Slow Burn

Slow burn describes anger which takes time to build up to its inevitable explosive force. This expression came into my mind, but more in the sense of a long time to cook, a long time to reach a boiling point when things start to happen. It seems like this is what I’m going through right now with my next phase of filmmaking. I pursued a path of ideas which in hindsight, has been related for a long time. Always a mix of sorrow and anger, sometimes just one or the other. Often a feeling of not really knowing how to cope with these feelings, other than to express them in some way before they destroy me from the inside out. Not surprising, since these feelings are taboo for women to express, particularly in the U.S., where everything must always return to fun and happy. It’s taboo to be sad, because that makes you weak. It’s taboo to be angry, because that’s like harassing a cat and laughing at it when it goes nuts.

For this reason, horror continues to be an undercurrent in my film work. Again, not in terms of gore, but in terms of what’s rotting you inside. What’s eating you up. What it looks like when you bring it out into the daylight, where it continues to squirm and lacrimate, or grows spikes and starts to move.

Certain times of the year, emotions hit me with hard memories. I tend to cope with difficulties the way a soldier copes in a war zone – you handle it. But later, PTSD rises up. You can’t break down in a war zone, you have to get through it, you have to live. But when everything’s different, when you’re back in society, your emotions envelop you and you’re bewildered. You’re overwhelmed. You have no idea what you just went through, except that you had to survive it. But you remember standing in front of the oncoming train, near the tracks. You remember having to get up and go about your day, and not being able to talk about it. You remember talking about it, and based on the additional trauma of being judged and managed, you decided that you will NEVER talk about these things again with anyone. You will NEVER add more trauma to your trauma again. You will NEVER trust anyone with your worst experiences again. Ever. No way. Deal with it. And it’s always going to be yours anyway, and you are your only hope for healing. So you trudge on. Everyone handles their difficult emotions differently, and you have to respect that.

The reason I included the video above, is really about the ending. You go through grief sometimes, you give it its due, and then you stop and don’t let it take you over. It’s a part of you now. If it comes into your mind, you have the right to ponder it, and then remember that it’s in the past, and where it’s brought you. Use it in a way which helps you. Incorporate it, accept it, and work with it. In this sense, any kind of expression – from making art to music to writing to dance to just speaking beautifully, and so on – is therapeutic. It’s positive in that it releases the negative. You can let the buildup to expression be slow, but you can’t let it burn you at the end, destroy you. If you have a strong will to live (which is something it seems some people have more than others), you can’t let it destroy you.