For the longest time if I was around a woman who was crying for any reason - whether or not it had anything to do with me - my first response was to do whatever I could to make it stop. But a few years ago I went to a showing of Fargo with a friend who was a little too drunk, and she talked over most of the movie. It was really bad because it was a really small theater, it was sold out, and she wasn't being nearly as clever as she thought she was, so she was basically ruining it for everyone. I called her out on it - possibly with too much vitriol, I can admit that - and after I was on my way back home she called me in tears because she was so upset that I was mad at her. And here's how much of a Nazi I am about talking during movies: for the first time I didn't back down. I mean, I wanted to console her if I could because I didn't want to be a jerk about something petty, but at the same time, I knew that I was right in principle even if I hadn't been right in my tone. I calmed her down as best as I could, but I didn't back down from the principle.
It proved to be an oddly important role in my path to maturity, an outcome I didn't expect at all at the time it happened. It was the first time I was confronted with a negative emotion and I decided to ride it out rather than try to avoid it. Before that point I was reasonably mature, and it wasn't like I was generally irresponsible, but I had a bad habit of taking the path of least resistance if something was unpleasant. I was overwhelmed at all the college brochures so I applied to two schools without ever bothering to visit either of them because that got me through that process as quickly as possible. I've taken every job offered to me and stopped job hunting as soon as I got one foot in the door, regardless of whether or not better opportunities were out there. If I was sad I immediately tried to do something that would make me happy instead of trying to address the root cause. But after having stood my ground that one time I began to be more and more sure that it was better to do it right than to do it quickly, even if that meant spending more time feeling unpleasant feelings.
Which is not to say that I can live up to that standard all of the time - in fact, I still generally default to the easiest option most of the time, but I'm not deluding myself about what I'm doing anymore. Now I understand that even though it's easier to ride out good emotions, bad emotions have to be ridden out sometimes, too, and that's just something you have to accept. And when I really need to, I know that I can reach down into my reserves and find a way to manage emotions that feel unmanageable. It requires a lot of self-control and I'm gonna hate it, but it's possible.
Anyway, I wasn't in a mood for a movie tonight because I (clearly) have some stuff on my mind, but I try not to miss B-Movie Bingo when it rolls around every month, so I went anyway. As far as cheesy late 80's straight to video movies go, this was right down the middle. The non-action movie parts really dragged, but most of the fight scenes were enjoyable. The plot about an evil rich guy who buys control of a small town was nothing special, but some of the small touches (like the fact that her Native American sidekick had a wooden hand) were ridiculous enough that it still had a bit of a personality. I doubt that this movie is going to stick out in my mind like that showing of Fargo did, but I've seen worse movies.