There’s a pivotal scene deep into the film Trainwreck, where Amy’s boss gives her the corporate version of sympathy. It’s so brief that I lost it in laughter first time around and only picked it up on second viewing. Our heroine’s emotional crash may have begun (spoiler alert) with her father’s death, but she doesn’t go completely off the rails until boss Dianna hilariously tells her “Best way to grieve: don’t do it.”
Like Dianna, many people are so disconnected from their true emotions that they close down at the mere mention of the word grief. We turn away from uncomfortable feelings when we don’t know how to accept them. Grief isn’t “bad”. Grief is the natural pain one feels as the result of a loss. And, the primitive lizard part of our brains can perceive any change as loss – even a “good” change in our lives. The pain of grief tells us that something needs our attention, the same way pain tells us that we’ve broken a bone. Emotional pain is not our enemy, any more than are bleeding or swelling around a physical injury. Wounds need to be competently and compassionately addressed in order to assist the natural healing process; not feared, hated or ignored. The consequences of avoiding our own discomfort can include the redirecting of that discomfort toward others – as, for example, Dianna puts her energy into publishing articles on the “ugliest children of celebrities under age 6”.
Dear Amy, could we have a sequel please? But not one called Trainwreck II: Back on Track. Her character’s crash was the wakeup call that she was on the wrong track. Getting on and staying on an authentic track requires more than an apology and an adorable cheerleader routine. I’d love to see this character, in Schumer’s capable comedic hands, explore more genuine forms of mourning and forgiveness.