and then carry on.