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  • Harry Jensen

May 4, 2020

I’m back on the Ramadan train, and I stopped taking my psychiatric medication a week ago. Sometimes I hear many cats mewling, but they do not exist. May the Fourth be with you!

We woke up at 4:30 this morning to eat oatmeal with raspberries and heavy whipping cream and watch Hereditary, a psychological horror flick about grief, psychosis, and demonic possession. It was good to watch it as the sun rose as opposed to the other way around. We promised T we would watch, but I have never been a huge fan of horror movies. Some people like jump scares and intermittent explosions of cortisol, but I myself prefer a leisurely stroll through a listless, soul-crushing dystopia — I just feel more at home.

I did, however, like Hereditary, much in the same way that as I enjoyed the soft tones of Nordic brutality in Midsommar. To my surprise, out of all the films I have seen about death and loss and all that razzmatazz, the genre of horror does grief justice.

Most archetypal Hollywood movies — and a lot of good stories, generally — share a plot line that ends up in some kind of resolution: a mission accomplished, a love rekindled, a friendship formed. Horror movies, on the other hand, are free and even driven to leave you to deal with a lifeless heap of completely dysfunctional and tortured characters. I really hate it when a dead parent is written into a romcom for the sake of deepening an impossibly shallow character, or to eroticize a scene by dressing it as “vulnerable.” But I love a movie where the main character’s family member dies, and the walls of reality crumble and leave them a shambling wreck of a human being. That’s my version of representation, anyways.

I returned back to sleep after the movie and went to Special K’s Amharic class. Today, I learned how to say things like, “[T,] you are a field of flesh,” and “[T,] you are the sweat of the cow.” I thought I did, at least, but I haven’t quite learned how to say, let alone conjugate, the rather crucial word “is.” What I was actually doing, Special K told us, was yelling fragments of presumptuous sentences, and, at best, addressing my classmates with scorn.

“You, building thief!” I said, wagging my finger.

Later in the afternoon, when I was getting ready to visit a friend whom I have not seen in a while, the melancholy that had been whipping up inside of me for the past few hours and days started to seep into me.

"Sadness again?" I thought to myself. "Impossible!"

I broke my fast for the day with a cup of coffee Cecilia had left in my room, knowing I would need the artificial energy to get through the rest of the afternoon.

I went to my friend’s house and we caught up between lawn chairs ten feet apart from one another. After a while, another friend of hers came to deliver treats, and then I departed to go home and have myself a scream.

It was an up and down day, emotionally, but I try to find inspiration everywhere. Today, it was in an ad for a mental health facility located on the cliffs of California, a convenient jumping’s distance from some rocks in front of the Pacific Ocean. Malibu Cliffside’s slogan could have been ripped off of a poster for Hereditary.

“You can put an end to the insanity; there is hope.”


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