You can’t make someone feel remorse.
You can’t make someone feel anything.
In case you missed it, I posted my first attempt at a short film yesterday. I’ll give you a minute (literally – it’s only a minute long) to catch up:
I’m not going to talk about things like special effects and artistic direction and choice of shaky cam and music and all that because I frankly don’t know what I’m doing. But I like how it turned out and the feedback has been positive so far,* which is awesome.
But I did want to talk about the dream that inspired it.
* Let’s ignore the fact that somebody disliked it and unsubscribed. It was enough to make somebody ragequit my channel, which is even more awesome.
The story behind the video
The video tells the story of a moment from my past – during my marriage. It was over the summer of 2012. I was working overnight at a hotel, so I rarely saw my ex-husband, which was more of a relief than anything.
At one point, I found some emails he’d been exchanging with some guy, arranging times and places to meet up, showing each other naked pictures. This was the third time I’d been through this. He denied it, we fought, trust issues ensued, I got angry.
When I tried to call him out, he couldn’t admit that he was wrong. He couldn’t admit that I deserved better. He just sat there. Staring at me. Silently. And then he said, “I don’t understand. We were doing so well. Life was so great. And then you just had to stir shit up.”
When we’re faced with an injustice, we fight back. We stand up for ourselves. We get hurt. And while that’s important in a lot of situations, sometimes, you’re free to walk away. It’s empowering to walk away. It’s liberating to walk away. You’ll be better off if you do.
But we don’t. Somebody does something that hurts us, and we almost feel an obligation to continue to be hurt for a long enough period of time and at an intense enough level that they’ll hurt too.
But they never hurt.
You can’t make somebody feel remorse.
Then I had this dream – the one I based this video on.
My friends thought that my dream was that of a phoenix, rising from the ashes, only to become stronger and start anew. And sure, that moment came – a year and a half later when I finally left him.
But at the time, it felt less like rising from the ashes and more like trying to do his actions justice in my own mind. My mind wanted me to show him that what he had done was so heinously wrong that it was going to burn me to the ground.
So I’m leaving the video open to interpretation. If you’re going to take a more empowering and optimistic message, please do, and carry that into your life.
But I also want to tell you that you can walk away. If someone hurts you, you can walk away. Don’t tell yourself that you have to do the pain justice by feeling it. If you see a way out, take it. Because you’ll never hurt enough to make someone else hurt. Don’t try to do the injustices against you justice with your emotions.