Saturday, January 10, 2015


I've recently come upon the movie “Cake” with Jennifer Aniston. I saw that it was about a woman with chronic pain, so obviously I was intrigued. Honestly, my first opinion before I really researched what I could on the movie was, “Why would someone make a movie about something so depressing?” But then I thought about it. People who have this, (I don’t even know if it’s fair to call it a stigma, because let’s face it anything with the word pain in it kind of signifies something negative,) usually do denote a bad stigma towards it, and therefor don’t talk about it with other people. In my case, I don’t want to make other people feel awkward. Because I know how you tend to sit there thinking, “OMG what do I say so I don’t sound like an idiot; I have to say something so it at least looks like I care?” And then you either say nothing, keep nodding, or you say something that makes you look like an idiot.  I started to think about my journey through chronic pain and where I am today. And yes while my smile may fade in and out at times, if I’m stuck going to the doctor once a month for the rest of my life, I know I have gained so much more than I have lost. That being said, I don’t want people to think I’m constantly in this cheery happy mood all the time, because trust me I’m not. However, when I’m out with people, I do admit that I do tend to put my mask on, and be happy, because I don’t want to burden other people, and I’m 25 years old, who wants to stay in on a Friday night, even if you do feel like crap? I tend to have my “I feel sorry for myself, contemplative” periods of time, when I’m by myself. It’s really true when people say, “I do all my crying behind closed doors then when I open them, I’m back looking like Aubrey Hepburn.” And you have now heard it from a chronic pain sufferer herself. It’s true! At least in my case it is. 

When I saw that this movie was going to come out, I started watching the trailer and researching like crazy. I honestly wanted to see if the trailer truly did it justice. Because come on I’m Asian, I’m not going to spend like 15 dollars going to a movie, getting popcorn and a drink if the movie is going to suck. Right after I saw this trailer for the first time, I had two overwhelming thoughts in my head. One being, “OMG she does such a good job I really want to see this.” And of course because my brain is the Jeckyl and Hyde of brains, the other half said, “This trailer is the epitome of what you have worked so hard NOT to become why would you ever want to see this?” And I can’t answer that, at least not until I see it. But after watching the trailer about 100 times, and watching every little mannerism she uses, and after watching many YouTube videos about why she wanted this role so bad, I can say with a lot of confidence, “I can’t wait to see this movie even if it does illustrate what I have worked so hard NOT to become.”  It’s like she said, ‘Chronic pain is such an invisible condition, and most chronic pain people crave normalcy, so they try to live their lives completely normally.’ But that has a backlash. Then people think there is nothing wrong. So it’s this endless cycle. I try not to have too many of those I feel so bad for myself times, because I do know I am going to be dealing with this for the rest of my life, however long that might be. So I see it as, don’t complain about something you’re never going to be able to change. But it’s because I had a normal life at one point; that’s the reason I crave it so much.

I felt like I could really connect with Claire’s character. Even just by watching the trailer. I did like I said look this up on YouTube, and basically watched every interview that Jennifer Aniston did for this movie, and she said that you could begin to see through the movie just shards of Claire’s personality before “the accident”(I still don’t know what that accident was all I know is it was an accident). And I felt for a loooong time that every time I looked in the mirror the girl looking back at me was so different and broken than who I thought I was, or was supposed to be. But I would see it too, little shards of my “previous personality” coming through in different situations and I’m slowly beginning to realize that they were there the entire time, it just took a little bravery on my part for them to come out again. A lot of my college friends are saying, I can’t imagine you any different, and it’s not really that I was different, it was just that I was more carefree, I was more innocent, because quite honestly nothing “Really Bad” had ever happened to me, and I think while everyone looks at the phrase, “yeah I grew up” and gives it a good connotation, it doesn't always happen that way. Yes I grew up, but I was faced with a lot of decisions no one ever has to face in their lifetime and I was faced with them when I wasn't even a legal adult yet.

I kept pushing away any feelings that I had about this at all, because I was so focused on graduating high school on time, because I came back senior year and I was basically a year behind, and so I just kept focused and whenever anything would come back to me like a flashback I would just push through it until my nerves were so desensitized that I felt like I couldn't cry about any of it, and I didn't, not until six years later. And that put a lot of stress on my relationships with other people as well. It was like that “elephant in the room” except I was the only person who could see the elephant, all my friends could see that I was stressed about something but none of them knew what it was because I wasn't going to talk about it. And it was this way for a long time, but I slowly began to realize that it’s not always as painful as you think to talk about it. And sometimes it’s healing. You never know if you know how to swim until you jump in, and I jumped. I may not have had a life jacket on, but as you can see I’m doing pretty well……….

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