I feel like I just had an intense therapy session, in the form of seeing “A Single Man” earlier tonight. I’m not saying it was the greatest movie ever made—I won’t throw in any spoilers but the ending was way too abrupt for my taste--yet the up side is that I didn’t want the film to end. I was totally enamored with Oscar nominee Colin Firth’s riveting performance as a gay man mourning the loss of his love, so much so that it stirred up emotions that have been buried for ages.
Let me explain.
The movie takes place in the early 1960s—decades before anyone had ever heard of HIV or AIDS, of course—but I felt incredible parallels with Firth’s mourning character, who I felt a kinship with because we’re both grieving a terrible loss. I realize mine, ever since my diagnosis, has been the perceived loss of myself. Or more specifically, my sexual self, my dating self, my flirting self. All had been lost to HIV, without my really realizing it. True, I’ve lamented and even bitched about being in a dating desert, but I haven’t been in a desert, I’ve been romantically dead and buried. It’s time to come back to life, and for some reason, this movie snapped me to attention.A few things also struck me: the dialogue between Firth and a few of the absurdly hot young men that pursue him throughout the film is so civilized, so intelligent and so...kind. There was no bitchy one liners or attitude or dismissive judgments between the characters, and as I said, both younger characters were of the uber hot variety. Maybe I’ve been online too long, but I realized I’m sadly nonchalant and even used to all the hostile profiles (do NOT contact me if you’re this, this, OR this…) and flippant “what you looking for” greetings.
I’ve been in mourning all right, just like Firth’s single man, but it’s because in my mind, I’ve lost myself to another kind of ghost—HIV. As the movie unfolded, I found myself yearning for Firth to connect with these men he would meet, let go of his loss and see all he had to live for, and embrace it. But I've got to give myself the same advice. I’m in full, vibrant health at the moment, and romantically speaking, I’ve treated myself as the walking dead.
So I'm treating this as a cinematic wake up call. I have much to offer, and I’ve let my fear, judgment and the mere idea of rejection and other people’s dismissals of me shut down this big romantic heart of mine. My bad!
It may not be fair, what some people may think of people living with HIV, but what does it matter, and what can I do about it? I saw a Twitter post recently of a famous saying, what other people think of me is none of my business. Good advice, I'd say, and though (Pat Benatar alert!) love may indeed be a battlefield, it's like the lotto, isn't it? You can't win if you don't play.
So, thanks a bunch, Colin, you've got my Oscar vote...
So tell me, have any of you seen "A Single Man" and if so, what feelings came up for you? Was it a downer or inspiration? Let's discuss in the 'comments' below ...