This Is How Art And Cinema Have Helped Me Heal

This Is How Art And Cinema Have Helped Me Heal
Dead Poets Society

Movies make me cry. Some say unnecessarily, so but it is just a fact of who I am.

I cried as Mr. Keating’s class bravely climbed to their desks. “Oh Captain, my captain,” they announced. I cried as Toodles flew through the London Night. Peter Pan, Wendy Darling, and his family watched from their balcony. “So… your adventures are over.” Wendy Darling said. Peter Pan said back to her, “Oh, no. To live…to live would be an awfully big adventure.” As the door shut on Kay Adams, she witnessed through the crack who her husband, Michael Corleone, really was, I couldn’t help but shed several tears. As Maria laid beside Tony’s body when just moments before she thought she would spend the rest of her life with her love. I cried. When Elliot said goodbye to E.T. as Alvy Singer realized the truth of love and its futility. As Kim concluded her story of the origins of snow and a man with scissors for hands.

I cried through all of it.

I cried because in those moments, I wasn’t in my own world. I was pulled away from my own reality and into another. I’ve been mocked for my emotionalism during cinema. “It’s only a movie” They say “It’s not real” But they’re wrong. I’m drawn into this world, a world of emotion and hardships. A world where characters, much like myself, are fighting for something that they may or may not achieve. It is real. All of it’s real because I’m real. Because I feel the same, because I, like every other individual, am a player of my own world. Because I’m a character that wants something and needs something and must push myself across this imaginary threshold to achieve it. To grow, and learn, and arc. I feel what they feel because human emotions are real regardless if its been portrayed on screen or not. Those emotions originated from a living, breathing, feeling person.

I feel as they feel. And I heal as they heal.

It’s cathartic. It’s an emotional release of my own pains and my own struggles as a human being. We become deluged in these stories of Jedis and superheroes and cowboys and soldiers because we are all of them.

We are a student of Keating’s class, we are Peter, watching Toodles soar through the air, we are Elliot saying goodbye to our extraterrestrial best friend.

When the weight of our own world is too much, we become hooked to the silver screen. Seeking life in a distant world and sometimes by watching the growth of these characters, we find the ability to change within ourselves. The willingness to answer that call to action. The willingness to hunt down a twenty foot long shark. The willingness to follow a dangerous crime despite being incredibly pregnant. The willingness to escape a possessed hotel and your deranged father in a maze. The willingness to find life on Mars.

Every day we walk through life, fighting battles within our own heads. We fight with morality, love, sadness. And despite everyone fighting these internal struggles, we face them alone.

We live inside our own heads, and when we peer out into the world, it is with this perspective that we are but one. However, we are not but one.

We are much like the characters that we idolize and strive to be like. We have allies, we have mentors, we have shape-shifters, we have heralds, and there is a shadow haunting all of us that we must conquer. Whether that shadow be an external force or repressed version of our selves.

We heal and we recover through art and cinema. We feel empowered and are ready to commit to a change, a change that will bring us new challenges.

We find love, we lose love. We find happiness, we lose happiness. We find companionship and we lose it.

Yet, there is always some type of catharsis. We can’t hear the orchestration playing in the background, building the tension of the scenes in our life, but it’s there. We can’t predict the future of our endeavors but it’s laid out for us to discover. Then, finally, resurrect, and return with a new version of ourselves. A stronger version.

And that’s why I cry when I watch movies. I cry because in the time span it took for that movie to begin and end, whatever issues I’m fighting, I’m finally ready to face them. I may not be completely healed, but this is the beginning of my story.

The beginning of my arc. I cry because it’s what I needed to hear, it’s what I needed to feel to seize the day. To seize my life. So let cinema take over you. Let the characters breathe for you. Observe as the plot mirrors your own conflicts and learn. Expiate your frustrations. Cry. Sob. Wail. Shamelessly let the snot flow from your nose like honey. Because now you’re ready. You are ready to silence the lambs. You’re ready to save Private Ryan. You’re ready to capture the holy grail. You’re ready to take down the mean girls. You’re ready to start your journey and heal. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Funny girl, writer, & clueless.

Keep up with Valaniece on Instagram and

More From Thought Catalog