Foe and Blue Valentine

Well, it’s been a long while, hasn’t it?

Everything has been pretty consuming. I came to a lot of realizations about my life and what I want to be doing and I was presented with this huge decision that I had to make so I had spent a lot of time being neurotic about that, and then I moved in with my boyfriend who I’ve been with for seven years, which was something expected yet so incredibly new and it took some personal work to get over how terrified I was of it all, and then once that was over, our roommate for the next eight months moved in, which is a whole new thing to adapt to, and now we’re a few days away from the middle of October. It’s kind of like I didn’t sleep and have just been awake and in fear for the past three months trying to figure out what the fuck being 27 means.


Anyway, now that we’re past the personal, anxiety-ridden update of the blog post, let’s get to what I want to talk about, which is actually pretty relevant to the feelings I just expressed up there.

I read something that resonated in my head and heart in a uniquely different way than most things do, and the funny thing is that I’ve been waiting for this book for so long and I read it so quickly that it took some time to get over. I was disappointed when I had to put the book back on my shelf and start something new. But I think that happens to everyone who has to put love back on a shelf. I was in it, I fell in love with it, and then the book broke up with me because it ended its side of things, so I put it up there on the shelf with all my other baggage, you know? I had no choice.

I know you get it, and that brings me to Foe by Iain Reid.

Can I be replaced by the person I’m in a relationship with? Can I be replaced with another version of myself? Can the physical earth replace me – or worse – forcefully take me away and send me to a place I’ve never been? The answer to all of those questions is yes, and that’s what makes Foe so terrifying. It’s about how quickly people can change what they feel, where they live and who they’re with. And what happens when people change because they have no choice? A third party comes in and disrupts what you once thought was peace, but was it actually peaceful? Did that third party have to disrupt things for you to realize that you weren’t happy, but just comfortable? Do you know the difference? Can you listen to someone else when they’re trying to tell you that they’re not happy? Are you the type of person to let someone go or are you the type to hold on until you’ve stripped the other person of feeling altogether and they’re forced to leave you? Or are you the type of person that wants the person you met in the beginning to never change – to never grow? Can you still love someone if they were once happy but become unhappy, or someone who is struggling and doesn’t know how to fix it? Can you love someone if they’re happy with where they are in their life and career but you’re not happy with where they are in their life and career? What if the person you love wants to move and you want to stay put? What would you do? How far does your love reach?

I watched “Blue Valentine” by Derek Cianfrance within the time-frame of reading Foe, and it occurred to me that the two are eerily similar. We hate to see love die because we know that it can. We hate to see two people who used to be so in love change their hot liquid form to a cold, cracked solid. Witnessing something once unbreakable change into something that could shatter if you dropped it from high enough is… humbling and truthful, almost beautiful, but also so utterly sickening and terrifying to think that one day you could be in the act and not just a witness to it. Put yourself in the shoes of two people who built a life together but don’t love each anymore and think of the events that have to occur to make those two people realize and accept that they’re not love in anymore.

Would you choose to love the person who you met in the beginning of your relationship, the person that almost seemed molded to suit your needs and standards forever if you could?  Or would you choose to love the person who will grow, make mistakes, fuck up and hurt you, probably more than once? To love the person who might not always be happy, who might not always know what to do, who might be happy painting houses and raising a kid with you? Alternatively, would you choose to listen to your partner and make a change? Would you be willing to move out of the excluded farmhouse and into the city? Would you be willing to make new memories instead of always thinking of the old ones?

I can’t stop thinking about it. What if you were your own enemy? What if the past you exceeds the present and future you?

Foe asks all the same questions as “Blue Valentine” but in a different way, in a different circumstance, with two completely different people, yet love is all the same, folks. Fucking terrifying.

Buy Foe and give “Blue Valentine” a watch on Netflix.

Until next time, have a spooky October and love the ones you’re with for everything awful and wonderful about them because that’s the good stuff.

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