love out loud: lessons from gone with the wind, pt. 1
I never thought of my parents as particularly weird. Overall, I suppose I still don’t, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to be aware of and appreciate their little quirks, which do render them a little bit eccentric.
One such example is my dad’s edit of Gone with the Wind.
Being one of my dad’s favourite films, it stood to reason that when it was the midday movie in the mid ‘90s, he would record it to VHS for his future viewing pleasure. However, my dad doesn’t like sad movies, which is somewhat incompatible with Gone with the Wind (I really can’t adequately summarise the plot as its running time is close to four hours, but for those unfamiliar, all you need to know for the purposes of this article is that it’s really really sad and a lot of people die. A lot. Not even just the standard amount of casualties that you’d expect from a storyline that largely revolves around the American Civil War, but also an obscene number of people close to the protagonist).
So dear old Dad got crafty and simply didn’t tape the saddest bits, which meant that I didn’t have a full appreciation of just how shit things got for Scarlett O’Hara until I was 14 and watched the film in its entirety at my grandpa’s place, despite having seen what I thought was the whole movie many, many times before.
All up, this was a pretty harmless effort by my dad to edit out what he didn’t like about something that, on the whole, he rather loved. And this is kind of what we often do with relationships: we edit out the bits that we don’t want to think about, and it usually takes a break-up to remind us of them.
I remember reading some years ago that as long as there were five good moments for every one bad moment in a relationship, the balance between good and bad was okay. I always thought this was a pretty generous estimate (and I still do) but the real problem only arises when those bad moments aren’t just stored away as lowlights but ignored altogether, presenting a different picture of a relationship than the one that actually exists.
I certainly don’t think that the low points in a relationship should be dwelled upon (within reason, there are of course certain things that shouldn’t be tolerated even once) as long as the good outweighs the bad in a measure you’re comfortable with. But if the only way you can stay with a person is if you push some of their behaviours out of your mind, then it may be time to reassess what your relationship narrative really looks like.
Granted, my dad’s motives for editing Gone with the Wind are similar, in that he wants to keep his life as pleasant as possible. But as much as we might like to occasionally compare them as such, our relationships are not films. We can’t just fast forward through the bits we don’t like, and nor should we. A relationship that can only function if its downfalls are ignored is likely one that you should walk away from.
(Image credit: 1.)