If You Could ‘Enternal Sunshine’ Yourself, Would You?

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Well ladies and gents, I have finally watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It made me reflect on past experiences and wonder what could be worse in the end. Would I rather have no recollection of being in love so that each time is experienced for the first wonderful time? Or would I rather have memories of being hopelessly devoted to another being in the best way possible only to remember how heartbroken I was? I don’t think there has ever been a movie that has accurately been able to express love as much as this one did. Ok, I admit that may be a slight exaggeration. And I do realize that also may sound a bit odd considering the entirety of the movie revolves around a man that sets out to remove the memory of his ex-girlfriend by way of a procedure that she had undergone not so long before.

Created in 2004, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind stars Jim Carrey as Joel and Kate Winslet as Clementine, a couple who recently parted ways. Although Jim Carrey has played a variety of roles throughout his career, and despite the fact his comedic roots are apparent in this film, he played a serious personality where the comedy was dimly lit. Not having known what the movie was about, it was slightly confusing to grasp onto the timeline. Joel sees Clementine shortly after their split in which she has no memory of her previous lover. Fast forward a bit we come to find out she had her memory left void of all memory of Joel. With that in mind he makes the decision to do the same. Ultimately, he realizes that there are memories that he doesn’t want to lose just as much as he finds that he wants to continue to be with Clementine.

When I think of being in love and some the memories that I hold, my initial gut reaction would be, Absolutely! Erase that awful memory of the individual that wounded me. Especially if I were to find myself in a situation where I learned that a person I had once been in love with were to rid their memory of me. That is one of the most painful things that I feel someone could do to another. Yes, you may want to forget that human being in order to feel better. At the same time, I could never imagine enduring that original heartbreak all over again when the next person comes along. That pain would be magnified tenfold, just like the first one. The connection you had was there and is in someway still there whether it was 10 years ago or yesterday. Everyone always says that they never forget their first love, because you don’t.

The first instance that you wholeheartedly fall head over heels in love with someone is unexplainable, in the greatest way possible. You can never imagine going through life without their companionship along the way. When it all ends, it cuts you deep into to the core. There’s a reason why Sheryl Crow has a hit song about it. Not only is it a downward spiral emotionally, it physically tears you apart on the inside. Yes, I do agree that there are worse things in life that you can experience. In the midst of all your sorrow and increased lack of rational thinking, it is hard to actualize that there are indeed worse things happening in the world around you.

In the movie, perhaps it is Joel that really loved Clementine more. It was Joel that wanted to get Clementine back, which is how he came to discover that she had somehow been altered. If you erase one memory and continue to do so of the next “true love” it spirals into never having experienced it. Despite how many arguments Joel and Clementine had throughout the movie, he only tried to erase his mind of her memory once he found out that she did so first. He would have never thought to do that because he wanted her. He loved her. That is, unless she gave into the temptation of the attractive thought of removing the pain from her life causing her to act impulsively.

When somebody does break your heart it is soul crushing. I envision being in Clementine’s shoes as well. As if there is no other way out than to forget that person. That it’s the solution to all your problems. If you don’t miss so-and-so, you won’t hurt anymore. It’s as if they never existed. Clementine hurts so badly she wanted to stop the pain and forget who Joel was, perhaps because she loved him more?

Reflecting on my life experience now, I know that you get to the point where you’re ok after mending your wounds. What you had was what you had and what you have in the future is what you have in the future. The future is something exhilarating for me to look forward to because I look at my life and where I’m at now and thinking about how much better it is going to continue to be. Reflecting on the past, even if I had some of the most amazing times, it’s still the past. All clichés intended, you want to live your life to the fullest. Life is too short. In whatever moments you’ve had in your past, that was the right decision at some point in time. It was what you wanted. What made you happy. It was what felt like the right decision. I would have never thought that if I traveled back in time staring at moments from previous relationships in the face that I would tell myself that I couldn’t be mad or regretful of the decisions made because that’s what I wanted. Maybe I’ve grown more than I realize. How can I possibly regret something that made me joyful at some point in time?

Sure, a decision I had previously made may not be what I want anymore. But I’m so glad I’ve grown from each situation. Each choice I’ve made is something I wanted. There may have been decisions made that weren’t necessarily in my control or things became negative but that’s why you have to be positive. That’s why you have to know if there something you want to do, you have to go for it because it will only benefit you. This couldn’t be truer for where I’m at right now. Those experiences made me who I am.

Conceptualizing myself being in the position of Joel, I can now see being at a time in life where you eventually do forget and time heals. I guess the real question isn’t who loved whom more in the battle of love for Joel and Clementine. Two people loved each other and two people wanted to stop hurting from the love that they felt wasn’t good for them anymore. I don’t believe I was ever able to view love in such a way that this movie had laid it out for me. Real love is something so earth shattering and mind-blowing that you would never not want to have had experienced whether it is something you’ve come across in life or not thus far. I’m thrilled to find out what the future holds. No matter what decisions I’m going to make, I know that it’s what I want in order to be happy.

Sure, we may not have the ability to erase your memory of a previous love, but would you really want to? Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Self-proclaimed overthinking extraordinaire.

Keep up with Nichole on Instagram

More From Thought Catalog