I saw the world through new eyes yesterday…unexpected, frightening eyes. The eyes belonged to a man…a man I found in a movie having met him first in a trilogy of books. The eyes belong – of course – to Christian Grey of Fifty Shades of Grey. The world I watched was the one I recognised, the one in which I am imprisoned and to which I am shackled but seeing it through such disturbing yet similar eyes was both beguiling and terrifying.
Usually, I see through the eyes of my choosing and eyes of wounded, maternal but resilient women, such as Lucrezia Borgia or Cordelia Chase (to name the eyes I use for comfort most often). Last night, I was a domineering, scarred and dangerous man. I cannot fathom if this change in delusionary material is due to the conversation I had concerning relationships or if the (truly terrible) dialogue and cinematography of the movie just resounded with me. All I know is that during the moments when I was not in fits of giggling with the girl beside me, I was on the edge of my seat in the cinema feeling, understanding and spectating through the nerves, mind and eyes of Christian Grey – somewhere I never wanted or expected to be.
To give some background regarding the debate I had with a friend à propos relationships, I will tell you that I made the following statement: “I am too independent to be in a relationship with another human being”. Quite surprisingly, this incited a bit of a debate over what – in my opinion – was a misinterpretation of my words as a decree that only dependent people enter into relationships. I view relationships as things of compromise, sacrifice and needful of consideration, for in my experience, relationships only function when the two parties involved commit to their partner. This simply cannot be done without being careful of their feelings, hopes and dreams, plans and ideas. The majority of the global population, thankfully, have the capacity for this kind of life, love and affection, but as for myself, I am accustomed and value too highly what some might call inconsiderate spontaneity or “lack of intimacy and closeness that comes with a romantic relationship”. I would not put the latter quite like that but would say instead that my business is mine alone unless I choose to divulge it on my own terms and most definitely not because I have deigned to be intimate and secrets are unhelpful in functional relationships. That is my life and as you will notice, in my statement I made no presumptions on the life choices of anybody but myself. For those fortunate souls who manage to have their cake and eat it too, I salute them in good spirits and congratulate them on the hand Tyche dealt them.
So, there you have it…a succinct insight into what weighed on my mind and thoughts before I entered the auditorium and perhaps contributed to the delusion that swiftly made its roots once the feature film began. Now, on to the workings of my addled and defective brain that gave me eyes that find pleasure in pain.
Anastastia Steele is a passive, Vestal Virgin, manipulative character who asks Christian Grey to “enlighten” her. So, in that regard I am relieved that I was not flung into her mind. Christian Grey, on the opposite side of the coin, is complex yet straightforward and sad – a much more suitable vessel in which I can vicariously live. The sadistic aspects of his life are not as strong with me but I too had a “rough start in life” and am still in the process of finding my ground on which I can base the rest of my life. The dark heart of Grey is a mirror image of my own torn and broken heart.
I enjoy inflicting pain on others despite my general desire to do good in the world. Long ago, I found that no matter how hard I tried the sadness, blackness and putrefaction in my soul destroyed that which I held dear and loved. I am a true soul-destroyer, which is why I would never give myself to any man or woman again. I do love someone as dearly and fiercely as Christian loves Anastasia, but as much as he flays her body through love, I would – unintentionally and unconsciously – take my pound of flesh straight from the very essence of the man I love, from his most prized possession…his heart. The one thing I have better than Mr. Grey is that my willpower is made of sterner stuff. “Fuck the paperwork” comes too quickly. I value the innocence and happiness of the one I love with all my grey heart to put my own desires above that. If I did not have this one selfless bone in my ruined body, I would have nothing, for if he wasn’t the only light in my life, if I blotted it out, there would be nothing to stop me from succumbing to the darkness.
Through Christian’s eyes, his deeds, his perversions, I inflicted harm on Ana, the representation of all those who cannot understand suffering because their lives have been plain-sailing all the way. Of course, everyone suffers in their own way, but Ana is the exact way I see those who cannot understand or underestimate those who have endured childhood trauma, mental illnesses. She does not understand Christian, she changes Christian (and not for the better, according to me), she willingly misunderstands the man and then finds him culpable. See, the problem with delusions for me? Most people find Anastasia the victim, the put-upon girlfriend of a psychopathic control freak, but I – in my mind – empathise with and am drawn straight into Christian. I heard “bastard”, “dick” and other such terms spat at poor Jamie Dornan on-screen, but Ana, who teases and leads on and knows not her own mind, was just the target of scoffs and pity for her poor decision-making.
I found very little of the movie erotic or in anyway romantic, particularly not biting lips, but in its own way, despite the abysmal screenplay or plot, it spoke to me and pulled me in. It gave me comfort, to be out of my own eyes and those of Lucrezia Borgia and Cordelia, and into new ones with unfamiliar sights and thoughts behind them. For, after all both Christian Grey and I are fifty shades of fucked up, and there’s no one to help or to change that fact.