On Inside Out And Being A Bad Parent

Today Penelope and I watched Inside Out. Which is a metaphor for what it did to my tear ducts. First, if you aren’t familiar here is Wiki’s summary: The film is set in the mind of a young girl, Riley Andersen, where five personified emotions—Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust—try to lead her through life as she moves with her parents to a new city.

The key part there is the end, “moves to a new city.”

Two months ago we moved states away with our three girls. Ages 12, 5, 1. Away from everything that we all have known our whole lives. Family, comfort, jobs, you name it.

In the film, everything for Riley that was joy started to turn to sadness after the move. I started trying to relate the film to everything that has happened since the move. Arguments, fits, laughter, anger, everything. “Has everything that has happened since the move been because of the move?” “Did we fuck up our kids psyche?” “Why don’t we play with them more?” “Why is an animated movie making me feel this?”

All questions that have been asked of myself in the last few hours. Of course the ending of the film isn’t sad but it sent me on a journey of all the “what ifs” anyway. It probably doesn’t help that ever since the move I’ve had my own battles with other “what ifs” but that’s just life. It’s part of it. But so is having kids and making sure they have the joy during those formative years. I want my kids to have those core memories that they can remember forever. Maybe they do, but God Damn this movie for making me ever have to even question it.

After I had my alone time after watching it today, I went online and read a review by Drew McWeeny. I knew that he had been going through a rough divorce from his tweets and that he is trying to deal with raising 2 boys separate from his wife now. His review only briefly mentions how his life affected his view of the film, but just reading that bit set me off as now I was in that mindset of a parent trying to relate to everything. I can’t even imagine watching this after going through a divorce. To be honest, I cannot imagine ever watching this again in my life.

It is a great film. It has everything I could ever ask from a movie. It is pretty to look at it, good acting, funny, smart, and does it ever make me feel. I just do not need to feel the way that I did over the last couple hours again. I am going to add a couple extra hours of trying to make my kids happy this week just to make up for being rather glum after the movie got over.

Obviously I do not know the answers to my questions about my kids. I do know that they seem happy. My wife and I have only had one night out in the few months we have been here so the kids are getting more of our attention now than they would normally, I think. We have tried to make it better for them, we’ve done of a ton of family things together and we have plans to do more. (Bowling, water park, go karts, amusement park, pumpkin patch.) Just yesterday I took Penelope and Kiara to see Hotel Transylvania 2, which Penelope tells me was way better than the movie we watched today because it was “kind of creepy, but kind of nice.”

Yeah, kiddo, you might just be right about that.

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