Stay Broken

My drugs were no longer effective. The highs and the escape which these drugs once brought me were now unavailable. I’m not talking about actual drugs that we swallow or inject into our bodies, rather I’m talking about the type of drugs that we force into our minds. These are the things around us that we can easily access, which aim to suppress our emotional pain or mental distress. A common drug for me is a movie or documentary that stirs feelings in me. The movie Vanilla Sky or any Vietnam War movie or documentary, among others, have provided me emotional stimulation, like a drug.

The problem is, whenever my drugs are no longer effective, I need a new drug. That’s how drugs work. That’s how addiction works.

Suffering is so valuable.

I found this sort of emotional drug in the form of a documentary named Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond. This documentary provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Jim Carrey adopted the persona of comedian Andy Kaufman (as well as Tony Clifton, naturally) on the set of the movie Man on the Moon. For a while, it was my go-to piece on Netflix. If I was feeling nothing, I would watch it (or simply watch certain parts of it) and I would come away from it feeling something, which for me was better than feeling nothing. Jim Carrey, who is typically thought of as a “funny guy”, is actually a very deep thinker and his commentary is quite thought-provoking. The parts of this documentary where Jim is just talking to the camera are my favorite. Seeing him come to tears when he talks about his dad is stimulating to me.

During one segment of the documentary, Jim talks about meeting Michel Gondry over lunch to discuss filming for the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This meeting took place during a time when Jim was in a lot of mental and emotional pain. During the meeting, Michel Gondry recognized that Jim was in pain and said, “Oh my God you’re so beautiful, you’re so beautiful right now. You’re so broken. I love this. Please don’t get well.” He recognized how Jim’s pain was affecting his creativity and since the filming of the movie didn’t start for another year, he essentially wanted Jim to “stay broken” for the duration. During the documentary, Jim subsequently expressed his irritation toward the movie industry for this type of mindset.

There’s so much greatness to be found in pain.

I relate strongly with what Jim was going through. I remember all the way back to college, seeing my creativity elevated when I was in emotional or mental pain. In fact, I still feel it today. Whenever I’m struggling emotionally or mentally, I’m at my best creatively. It truly is a thing of beauty and it helps me be more appreciative of life even during difficult times. In another segment of the Jim and Andy documentary, Jim says, “Suffering is so valuable”, and I wholeheartedly agree with him. It’s valuable because we forget it. Pain, in my opinion, acts as a stimulus and urges us to move. It is highly valuable.

Whenever I console people today, I always suggest they find healthy and creative outlets for their pain. I don’t want them to stay broken, but I understand they can still do great things when they are broken. I want them to face it and control it instead of allowing it to control them. I have no ulterior motive with them, I simply want them to understand what’s inside of them, to realize their potential, to be creative, and to feel better. It can all work together in a beautiful dance if they can figure it out and if they let it.

There’s so much greatness to be found in pain.