I'm not here to tell you how many fluid ounces of tears I shed at the movie adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars last night, nor will I give it a pun-infused four-star rating to heartily persuade the teenage population to go see it. Because you all know my tear ducts gave the Pacific Ocean a run for its money, and the pun here is that I have an infinite amount of reviews to give this story. The thing is, this story is so meaningful to me that it doesn't deserve to be picked and poked apart, changed, or deciphered. It is meant for us, as real humans, to be left altered and glad that we are alive and alive in a way that is different and more provocatively conscious than ever before.
When I was in sixth grade, my English class always had a journaling period at the beginning of class. We regularly had the option of sharing what we had written, and I was generally one of the only volunteers to read my secret poems about the boys who were twiddling their thumbs across the room and my painful prose that bordered on the edge of autobiographical. The very first day I shared one of my pieces, I stood in front of my class and said "This is a little cheesy. I'm really sorry." My teacher exploded, raging to me that I must stand tall, be proud of my writing, and live unapologetically. I simultaneously groaned and giggled, but I took her advice after that, and my outlook remained unchanged.
That is, of course, until Augustus Waters entered my life.
Upon seeing TFiOS last night, it occurred to me how truly important it is to feel sorry. The movie starts off with Hazel apologizing to, perhaps the audience, perhaps the love of her life, or perhaps the whole world for the scar she may or may not have left upon it. From the very start, I was saturated in a mindset that boldly and empathetically understood that it's not that you should never be sorry, or embarrassed, or remorseful, or hurt, but that you will always have the capability to be humbly contrite or even apologized to. You will always maintain the constant decency to feel pain and be loved, no matter how well your heart beats or your head thinks.
As an avid fan of John Green and all of his written work, this story had been coursing through my veins and tingling my fingertips long before it hit the big screen. However, this time was different. It had a varied intimacy from the book that did not diminish nor accentuate its existence, but merely transformed it into a different medium that made me laugh and cry just as much and just as deeply. The awesome part this time around, however, was that I wasn't in it alone.
I attended the largest support group last night filled with young adults in "Okay? Okay." T-shirts, who initially shrieked with joy when the 20th Century Fox logo clocked in on screen, but then sobbed in bereavement right when they were supposed to. It made my tears feel lighter, and my flaws less fatal, knowing that we all felt sorry for our grievances just as much as the next girl who smuggled candy cigarettes into the cinema.
Watching Hazel Grace Lancaster struggling up and down stairs while also counting her luck on both her fingers and toes gave me the greatest and grandest idea of what it truly means to be breathing, functioning, and present. I stood gratefully in my privilege, while also taking on the admirable quest of living through my own struggles.
This story makes you feel aligned in the fact that you are star-crossed. You have incurable, inevitable flaws. You have luck. You have chance. And you have the ability to lose it all. But right now, you can keep it. You can hold hands with the intangible glory of this instant, bubbling with the unfathomable range of feeling and fading.
And, you know what? I think that alone is worth every tear-stained movie ticket and mascara-streaked selfie. The hope that carries us and keeps our slowly decaying bodies circulated with passion and curated in the present. That's what makes us pour our heads into our hands, bawling and deep-breathing: knowing authentically and originally that we exist. And sometimes, when the genies say it so, and our love suffocates suffering, and the injustices of the world slowly melt into hope, we even glow.
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