A few weeks ago, I went to a special screening of The Matrix and got my entire life. This is not hyperbole. When I tell you I LOVE that movie… Saw it 16 times in theaters and it continues to inform fundamental aspects of my life style.* I love it for all the reasons it’s lovable, plus sartorial inspiration, and its foundational role in my theory that Keanu Reeves is a brilliant actor whose access to deep nuance is overshadowed by his challenges navigating the intricacies of vocal modulation. Also, it’s endured the progression of time and technology and the burden of those clunky, well-meaning sequels. Even the anachronistic bits are transformed into pleasant sparks of nostalgia: the appearance of that Nokia phone? You know, the one that was peak pre-millennial badassery? Y’all, I tittered with glee.
We’re talking top 5, dead or alive.
And yet, prior to last month, I hadn’t seen my old fave in several years. This was mostly due to life, e.g. grad school, jobs, over-saturation caused by an ex-partner’s sloppy viewing habits (pro-tip: never let anyone sour your art, kids), and my fondness for it had grown to feel apocryphal. They say that when we remember, we recall our last recollection of an event, rather than the event itself. Although I could access all these details surrounding the various pockets in which The Matrix was tucked, it was all intellectual exercise. I knew the whys and hows and whos of those viewings, but they felt distant, buried under layers of memory. I wasn’t even sure why I made such a fuss about getting tickets.
Until the day of, when the opening shot triggered a moment of breathtaking sense memory that flooded my body with all the ways this piece of popular culture pressed my witch doctor buttons at a time when I was just learning they were there. I was giddy with affirmation – of course I adored this movie. Of course I saw it a million times! I’ve always been a weirdo who’s known we all have more power than we’ve been led to believe. I’ve always been obsessed with meditation, self-liberation, and physics-defying eyewear – it just took me a while to make it look this good.
Now, to my point: (beyond suggestive regalement, though a (re)watch wouldn’t be the worst idea) the illustration of a common phenomenon I’d bet money we’ve all experienced, and maybe forgot, mostly due to life. Signposts are everywhere for us. Signals are presented to point us in the direction of our highest good, our truth, and our path of greatest ease if we simply orient ourselves, and follow.
Everything we’ll experience is preparing us for everything we’ll experience. All the “stuff” – moments, places, people, objects – we classify as “good” and “bad” is meant to get us exactly where we are at the time we’re there. If we can remain connected to it, then residing in the frequency of neutrality where everything is a gift becomes increasingly effortless. And from there, we can do almost anything. An action movie told me so, no fewer than sixteen times.
Make that seventeen.
* 1) my initial thoughts when confronted by déjà vu will forever include the word “glitch”. 2) The always surprising, always enjoyable physical response I have to certain Marilyn Manson songs. 3) My twenty-something birthday party, that organically became Matrix-themed because my tribe is the business and because my city is an oft-magical place wherein someone who loves you will encounter an actor from the movie whilst in possession of your birthday card and have them sign it. 4) How my personal vernacular is seasoned by it; 4a) as I typed the previous part of this sentence, my brain heard the words “by it” in Agent Smith’s cadence. I’m saying: formative.
What art helped make you? Let us know in the comments!