I was rewatching Tim Burton movies this holiday; I’m a bit of a Grinch, and I fell in love with them all over again. My favourite is The Corpse Bride. For those of you who haven’t watched it, the synopsis is as follows. A young man accidentally proposes to a corpse bride while trying to practise his vows. Incidentally, he is already betrothed to another, creating a love triangle of the ages.
There is one scene in particular that struck a chord with me. The Corpse Bride makes it her mission to trap and keep her groom, knowing full well he is already betrothed and alive. This made me think of our concept of happily ever after or triumph. Hollywood in all it’s glamour has severely distorted our view of happiness; we expect that all our endeavours will be smooth sailing, easy and perpetually joyous. Sadly, that is not the case. Also, there is a perception that happiness can only be gained at the expense of others, as if it’s in short supply and there isn’t enough for everyone.
The Corpse Bride finally has her groom at the altar and he has willingly said his vows. She is about to effectively end his life and any prospects of his reunion with his true love, when out of the corner of her eye, she catches full sight of her contender. Looking into the eyes of her groom’s true love, she has an epiphany; although her dreams were dashed, she cannot hope to have peace by destroying the hopes of another.
So she stops, but how often do we? Granted, the world is capitalist in nature and a wild jungle where the strongest survive but the weak die. It is sad to note that even though this is the status quo, we maliciously malign others in order to get ahead.
Mjolo is a prime example. If he or she is taken, it is our life’s mission to get them for ourselves. Once the conquest is won, we discard them like an old toy and seek a new thrill. Let it be said y’all are grown adults, do you, but some of this is really messed up.
In work environments, we debased our colleagues in order to shine brighter. Instead of actively building our repertoire into a track record of achievement, we detail the roads of others. This may be how the world works, but it doesn’t have to be how your world works.
In the last moments of Corpse Bride, our deceased bride chooses peace and flits off into eternity as a wave of butterflies. I loved this because peace, above all else, is priceless. A man who lives by the sword dies by the sword, namely if you have attained your happiness on the strength of the tears of others, you will suffer a similar fate. It’s karma, the law of balance and unfortunately it cannot be denied.
Let your joy come not from external sources, but from within. When you are aligned to who you are, who you would like to be and the values you will not compromise on, you will find that your external environment will reflect this. You will not always get the guy or girl, you will not always get the promotion you’ve worked for but you can have peace. In an age of turmoil and constant upheaval, I’d say that’s a win!
Should you get a chance, do watch The Corpse Bride; it’s caustic British humor and my kind of party!