“Those moments, they stare back at you.”
Who knew that I’d be using the Sunday night series on HBO, True Detective, as a jumping-off point for a post?
It’s even more amazing that it would be dialogue from the show that would trigger thought, considering that Rolling Stone described the dialogue from this year’s season as
“sounding cribbed from a video game cut scene.”
The catalyst was an event from this past Sunday’s episode in whichVince Vaughn’s character, Frank Semyon, visits the widow of one of his henchmen, killed in the line of duty.
He pulls the bereaved young son aside after learning the boy is inconsolable over his father’s death. In an attempt to comfort him, he says:
“Sometimes a thing happens, splits your life. There's a 'before' and 'after,'" says Frank to the kid. "But if you use it right — the bad thing — you use it right and it makes you better. Stronger. Gives you something most people don't have."
My life has happily been free of murderous thugs wanting to off members of my family.
And yet when I look back, those milestone are there, moments so defining that a big, wide line divides everything into the before and after that Vaughn’s character speaks of:
Moves from one place to another: New Jersey, Massachusetts, Virginia,
Oklahoma, Virginia, England, Virginia, New Jersey, Georgia, New Jersey,
California, and finally, back to Massachusetts.
Changes in career: waitress, clerical government work, ice cream scooper, car
rental agent, hospital secretary, television production instructor,
teacher, and now writer
A sudden plunge from irresponsibility to adulthood: college to motherhood to career
And all those decisions, both private and public.
I remember giving birth to my first child, alone in an Army hospital while two Nurse Ratcheds stared down at me and commented to each other, “She doesn’t know how to breathe.”
I remember running hand-held camera on a remote shoot where I was not only the oldest person there, but also the only female.
I remember finally slogging to the end of my Masters in English, after three years of reading a book and/or writing a paper every two or three days while still working full time.
Even staring down a room-full of large, grumpy teenagers who had already decided they didn’t like English or me even though they’d only entered my room for the first time ten minutes before.
And after I conquered each experience, I told myself, “If I can do this, I can do anything.”