I know it’s a little late to be bringing this up, but can we please talk about what a gigantic disappointment the last Batman movie was? The first one, Batman Begins, was intense and had a fantastic storyline. And the second movie? Don’t even get me started on that one. I think I watched it six times, and now I have a strong hankering to watch it again. It was so dark and psychologically disturbing with how it played off of human nature in a sadistic way that still gives me chills. The Joker is a phenomenal evil villain. He is so real and his psyche is so raw that it really sticks with you, and this is the kind of thing that a real person could do in the real world.
So of course, I was super hyped to see the final movie in the trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. With the way everyone hyped it up and talked about it being one of the greatest movies ever made, I was all set to be wowed. And then I saw it, and it was probably the biggest letdown I have ever experienced from a movie. It was worse than the Lemony Snicket movie, and almost as bad as every Stephen King movie before 2000 (at least as far as the ratio between expectation and reality). Nothing about the plot was realistic, Bane was a joke, and the ending was so contrived it was sickening. I felt cheated.
This semi-rant brings me to the topic of this post. Nothing is as good as you expect it to be, and life itself is just one big ball of disappointment.
Take college, for example. All throughout high school, we think college will be better. We’ll have fun in college. We’ll be accepted for who we are. We’ll go to parties and get drunk and be on our own and take classes we are actually interested in and play football in the hallways and just be merry all the time. But it didn’t work out like that.
Granted, college is a hell of a lot better than high school, but “fun” still isn’t the word that would describe my net experience while being here. It would be more along the lines of confusion and self-loathing, with most of my experiences involving listening to people gurgle mucus in the back of their throat while I’m trying to study in the library or sobbing quietly in the shower, asking myself what have I done?
Even orgasms aren’t as great as I thought they’d be. It took me three tries before I realized what that tingly, numbing sensation was. Where is the mind-blowing, fist-clenching, toe-curling, blinding white light of ecstasy everyone talks about? I mean, it feels good, but just good.
And finally, the biggest letdown I have ever experienced my life: love. I grew up on Disney like every other 90s child, and so I was brainwashed into the whole “true love conquers all” motif that was only reinforced through low-budget romantic comedies and cheap novels. 99% of the songs I listened to were centered on love in some way. All around me, love was the main aspect of lives. People moved across the country, gave up their jobs, ended friendships, blew all their money, and settled for less in other areas, all in the name of love. Love was described as indescribable. It changed you. It made you a better person. It completed you. It brought the fire back into your eyes and the spring into your step. Without it, you were nothing.
Naturally, this made me excited to fall in love for the first time. I couldn’t wait for all the fireworks and magic to happen. I was so ready for this.
Well, almost a year ago to this date, it came, it happened, and life went on.
The morning after my 21st birthday, I woke up on a couch, caked in my own vomit, wearing a flannel shirt and skinny jeans from the night before. My stomach ached and my throat was painfully dry. I opened my eyes and saw my partner lying on the floor next to the couch, even though there was an empty bed in the next room. I felt a warm, comforting feeling come over my stomach, and then I got up and went into the bathroom to dry heave.
I didn’t realize until later that that moment, that miserable, disgusting, bland moment, was when I had fallen in love. It was not at all like I had been told. There were no fireworks. There was no sudden epiphany followed by the hushed whispers of “I think I’ve fallen in love with you” in a rainstorm as we hold each other’s faces. It was just another typical morning of me covered in flannel and vomit.
And that’s what love really is. It’s not a fantastical moment all its own that redefines your whole experience. It’s a lens through which other experiences seem not so bad, and it enables you to look back at them fondly because they were special in a different way. You will always have memories of flannel and vomit, and love won’t change that. It won’t change who you are, but it will make you more yourself. And that’s something to get hyped about.