What if Life is Supposed to be Utterly Baffling?

What if Life is Supposed to be Utterly Baffling?

Have you ever started watching a movie without knowing a thing about it? I mean nothing at all. You’d never heard of it, you don’t know the genre, you haven’t read a description, seen a trailer, or anything. 

I happened to have this experience rather recently and it was….surreal.

(’Surreal’ – nice. Yep, that’s a good word to use. Diplomatic. Definitely don’t write ‘terrifying and weird as fuck’, that will put people off. Stick with ‘surreal’. Good)

The movie called itself an ‘experimental drama film’ and was a series of disconnected vignettes with no coherent plot or theme. Had I known that beforehand, I could have somewhat settled into the plotless disconnected strange-weirdness-thingy.

But I didn’t know beforehand – I found out after, googling hesitantly with a spinning head and a dry mouth – and so found myself trying to make sense of something that fundamentally defied comprehension for a baffling 89 minutes.

This made me think about how we humans are always trying to understand everything. We want life to match up with what we ‘expect’. We hope that the characters, scenes and plot will connect and build on each other, creating a larger, more rewarding experience that keeps getting better and better until we explode into a supernova of everlasting happiness/get promoted / get a mortgage / get laid. Or something.

We are pattern-seeking creatures. We love to fit things into neat little boxes, to see a beginning, middle, and end. We crave structure. A framework to drape the fabric of our understanding over*. 

We want anchors, familiar references or a point of comparison.

How are we doing?

How will we know?

What should be happening?

Are we there yet? 

But where are our questions and expectations even coming from? Are they based on what you want or think? Are they from ‘society,’ the collective norms and conventions that we are expected to follow based on our [insert arbitrarily assigned identity feature here]? Or from our teachers, caregivers and peers? But where are they gathering their expectations from? 

When life doesn’t ‘match’ our expectations, the experience is perplexing, frustrating and disillusioning. The lack of a known storyline can feel disorienting. 

But, what if, it’s supposed to be that way sometimes? 

Had I seen a trailer of the movie I watched last week or read a line or two about it beforehand, I would have felt ok in the thick of the confusion. I perhaps would have even enjoyed my ignorance of whatever was supposed to be going on. The trailer or synopsis would have ‘given me permission’ (for the lack of a better way of putting it) to be fine with the confusion, uncertainty, lack of clarity and utter bafflement. 

And isn’t life, at times**, confusing, uncertain, lacking in clarity, and utterly baffling?

Bottom line: What if we are supposed to be somewhat baffled, a bit dazed, and rather confused sometimes with no idea what the actual f*** is going on? And – even better – what if being ok with that, accepting that, makes the experience way more fun, or at least less shit?

Big love ?

*oh that was rather poetic. You should have two coffees more often

**um – a lot of the times