Nostalgia: Good or Bad?

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Hoo boy... have I got some heartstrings to tug on today. I know I said in my last entry I'd try and be more optimistic, but this may end up being a more pessimistic view of a sequence of events I experienced. So if you don't feel like being in the same emotional depressed mood that I'm kinda in, then I advise you to not venture into this entry further. I completely understand for choosing not to.

As with all things that happen in my life, there always seems to be a story attached. A few nights ago, I saw Nickelodeon was airing the Rugrats In Paris movie on it's late 90's Are All That block. I've always been a fan of the Rugrats and I remember Rugrats In Paris being a favorite movie of mine as a child. I decided to record it onto my DVR and watch it the following day, considering my VHS copy of the movie was fucked up in certain parts since I'd like to rewind and rewatch certain parts when I was a kid. After doing a butt-load of homework for my college math class, I decided to finally unwind with the movie I recorded. It was just as great as I remembered it and it gave me a laugh and a rush of good nostalgic memories... Then Rugrats, the regular TV show, came on after the movie. As I watched just the opening sequence of one of my favorite Nick shows, I got more rush of nostalgia, but this time, not all of it was necessarily good. I don't quite know how to explain it, but I suppose it was one of those moments where I began to feel so many things my emotions went into overdrive. A lot of people say when you cry at something nostalgic, it means you miss the "good ole' days" but you soon get over it and it's simply keeping those memories cherished. I guess I experienced that and more. It certainly doesn't help that Rugrats' opening theme has such a PATHOS tone to it. Don't get me wrong, it's cute and I get it's suppose to reinforce the theme of the series being about toddlers, but cuteness mixed with emotion is a concoction for tears, whether they be for sadness or happiness. As a man, I obviously try and hold back anytime I wanna cry, especially something as innocent as remembering "good times." Hell, just writing this is making me tear up constantly. I'm listening to rocking music and watching comical media just to distract myself from crying for God's sake. I will admit that I am a very emotional person, I'm very open with my feelings and I wear my heart on my sleeve. Though I try and hide my emotions, I'm no good at it, anyone can tell I'm upset or something is bothering me from a mile away. I love talking things out with people, even if I say I don't when I'm upset. Which brings us to the next chapter of this story.

The reason I claim that some nostalgia can be bad is because, though Rugrats reminded me of good times, it can also remind you how those good times have deteriorated over the years. In Rugrats, every character's family life is perfect. There are no divorced couples or problems between the parents, at least none that ultimately gets them divorced, the worst thing that happened is Chucky's first mother dies from a terminal illness, but then he just gets another loving mom in the movie Rugrats In Paris. In the series, my favorite family was Tommy's. I have 2 younger brothers, so I suppose I kinda see myself as Tommy, minus the sense of courage he has. Tommy's dad, Stu, looks a lot like my own dad if he were drawn as a Nickelodeon caricature. The reason I'm emotional because I was raised by two loving parents who were open about their own feelings towards me. I have a lot of friends who's family life rarely comes close to my own. Their parents are either divorced and have step-parents or their parents are together but are very closed with their emotions and don't openly convey that they love them. I am very grateful to have the family and family life that I do, and that's why this revisiting of Rugrats gave me nostalgia that can be considered bad. As a child, I always saw my family just like Tommy's, and my dad being Stu, perfect and lovable, it would last forever. However, my parents have proven that forever may not be the reality. My parents have gotten in fights before, but nothing as serious as in recent years. It's so bad that my dad is now living at my grandma's and I found out that they've had to go to marriage counseling in the past. This shattered my, I suppose, illusion that my family was as great as Tommy's. After my dad told me he was moving out, I saw this as the signs of a divorce not too far along the future and I was crushed. Now I was going to fall under the same umbrella my friends did, a child of parents whom are no longer together. I always hated the idea of being a child of divorced parents, they're each leading their own lives, you have to visit them separately. To me, that's just stupid, how can I call these people my parents if they separate as soon as they're done raising me? It seems, at least to me, a lot of people don't care if their parents get divorced, but I do. Especially after what I just explained. I idolize my parents, and I want my family to live up to my dad being Stu Pickles and me being Tommy Pickles.

And I get it, the world isn't all sunshine and lollipops, but my family's love was something I thought could withstand the test of time. I mean, my grandparents on my mom side are still together. Figures my dad's divorced side is now influencing my immediate family. It just seems everytime I find something great and optimistic about life, it has to remind me it's cruel and unforgiving. People say, it doesn't matter if the parents are getting a divorce as long as they still harbor love for the child, and while that's great, I can't live with that. Sure, I'll love my parents forever, but... there's something unsettling to me about parents not loving each other, but still loving the child. It's like, if you really love them you'll stay together... but then again, I do take into account other people's happiness very much. If my parents aren't really happy together anymore, I have no right to force them to stay together for my sake, but I wouldn't be happy if they get divorced either. Grump Ugh... I hate these lose-lose situations. It seems like I have to live with one or the other unhappy situation. Either I live with my parents staying together, knowing they don't really care for one another anymore, or live with them getting divorced. Neither eases my emotional pain... :( (Sad) I mean, even the Rugrats movie summed up perfectly what I thought of my parents "It's because of my love for her, that I learned to love again." I applied that to when I eventually find my significant other, my parents were role models of marriage. I made it my personal goal that if I get married, that's it. I don't want any divorces on my record. Out of all the shit and pessimism I put up with in this world, my parents' love for each other falling apart shouldn't be one of them. They're the ones I go to when I need reassurance that this world isn't a fucked up cesspool that we just inhabit until we're finally spared from it with death, whether that be blissful eternal rest or the end of our very existence as a person.

I sometimes just hate this whole concept of 'life balance.' Why can't the good ever outweigh the bad? Why does something have to give? I've even heard the quote "You don't learn to deal with loss, you learn to live with it." Why should I have to live with it, why can't things get better? Rage *heavy sigh* Well, like most stories, this, thankfully, has a happy ending, sort of. Since I'm trying to be more optimistic, I should end this entry on a good, hopeful note. After experiencing that emotional overload with Rugrats, with it having a deeper meaning of it reflecting how perfect my own family was, I had to ask my dad whether he still loved my mom truly, I had to know after thinking on this. To determine whether divorce was still a possibility or if my future family was secure for a few more good years. Thankfully, he said he does still love my mom and cares about her, but said he's not "in love" with her anymore. Which, I suppose, he meant there's no romance between them anymore, which I can kind of get behind. You don't have to be romantic with your mate 24/7 in order to love them. I think everyone is in agreement after being married for so-and-so years the honeymoon is over. Then my parents love to do what they always do, the "give-and-take" explanation. This means my parents will reassure me about something, but then reinforce the negative is still there too. Kinda going back on the whole 'life balance' bullshit. So my dad says after saying he does love my mom, "but I love you and your brothers. That doesn't change because of the situation me and your mother are in." At this point, I can't control my emotions and I'm choking up and my dad thinks I'm upset, which I kinda was, but I honestly didn't know what I was necessarily feeling. Again, it probably was just an emotional overload. When I'm "upset" I have a hard time explaining things, so I give my father like a quarter of the story that I've relayed here now, and all I told him was something along the lines of "Rugrats made me think that our family was perfect." He took it as "Rugrats made me think our family needs to be perfect." So he responded with nothing in life is perfect and that's just the reality. He said there's nothing wrong with all families or life having imperfection, my dad doesn't believe such a perfect family exists, he just said TV families are made perfect to entertain us because our own families are imperfect, an illusion if you will... Gee, thanks dad. That really reassured me about our situation. Roll Eyes 

See what I'm talking about with the whole "give-and-take" thing? Of course, I was crying when I was trying to tell him what I really meant and he simply interpreted it wrong. That would've been sound advise/reassurance if the problem was me worrying about our family being imperfect. But my worry is that my definition of our family's perfection is deteriorating. My utmost confidence in saying my family is like Tommy's in Rugrats, visualizing my dad as Stu Pickles, a loving family with no threat of falling apart. Now... now I can't really say that anymore without some hint of lingering doubt. I haven't talked about it with my parents since that discombobulated discussion I had about it with my dad. I haven't even gotten my mom's side of the story yet. I may bring it up again later, but I'm gonna wait till my more extreme emotions on the matter calm down first. Because I don't wanna repeat of that miscommunication. Otherwise it'll just make things worse. Sometimes you have to fight for what you love, and I have to address the issue if I'm going to have a chance of reversing a horrible demise that is my family's bond. I really hope this is just me over-exaggerating this, I tend to do that when my pessimism gets the best of me. So, at least, I'm hopeful of the optimistic outcome rather than the pessimistic outcome I'm predicting. Here's hoping for a happy ending to this story. I'm going to try and keep my spirits up, and if I end up having to fight for my ideal family life... than so be it.Use the force! 
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ShaunDevon's avatar
Great old classic. Grew up on that flick.