I remember the first time I read about Boyhood. It was a random article I clicked through from my Twitter feed. I remember the concept was so incredible to me–following the same actors in real time. I remember eyeing the showtimes when it came to northern WI. Planning to see it, backing down, missing it. I don’t know why I do that. Resist the things I really want. So, this is the I finally watched Boyhood post.
Top 3 Things Boyhood Made Me Relive
2. Talking to Boys as an Adolescent
Music because music is everything and without it I can’t imagine that life would be half as good.
Ugh, school. Do you remember what school was like? Having to show up in the morning and sit at the desk and shove your shit into a too small place, whether it was a locker or a shelf. Having to be quiet and play nice and talk nice and look nice and the conformity of it all. It was so dull. I hated school. The constant boredom and the routine of it all. Kids. The microcosm of humanity. Not being able to explore what you wanted and having to read the words in the science book and the worksheets and the music classes and the smell of the school bus. The sweet sweet freedom of summer. School is a soul crushing prison we send our children to on the regular basis. Don’t get me wrong–education is a privilege, but the way we do it is torturous.
2. Talking to Boys as An Adolescent Girl
I had totally forgotten what it was like to be a girl and like a boy and have to call that boy on the phone. Kids these days don’t know how easy they have it. With their social medias and their texts. I remember the awkwardness of it all…what would you talk about? Outside of school? Away from extrinsic factors? Then you had to call him. And you probably had to talk to his mom, his sister, his brother, his dog, before he got on the phone. And then you had to listen to the background of, ‘who is it’; ‘who?’; ‘he’s talking to so and so.’ And then knowing that your name would trigger similar conversations from there on out. Every time you called. Assuming the first couple calls went well and gave you a reason to call again. Oh my gosh. The worst. Teenage Mating Rituals.
I’ve never watched a movie that so accurately depicted being the child of divorced parents as this one. I was that kid again, going back and forth. Balancing it all out. How it is with the primary parent and the weekend parent. The tension. The realization that you were enough for your parents to be civil friends but not much more. That nothing else was really tying them together, other than their mutual interest in you. Being with the secondary parent who didn’t have the same expectations, who just let you be. Because they don’t know really, what it means to be a parent one hundred percent in the traditional sense. Having to re-adjust at first to the different parenting style, the different feel, the different rules or lack thereof. Having to remember what this parent was like. Who you were with this parent. The conversations. And then, wrapped within this divorce package = Men and alcohol. With my dad it meant dirty jokes and pizza for dinner and the weekend and probably a later bedtime. With my mom it meant the strained dinners and the slammed doors and the early bedtimes and the quieting of the TV. The siblings huddled in the room together trying to reclaim your safe feeling after. The feeling of guilt. The feeling of, yes, you’re the man keeping the roof over my head, but you’re not my dad. The feeling of, what is a dad? Seeing your mom and knowing that regardless of how well you did in school or how quickly you cleaned your room on Saturday, she would still be missing something. Not having the words to communicate to her how sorry you were–that her expectation that the sacrifices she made for her children would be enough, would leave her feeling fulfilled and how unfortunately, none of it was as worthwhile as she had hoped. I never had step siblings, but the step families, and the trying to make them happy, appease the otherness, become whatever it was that would make you seem like family. That I had forgotten. Patricia Arquette has always reminded me of my mother, but especially in this movie. The shape, the blondeness, the drama, the anger. It made me laugh when she would yell and the children would listen but rebel in their small ways. It reminded me of so many mornings in bed, so many times in the car, so many goodbyes. Just that feeling of walking in the door and never knowing what you were going to get. That’s what Boyhood ultimately made me relive. The ambiguity that has colored so much of my life.
And that feeling of trying to trust the moment cause you’re always slightly doubtful of where it will take you.