Right, this could be fun.
Last night, I ventured out into central Auckland to meet a group of girls I’d been starting to game with online (by the way, if you’re shy like me, but realize the need for friends…meetup is the best thing ever), Auckland does this thing called Chicks at the Flicks, they give you wine, a goodie bag (or as we were calling it a “depression bag”…women’s mags, chocolate, clothing vouchers, and face creams) and pudding. It’s good fun and I met fellow geek girls (going to the sensory maze for insanity was just a bonus!)
Onto the movie. We saw Saving Mr. Banks…I was glad to find out I wasn’t the only one who was a bit nervous at seeing the film. I know P.L. Travers wasn’t keen on the film adaptation of Mary Poppins, she eventually tolerated it
“I’ve seen it once or twice, and I’ve learned to live with it. It’s glamorous and it’s a good film on its own level, but I don’t think it is very like my books.” P.L. Travers
however, I love Disney’s Mary Poppins. I know it deviates from the books, but it was my favorite movie when I was little (admittedly, it’s my “sick day” movie as an adult. it just, makes me happy). I can even recall how badly I wanted to be Mary Poppins, to a point that I grabbed an umbrella and tried hopping from our fence to see if I could fly…sadly, I learned I couldn’t and scraped up my knee.
I’m not here to review the film, I will say I enjoyed it. There was some Hollywoodized moments, but I expected that.
What I didn’t expect, was that I would be holding back tears during many scenes (new group of friends, don’t really want to have a break down) due to them hitting home.
Right, so…I honestly didn’t know a lot about P.L. Travers personal life, childhood…I only recently learned, she was born in Australia.
There were scenes; that hit home. hard.
Backing up; My dad is, was and will always be my hero. But, he had a problem…a rather large problem.
Mum, has always described him as a “borderline alcoholic”…but there was no borderline. Do I like saying that? no. but I can’t deny the truth.
during Travers childhood sequences in the movie it’s revealed that while her father is a loving man, he is an alcoholic. The first point that was revealed (his wife finding a bottle of whiskey in his coat pocket)…admittedly I had a reaction of my heart sinking and “shite..”.
in the scenes following..
-outbursts at other family to keep the child happy
(this happened between my mum and dad frequently. they argued all the time.)
(one christmas, my dad, was very drunk…he wasn’t happy. family tried calming him down to no avail, I stood nearby watching it all and remember him drunkenly yelling “If no one else is going to do it, I’ll find her Santa Clause” and he left. I remember being distracted by family…but it was something that stuck and is still really vivid)
-getting the daughter to fetch his alcohol after his wife hid it
(mum didn’t hide it, but she’d ask him to stop drinking for the night….and there were a couple times I was sneaking beer for dad in his shop…beer made him happy. but eventually, it was too much)
-the belittling of accomplishments
(okay…I hate this. but, my dad was EXTREMELY intelligent. That’s not to say I’m not, but I’m intelligent in a different way…he was a maths genius…whereas.. I did very poorly in maths. He didn’t understand this, of course, I think that was more alcohol that anything talking, and when I’d finally did well on a test…it wasn’t perfect. Doing my homework was hellish because I didn’t get it fast enough. As an adult…I sometimes get embarrassed at my maths skills because of this.)
(I won’t recall the entire day, but yeah…not easy. to say the least.)
(this took ages. Not to forgive him, but me. I always thought I could’ve done something more. I could’ve talked him out of drinking. I could’ve convinced him he needed a doctor when he was having chest pains. in reality, I don’t know that I could’ve. He was a very stubborn Scottish man)
There were also just a couple little bits that got me…
“We share a Celtic soul you and I. The whole world, it’s just an illusion, Ginty, old girl”
My dad, actually said similar to me one night when I was in his workshop as he built another model aeroplane and I drew something. See, my dad…loved anything to do with flight. His parents (and I love my Gran and Grandpa..), downplayed that dream, the told him he’d never make any money and made him go to school for engineering. He hated what he did. And I’m certain, Da’ had depression. He would say this almost word for word to me some nights. I was too young to get what he was saying.
Also, the whole thing…even thought it’s hollywoodized (read into it a bit) about “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” just got me, because we did fly kites…and much as he couldn’t sing, he’d sing that as loudly as he could to make me laugh when we were at the park flying my kite.
I actually just read a review of the movie, where the reviewer had said there were too many unanswered questions about how in the movie Travers could go from being a care-free young girl to a crotchety old bint. I wanted to punch something. There was nothing unanswered. If you have lost a parent at a young age, it does something to you. If you grew up with an alcoholic parent, it does something to you. If you watched said parent suffer depression as a child, it does something to you. And that something can turn you extremely hard (let’s just say, I’m only just warming back up to the month of October. I would be absolutely hellish during that month. People could just fuck off for all I cared…this included friends, family and even partners for a long time).
There’s a lot you deal with as a child of an alcoholic. There’s a lot of assumptions people make of you as you grow up (“Oh..you should be careful around alcohol you know, you could wind up just like your father” yeah, fuck you very much. This has to be the biggest insult you can ever say to a person. Not only are you insulting me, but you’re insulting what I went through and my dad. I have to agree with Penn and Teller on this, it’s not a disease…it’s a choice.) and a lot of constant sympathy thrown your way (“I could never go through what you did! I’m so sorry!” I honestly, don’t know how to respond to this. and I get it a lot. It takes me back to standing at his wake/funeral and so many adults I didn’t know hugging me and telling me “You’re so brave! I’m so sorry!” I was 12 and had no clue what they meant, and while they meant/mean well…it always is a little awkward). I don’t think anyone in that situation wants the sympathy.
But, in saying all this…my dad was not a monster. he was not cruel. (again, there’s a scene dealing with that…that had me seriously fighting tears). However, to remember the good times..you have to face those demons. The good always outweighs the bad. The bad, while it’s caused some depression/anxiety (you don’t get through it unscathed…no matter what anyone tells you). The good is what makes me continue to work on my art (something my dad CONSTANTLY encouraged), the good pushes me to be better than the worst memories I have.
okay, enough waxing emotional. I should actually have some lunch…