There is a breakthrough happening in our world. And it's happening through two of my favorite mediums: Movies and television. More and more productions are being made that are not only gaining popularity but they are allowing viewers to do something they haven't done in awhile: give themselves permission to feel.
I recently went and saw the Mr. Rogers documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor? And like most people, I was completely wrecked by the time the credits rolled. The theater that was playing this movie had people placing full boxes of tissues next to each seat. I had heard many people on social media posting about how the theater was doing this and initially I thought it was a cute little added bonus to the movie going experience. Then when I thought about it more I realized that whether or not intended, this was a big deal. I looked at it as a symbol of unity among the viewers. An expression of "hey we know this message is going to impact everyone, do not feel like you need to hide." And of course throughout the last half of the film you hear a chorus of sniffles and people pulling at the tissue box. I looked around the theater and noticed a man repeatedly taking off his glasses in order to wipe his face. I then thought of all the men who have and will be watching this movie. How many of them would reflect on their childhood and finally let their suppressed emotions be free. Obviously women struggle with bottling things up but I think there is a movement coming and being emotional will not longer be associated with being "un- manly". Being emotional is just part of being a person.
I went home and put on one of my favorites Call Me By Your Name, which I've written about here before in one of my earlier blog posts. While this is not a movie I would recommend everyone seeing (the age gap in the relationship can be a little weird) I found it so fascinating to hear people tell me what they thought of this film. The overall response was it was a film that just allowed them to BE. The story is just simply human, about people trying to find purpose and meaning. The journey to this discovery can be awkward or uncomfortable but at the end of this film it drives home the point that suppressing feeling will only lead to humans being more miserable. We have to tend to the fires of our pain and feeling, not blow it out.
Now talking about how Queer Eye is changing the world could really be its own novel. And wow is this show changing the world. I don't think the world was expecting how moved it would be by a revamp reality makeover show. Like my other examples here it is giving humans permission to break down. It examines human lives and shows the world that we all share the same humanity. People want to love and be loved. I love it when Mamma Tammy (Season 2 episode 1) talks to the fab five about how The Lord knew what He was doing when he put these men together and now look at the impact that has taken place. And how each and every one of them is God's son. Seeing the guys emotional response to a southern christian woman tell them they are loved and adored by God is life changing.
Whether you are a man, woman, gay, straight, young, old, black, white (I could go on forever) you deserve to feel free. You deserve to dig up the pain from your past then leave it at the door. More and more of us are realizing this truth. More and more of us are seeing that we are not all that different. Nothing is uniting us more right now than the power of vulnerability. We are truly not alone and we can do this whole life thing together, just don't forget the tissues.