I remember all those years in the blind pursuit of perfection. I remember being driven, mechanical, and passionless even as I excelled at what I thought was my life’s purpose. I wonder sometimes how I did it, and how it was possible that I never stopped to ask why.
When I think back on who I was then, who I almost became, and that other kind of life where I could never have known what I do now, I am so thankful for that part of myself that I had to lose.
I am so grateful that it all nearly killed me.
Black Swan resonated at a level that I wasn’t expecting, because I know what it’s like to make that metamorphosis. I didn’t show up to the theater expecting to stare so deeply into the duality of my own life, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to connect so emotionally with such a symbolic, allegorical journey.
It’s a testament to his skill, but Aronofsky made it impossible for me to disassociate from his archetypes — White Swan, Black Swan, Dying Swan — they were so much more than just chess pieces moved about for the sake of a predictable object lesson. I empathized with each of them. I felt that shit.
Natalie, Mila, and Winona were fucking flawless, by the way. They each deserve the academy award that Natalie will eventually win. Maybe they should split it. They are a trinity, after all, each performance representing a part of a tragically beautiful, romanticized feminine ideal.
Still, the ballet isn’t for everyone. There are those who will find this movie as clichéd and boring as any wind-up ballerina music box. Visual metaphors aside, all they’ll see is a highbrow version of Showgirls meets The Shining.
That’s fine. My reaction to the film was very personal, and I feel no need to argue with those it didn’t reach. I don’t have to justify its brilliance, because any work of art that inspires this many deep thoughts while I’m sober is a fucking masterpiece as far as I’m concerned.
It’s been two days now, and I’m still pondering. I’ve done nothing but reflect on my life, my choices, and the things I never got to choose. I haven’t been able to get it out of my head.
I am so fucking grateful to be alive.