Feeling down and hard done by, I always try to convince myself that everything happens for a reason. I haven't turned into a mystic or a hippie, it's a coping mechanism I have employed sometime since my mid 20s - maybe fatalistic or perhaps just a way of de-stressing by removing the onus. If I don't get that interview, job or work; if something I am looking forward to gets cancelled; if the bus turns up late or if I get a horrific cold, it is meant to be. I'm not sure why but there must be a reason.
Lying in bed unable to breathe, fearing I might suffocate in the middle of the night if I ever finally get any sleep, I found it hard to apply this theory. Going to see Precious or seeing my sister's cone-head cat Fingerling remind me that there are much worse things and however I may feel, it is only temporary.
Fingerling has got inexplicable rashes that cause him to furiously itch leaving patches of his coat bald and bloodied. After various attempts to stop his incessant scratching he has been given a neck cone. Remember that cats navigate and have a sense of balance through their whiskers so having these encased inside a giant plastic cone results in severe misery – not to mention difficulty performing daily tasks like getting the large and slightly comical cone correctly aligned over the smaller food bowl. Not only is it hard to walk around, it is unsafe to go outside and watching the food he has accidentally vomited swill inside the cone, is pitiful. Yet, despite all this, a determined and habitual Fingerling still attempts to keep his pride in tact by constant self-grooming, although unfortunately he is licking the inside of a cone!
The same persistence and survival instinct is seen in Precious. The film received mixed reviews as either a film that inspired or was depressing from start to finish in the unrelenting knocks the protagonist takes. Having finally got round to watching it, I find it difficult to understand how anyone could misinterpret this film as negative. The lead is illiterate, mentally and physically abused, obese, pregnant for the second time at 16 and diagnosed as HIV positive but still manages to trudge on and enjoy what tiny successes she accomplishes. Suddenly a few knock backs, cancellations and a cold seem like nothing.
Sure there are always others in the world much worse off but when self-pity kicks in sometimes it is strangely therapeutic to be reminded of this.