Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind & the BLOW OFF

Last week, BLOW OFF contributor Carolyn referenced one of my very favorite movies in her What If? post: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Like her, every time I watch that film, I find myself wishing that Lakuna actually existed. We have sent people to the moon, developed phones and apps that are mind boggling, yet no one has figured out how to delete painful memories.

Of course the ultimate question is would I really go through with it if given the chance? I remember praying for a spotless mind after I reconnected with “army guy,” who left me broken-hearted, crying and alone one New Year’s Eve. If I had reconnected with him only a few months later, he would have been living in Texas and we never would have gotten involved. Left with nothing but tears and what ifs, I found myself wondering why that relationship was necessary to my life.

As females, we like to believe that all relationships happen for a reason. There are lessons to be learned and revelations that will make us better in our future relationships. Sure, an optimistic and glass half full kinda person can take something positive from every situation, but the real truth is that we have to believe this because it’s what gets us through. If there isn’t a valid reason, a life changing lesson and a tangible takeaway, what was the point in investing so much time and emotion in someone only to have them walk away and become a stranger?

While I’m on this tangent, I would like to talk for a minute about how crazy it is that someone you were so close with can become a stranger. For a while you share your lives, you know everything about each other and then all of a sudden you are no longer speaking to the person you once told EVERYTHING to. The worst is when you see each other and have the artificial conversation.

Unlike with "army boy," my most recent situation actually changed me for the better. I can acknowledge that even though the wounds are still fresh. When I moved to LA, I lost all perspective. I dated actors and reality stars. The Playboy Mansion became like my second home and I started to wonder if I could ever be happy with just one person (unless he was a tattooed rocker who kept me on my toes). I experienced some extreme highs and I worried that the things I used to want out of life would no longer satisfy me.

He made me realize that when you find someone you truly care about, all you really need is a bad horror movie, cheap wine, a hot tub and good sex. With the right person, those things are so much better than the newest Hollywood club. He made me realize that I have to be vulnerable sometimes, even though it didn’t work out so well in this case. He helped me see that at least in putting myself completely out there, I don’t have any regrets. The na├»ve girl from Maryland who wanted to get married, procreate and rescue a Labrador is still inside of me and I’m so grateful to have found her again. These are all amazing takeaways, yet when I really let myself remember the good times and acknowledge the fact that he will soon become a stranger, it makes me want to eternal sunshine his ass.

Of course, I do know that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. This is made clear in the movie as well. If you are meant to meet someone or connect with them, you just will. There’s no avoiding or erasing it. Maybe if I had reconnected with “army boy” now things would be different because we are both different people. Maybe if I erased my most recent situation, I’d lose the girl who is now open to finding something real. Maybe both of them really did help me in ways that I won’t truly know until I find the person I’m supposed to end up with.

Timing is really everything. In one of my very favorite movies Love and Sex, Jon Favreau says “ two people can be perfect for each other, but if the timing's wrong it's never going to work out. Bad timing is the reason that most normal people end up single. Weirdos and creeps are single cause they are weird and creepy, but people like us are single because of bad timing.” If you connected with someone at a bad time, Eternal Sunshine can’t stop you from making the same mistakes all over again.

I still don’t know whether I would really do it if given the chance. Sometimes I am not sure the lessons learned are worth the painful memories and the pain that comes along with losing someone who means a lot to you. Other times, I feel like I would be like Jim Carrey's character, changing my mind at the last minute and clinging to the person I never wanted to let go of in the first place. Hopefully, if Eternal Sunshine ever does exist, I will be with a guy who erased my past simply by being my future.


  1. the part in eternal sunshine that always kills me is when he's suddenly in one of the happier memories with clementine and he's begging the lakuna people to let him keep that one memory. I do agree with your point that if you erase your old relationships you'll just keep making the same mistakes with other people. One of the things that was really refreshing when i started dating my husband was being cognisant of the fact that he had the qualities that were lacking in the guys I'd dated before him.

  2. Ahh that scene gets me everytime too. And how they try to hide and do things differently just so they can hold on to that memory. At the end of the day, the memories and lessons are too valuable and I probably wouldn't actually go through with eternal sunshine. It's just a nice thought when in the midst of heartbreak.

  3. Have you guys read this? http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/disruptions-rather-than-time-computers-might-become-panacea-to-hurt/