The following two quotes from the movie, Shall We Dance? – not to each other and not from the same scene – are most memorable. (taken from IMDB)
Beverly Clark: We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.
The above is from the scene with Susan Sarandon’s character and the detective.
John Clark: The one thing I am proudest of in my whole life, is that you’re happy with me. If I couldn’t, if I couldn’t tell you that I was unhappy sometimes, is because I didn’t want to risk hurting the one person I treasure most. I’m so sorry.
Both quotes are great. They are wonderful words. But, John Clark, played by Richard Gere, said something else. I don’t remember the words verbatim. I think he said he was embarrassed to want to be happy? Or was it happier? I had turned my back on the TV and started reading so I didn’t catch the exact words. I’ll watch the movie again.
His words have me wondering on the wee hours of this Wednesday morning. (My posts, like this one, are mostly scheduled for 08:30.)
I don’t think that John’s feeling is exceptional or extraordinary. I actually think that there are many of us who feel a little or a lot embarrassed for wanting to be happy or happier. Why? Because we already have more than enough and so many people don’t have even a fraction of what we have. John has Beverly. They are witnesses to each other. Beverly IS happy. John should be satisfied. He should have been happy.
We should be happy. We should be content.
Is it greedy to want to be happier?
I feel guilty already because I want more. I want to be happier.
Guilty not charged
I don’t need to be charged to be guilty. I only need to be me – a Filipino raised in a strict Catholic home.
I say no to someone asking for a favor or help and I feel guilty.
I don’t read my WordPress Reader and guilt hangs around.
I indulge and I am drowning in guilt.
I am driving comfortably in my little Polo GT or the massive Porsche Cayenne behind a pick up with “passengers” at the back, sans a canopy, and it starts to drizzle. I feel so guilty that I end up in tears. Then, of course I get embarrassed because the strangers in front of me would probably be thinking that this spoiled brat (me) is crying over something stupid, in comparison to their situation.
I don’t even want to show how blessed I am. I don’t want to say I am fortunate.
Apart from guilt, I feel embarrassed, too.
Guilty and embarrassed
But why? I only have enough. I have nothing compared to what my ex-boss has. My ex-boss has nothing compared to what Bill Gates has. Yet, I feel guilty for wanting more. It doesn’t even have anything to do with me that there are many people in the world who have little or nothing.
For now, I will accept that my guilt is from Catholic upbringing.
Why the embarrassment? I honestly don’t know.
Should we be embarrassed for wanting more than what we already have? Is it wrong to want to be happier? I seriously don’t think so.
I’m still wondering. I am pondering.