My slightly spoilery review of Inside Out

This started as a quick take or Facebook post, but got out of control. If you want to avoid spoilers, skip the fourth paragraph (the one that starts “Even the things that didn’t speak to my experience”)


We took the kids to Inside Out on opening night. It’s a great movie. Just wonderful. I recommend you go.

I hated it.
As you probably know, the movie takes place inside the head of an 11-year-old girl. This girl, like all of us, has old memories that are fading, disintegrating, and just plain disappearing (independent of the ones that are collapsing under the weight of stress). But her past is basically a recreation of my family’s present and to see disappear before my eyes hurt. There’d be a memory of her dancing and laughing as a toddler and it was so ‘Eleanor’ it would take my breath…then it would turn to dust and be gone forever.
Even the things that didn’t speak to my experience hurt. I never had an imaginary friend myself, and neither have any of my kids, so I never expected myself to be sobbing in public over the fate of one. I’m crying actual tears right now just thinking about it.
I’m just tired of every Pixar movie I see being a punch to the gut. Crying is a given, but sometimes it’s a good cry (Up). Sometimes it feels almost cruel, like they can’t help but rip my heart in two (Toy Story 3). This was definitely the latter. On steroids. In a sense, those movies were about having happy memories of times past, but in this one it’s clear that you physically can’t hold on to all those happy memories. No matter how sure you are you’ll never forget XYZ, it’s entirely possible you will.
I basically walked out of there thinking life is meaningless, because in 10 years everything that seems important now will be a distant memory. Will I or any of my kids remember the fun things we do this summer? Almost certainly not. So what’s the point? (Clearly, I’ve chosen to take the pessimistic view.)

Doing and being

There was a death in my community yesterday, one that hit close to home and made me so very, very sad. I can’t believe she’s gone. It definitely made me want to do everything I can to not die – lose weight, exercise, etc – but I also wondered: is there more I want to do? Do I not get out enough? I spend most of my days in my own house. Am I making enough of an impact?

Yes. I realized I’m doing exactly what I want. I want my impact on the world to be time spent with my family and a cozy home. Sure, some people bond with their kids by volunteering together and that’s wonderful. But I like to just BE together. Neither way is right, maybe the other way is more noble, but this is my way. I want to make my home beautiful and happy and welcoming.

It’s not like I don’t get out, either – I realized I’m actually pretty plugged in. I keep the books for my MOPS group and help run it. I volunteered to be the treasurer for the PTA for the next two years. I work in the nursery at church the first Sunday of every month. I took charge of the summer playdates for my moms group, which sounded like no big deal, but now means I have to go to them all and I feel like I’m always going and doing.

I like to think a lot of people would notice if I was gone. I don’t fly to Africa, but I do send some money there. I’m happy with the legacy I’ve got going.