I don’t feel this way often. Even when I was dumped, even when that jerk cheated on me while my father was in the ICU and blamed it on me, I didn’t feel this way. This is a different sort of hollowness. This is a different sort of sunk.
Part documentary, part narrative fiction, part home movie, and part acid trip. A psychedelic whirlwind of snapshots, Super-8 home movies, old answering machine messages, video diaries, early short films, snippets of '80s pop culture, and dramatic reenactments to create an epic portrait of an American family travesty.
Jonathan's first memory is of his mother being raped while he watched. She spent most of his childhood in mental hospitals, undergoing shock treatment while his foster parents tied him up and beat him. He escaped through his video camera, documenting his life and his mother’s deterioration. Growing up gay in Texas is hard enough.
His picture on the poster is what first caught my eye, walking past the indie-movie theatre on the way to school every day. I wanted Heart to come with me to see the movie, but he was never up for it. There were problems with his social security check and he didn’t want to always pay for everything, he didn’t think he could walk the few blocks to the theatre, he wanted to watch Jon Stewart and didn’t think we’d be back in time.
He described himself as an artist to me. We were talking about volunteering and charity work that we both do, me for arts promotion in the school and community, and he for clean food and water. He told me I was wasting my time, that one of the most selfish things he could think of is worry over whether some 5 year old girl had enough crayons when people are dying painful deaths due to starvations and contaminated water. But he was an artist, he said. That's how he would describe himself, though I never saw anything remotely artistic in him.
Well, he did have a way of turning into every conversation so that it revolved around him. I've spent enough time around artistic people, actors, dancers, singers, painters, to know that his world revolved around him. He hated other people’s ideas. I could never do anything right. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t want to go to the movie because I had suggested it. God I can't believe it lasted two months.
Actually, yes. I can believe it. I'm too much a mother. I wanted to hold him, protect him, make everything better. I want to do that to Jonathan Caouette, star of Tarnation, to Ryan Adams, to Justin Kirk in Angels in America, to Rimbaud, broken young artistic men. I knew the relationship wasn't working, but Heart is slowly dying, his heart could have spasmed at any time, at any sneeze that was too much, at a shower that turned cold, an electric shock. I couldn't break up with him, even if it meant breaking my psyche to keep us together. Man what a sappy sentence.
Is that what I'm into now? Saving cute but tortured guys?
This movie is amazing. Shocking, disturbing, cringing, in need of a hug. The whole time I wanted someone there with me, a boyfriend, a friend, whoever, to squeeze their hand when his grandma couldn't form words anymore, to rest my head on their shoulder, bury myself in their arm when his mother's schizophrenic bursts turn angry.
Even Jonathan, the star of the movie, had someone with him, a guy who held the camera, a guy who woke him up with a kiss, who squeezed his hand when things got emotional. I had something like that, or at least I’d like to think like that, with my first love/the ex/Peter. But it’s been a long time since then. A long time.
I hate being alone.
I can’t even go out looking. I log into gay.com, but I don’t know why. I'm leaving to go back to Madison in 6 weeks. I can't start something new. That's what I've done in the past, start a relationship with only a few weeks left before I have to move, and it always ends up with me being dumped in an AIM conversation. I'm not one for fuck-buddies, I'm actively not looking for a date, all of my friends are out doing things, living their lives.
Life is a banquet, and I'm starving.
I don't think I could watch this movie again. I don't think I’m strong enough emotionally. Then again, I don't think I’m strong enough emotionally to do much of anything.