Lately, I’ve been revisiting Pixar classics I once watched as a kid (or when I was a few years younger) to see if I could come out with new realizations as an adult. I recently did one for ‘Up’ and why it’s okay when thing’s don’t go as planned. Now, I’ve taken a liking to ‘Inside Out’.
Unlike most audiences, I initially didn’t think much of Inside Out. 2015 was the time when I saw myself as a real adult at 22 (yawn, amirite?) and thus felt too mature to be entertained by the film’s all-too-colorful and kiddie-centric characters.
But as Pixar constantly proves, their works have a knack of kicking you in the feels, one way or another.
Inside Out follows 11-year-old Riley and her basic emotions – Anger, Fear, Disgust, Joy, and Sadness – with Joy being the de facto leader of the group. Sadness is treated like a leper, in the sense that Joy and Co. try to restrain what they perceive as a ‘negative’ emotion.
Due to her father’s job, Riley and her family move to San Francisco, where Riley has a tough time. Her new home sucks, her surroundings are unfamiliar, and she feels alienated at her school.
All of these led to Sadness instinctively transforming Riley’s memories into a dour one, leading to a breakdown in class. When Joy tries to dispose of the sad memories, chaos ensues, and she and Sadness are separated from the rest of the group – kickstarting the adventure.
During her time in Riley’s psyche, Joy comes across a sad memory, which turns into a happy one after Riley is comforted by her family and friends. Joy comes to a realization: Sadness is essential because she triggers others to empathize with Riley. By the end of the film, Joy and Sadness create new memories that are a mixture of both emotions.
Inside Out’s message was revolutionary for a film made for kids, and certainly, one that also applies to the 20 and 30-somethings: It’s okay to not be okay.
I think we often pressure ourselves to ‘keep it together’, whether it’s for practical reasons (‘everyone’s relying on me’), vanity (‘crying is for pussies’), or misconceptions about mental health (‘crying is for people who have “problems”‘).
The pressure is even bigger today, with all of the triggers and uncertainty brought by the lockdown. But I’m here to tell you that it’s alright to feel down. To feel vulnerable and open yourself up to others. To acknowledge that you might need help. Hell, I personally believe we should start normalizing having a good cry nowadays if it calls for it.
It could be an outlet for your grievances. A signal for others to help you out. Or simply a way to ease the burden off your chest. Taking some time to gather yourself isn’t – and shouldn’t be – a sign of weakness. It’s a sign that you are human.