I was at a Pierce the Veil concert last March in Lancaster, PA, when Wendy emailed me and said, “Don’t make plans for August 3rd.” She saw some vague advertisement for a movie screening called A Blood Red Sky and immediately bought tickets for us.
“What is it?” I asked her.
“I don’t know but it looks cool!” she replied. And that was good enough for me!
All we knew was that it was a film by some dude associated with Paranormal State. I don’t really watch those paranormal shows, so I still wasn’t sure who this Chad dude was. We figured it was some kind of compilation of paranormal evidence too intense for TV? So he turned it into a movie? I don’t know!
We didn’t find out until the day before where the screening was (the basement ballroom of the Omni William Penn downtown), or even what time we were supposed to show up.
I’m not good at guesstimating, but I want to say there were only chairs set up for about 150 people. No wonder all the cities were selling out! And it seemed like most of the people there were really into Paranormal State. Like, there were a lot of people wearing Tap Out hoodies who probably had Disturbed’s complete discography out in their glove compartment. So you know, a lot of amateur ghost hunters up in that ballroom.
I was excited because we got there early enough to watch a short documentary Chad produced on exorcisms. Did you know that Pittsburgh has the most annual cases of demonic possession!? I DID NOT KNOW THIS. I’m not sure has fact-based this is, considering I can’t find anything in my trusty Information Tome a/k/a the Internet.
(OMG remember Encyclopedias? How weird were those.)
Whatever. We had to sit through an unbearably long and gushy speech by Chad, explaining his motives behind this multi-city screening (basically, he wants our monies so that he can try to get this movie in theaters), before he finally turned off the lights and played the damn thing.
And it ended up being totally not at all what we expected.
It wasn’t even scary.
And it wasn’t even really about the paranormal, even though it did center around a haunted castle in England.
How can I even explain this.
Chad thinks that all these crazy events that have been taking place over the last two years (birds falling dead from the sky in Arkansas, some Chinese river turning red, etc) were caused by the world’s population being so fixated on Armageddon in the months leading up to 12/21/12. Without going into great detail, because honestly I don’t even really know how to explain it, Chad decided to perform a series of experiments on his research team to prove that our minds can control more than we think, which brings us to the theme of A Blood Red Sky: if we all come together and think positively, our minds can change the motherfucking world, you guys. WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. WE ARE THE WORLD! WE ARE THE CHILDREN!
I mean, OK. I get it. Kudos to this guy for having the balls to try and get a message like this out there. Do I think he’s going to change the world? No. Is this a new concept? No. (See: The Secret, which I still have not read.) Did it give me something to think about? Coincidentally, I already had been. In fact, I even had a draft blog post typed up which I wound up thinking was too corny to post.
A few years back, I started up what I have been calling the Proactive Happiness Project*. This was basically born when I finally woke up (in all aspects) and realized that sometimes you just can’t sit there and wait for fun and happiness to find you, you have to make it happen yourself. Again, not a new concept. Is my life perfect? Fuck no. But do I feel the need to whine and complain about every single thing that doesn’t go my way, like I used to? Fuck no. There are chunks of this blog that I can’t even bring myself to go back and read because I don’t want to get mired down with negativity and depression. My god, how did people even read this thing back then?!
*(Actually, I just totally made that up right now. What I actually call it is STOP BEING AN EEYORE, YOU STUPID BITCH.)
But then one day I caught myself as I was crying in bed for what I can only imagine was no reason. Chooch was still really little, and we were all supposed to go somewhere probably but I got into one of my moods and decided to make the day hell for all parties involved. And I realized, “This is Chooch’s life, too. This is his childhood I’m affecting. What a fucking asshole I am.” I started to think about Chooch becoming an adult and having all these memories of his mom fucking up his day, fucking up his summer, making him miss out on being a kid. So that is why we’re constantly doing stuff and going places and just basically being together. I don’t want to waste his time, too. I want him to look back on his childhood and sum it up with one resounding word: FUN.
I’ve noticed a trend where bloggers have been getting lambasted for “having perfect lives” and “being fake.” And it makes me wonder if anyone thinks that about me, but then I just laugh because, come on. How perfect can my life be when the man for whom I bore a child won’t marry me? When the house I rent is just a nicer term for “Pit of Despair”? Body image issues. Low self esteem. Social anxiety. Crippling dependancy. I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect. We all have shit going on in our lives. There just comes a time when we need to choose the path we want to take: do you want to be one of those people who air all their laundry on the Internet or do you want to be the person giving people something to smile about? For years, I felt like I was that negative, air-sucking asshole who exhausted everyone around her. Because it was all about my problems and my drama and my unemployment and my money problems. 2012 was a shit year for me. I gained a ton of weight. I lost two cats. I had drama drama drama like you wouldn’t believe, some of which I did choose to write about, not because I wanted attention or sympathy, but because it was a part of my life and I don’t want to pretend like only good shit happens to me. So I wrote about it. But then I moved on. I never would have moved on in the past. I’d have sat here and dwelled and fixated and stewed until I made myself sick with rage and agrivated everyone around me.
I could do all of those things above, or I could stuff a unicorn mask on my kid and go take his picture. Or I can go spend the day at an amusement park or go roller skating or have a picnic in the cemetery with Henry. And why wouldn’t I choose one of those things!? Emotional bandaids? Maybe. But it’s not like I’m running away from my problems—I deal with them, I vent to Henry and my friends, I write about it in my diary, and then I let it go. That is the biggest lesson I’ve had to learn—how to let things go. Move on. Make peace. Whatever—just get it done. (I still haven’t mastered this yet when it comes to my family issues. But I’m trying.)
It took me years to understand that while we might not be in control of death or natural disasters or freak accidents, we are (mostly) in control of our happiness (barring any kind of major mental illness which might require a little more than just amateur reverse psychology). Am I a fucking ball of sunshine every goddamn day? No. I have bad days. I still mourn losses, feel anger when watching the news, stress-sob at work and want to stab people on the trolley. I still dislike talking to strangers and avoid eye contact at all costs. I’m certainly not sitting Indian-style on my office floor, making daisy-chain crowns for my preciously positive head every goddamn night, so don’t get it twisted. But I’m more willing to make an effort to turn my bad attitude around instead of feeding it chicken wings after midnight.
Making an effort to smile winds up feeling a lot better than sitting around scowling all the livelong day. Listening to “Call Me, Maybe” on repeat is a lot better than listening to suicidal thoughts. Making plans to get the fuck out of the house is a lot better than laying in bed feeling sorry for myself. I FINALLY FIGURED IT OUT YOU GUYS! Without having to sit in the dark with ghosts!! And if a huge douchebag like me can make little changes here and there, then probably you can too.
Does the negativity still creep up on me? For fucking sure. Especially at work. There are days when I try not to leave my office-thing because there are so many black clouds hanging over the department and those things are like fucking leeches. If enough people complain to me about how bad of a day they’re having, the next thing I know, I’m motherfucking my job up and down and I really have no idea why. It’s contagious. And I’m part of the problem, too.
Prior to A Blood Red Sky, I had already been thinking a lot about this whole positivity thing because my birthday was coming up. Birthdays used to bring out the WORST in me. I would be so depressed, I’d convince myself that no one gave a shit, I would push people away and just generally become the most difficult brat to be around. But then I realized I was wasting time. And the thought of wasting time makes me panic. So maybe it seems a little weird that a grown ass broad goes so hog-wild for her birthday (I honestly try to extend the celebrating for as long as I can and I’m not ashamed to admit that–CELEBRATE MY LIFE WITH ME OK!?), but now you know why. I have years upon years to make up for.
And for the last three years, my new system has been working and now I don’t even think about my approaching birthday and cry anymore. I feel like I have reasons to get out of bed now, things to look forward to, music to listen to, a kid to laugh at. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to waste any more of my life. There’s a reason for all the Stay Posi t-shirts out there. Maybe if we all wear one, we can save the world. Or at the very least, look like scene kids.
(Pro Tip: The Stay Posi t-shirts may need layered with several WE WILL GET THRU THIS, HAND OVER THE RAZORBLADE sweatshirts during those long, dreary winter months.)