Sunday, July 17, 2011

On The Move and Flying High

Jump off a mountain.

Gerry is on the move and flying high again.  The flying high, in this case, is a paraglide jump off the Matterhorn in Switzerland, complete with initial butterflies and then general whoops of pleasure and excitement at the ride. The little kid in him reminds me so much of another little kid I've loved (and was married to) and when I see him like this, I find my internal smile matching the one on my face.  I can't help the sentiment, not because he is supposedly a stud or a big movie star or a world traveler or any of the things that others look at him and see...but because I see the little kid in all of us, curious and going for all the thrills in life and not holding back on the response.

Gerry is a strange bird, but I can't for the life of me understand why people don't get him.  He's recently started smoking again and made an off handed comment that the stress made him do it.  Of course it did.  Anyone who has been a smoker (I have not) or has lived with one with the same temperament knows how it is.  "That temperament" is the operative word here.   One may not condone or sanction it, but perhaps one understands a little how the monkey on his back works...the seductress that lures you back to safety (or danger) in times of emotional stress.

Now what has Gerard Butler got to be stressed about?   Well, I can automatically see one very obvious thing that no one talks about...and that is the fact that he hasn't got many projects lined up (at least on paper).  Now whether that is due to his own personal choices or the fact that there are too many actors vying for the same roles and that perhaps he is not being offered them or not winning them, it is,  either way, a very big worry for a man who makes his living acting.  The fact that he (or Alan) is chasing promotional deals such as L'Oreal, etc. for him is very smart.  It keeps the money rolling in over the bumps in his career and keeps his face out there in a way they want it seen by the world.  And there are bumps.  Particularly for someone who doesn't want to be stuck being the action guy and all the aches and pains that come from stunts and training if that is the genre you are stuck in.  He has said he cannot go through the kind of training he did for 300 again.  It is one role he is being pursued for.  Wouldn't that be a stressor, choosing between your career and your health?

I think Gerry aspires to something more.  I think he knows his body can't take the punishment.  He is trying balance and balance comes hard to a "live wire" like he is...but he really does push to do it, and I admire that.  Balance is important.  In everything.  People think he just plays at it, but I am not one of those.  I think he really knows he needs it and goes after it.  Whether he is always successful is another matter.

I think the second thing that MIGHT be bothering him (it would bother me, so that is why I mention it), is that the movies he does have in the can, he is nervous about the expectations that have been put out there.  I think this is especially true of Machine Gun Preacher.  It has been said that he may have given an award worthy performance in this role and that is the reason it is being released in time for award consideration.  This  was originally put out there by a blogger.  Whether true or not (and it probably is), I have heard there are very good performances in this movie, other than his own.  Could those other performances be the partial reason for the director wanting the movie released for consideration?

Too high an expectation for the guy who did The Bounty Hunter?

Loving surfing?
To my way of thinking, it is always better to be surprised then to go in having too high an expectation and too many of his eager fans have taken up the clarion call without seeing the movie.  Perhaps that is adding to the pressure cooker he may find himself in?

He needs for his next few movies to do well so that he will be considered for the roles he wants to do.  In typically Gerry fashion, he is out there prepping for Mavericks so that he will look authentic on the surf board.  Hopefully he is enjoying the sport and having fun doing it for its own sake.  I'm not sure why he is being criticized for that fun by those who can never find anything redeeming in anything he does.

Now,  understanding why he is smoking again doesn't mean I think it's a good idea.  On the contrary! But I am not going to sit here and rag on him.  Well, only a little,  then.  He has made a choice to smoke.   He has to make another choice to quit again.

I've seen the result of that addiction first hand and suffered along with the person going through it.  It's not pretty.  It is a killer of many things....not only of the body it eventually destroys, but of passion and spontaneity, of the toll your choice takes on your relationships in the "he knows I hate it but he doesn't love me or care enough about how it affects our intimacy to stop" kind of thing.

When my husband got his diagnosis, it came as a complete shock to him.   Gastric-esophageal cancer hiding (and by that time too far along) in a hiatus hernia.   His lungs were fine, but that constant drip of poison had relaxed and worn the ring that separates stomach from esophagus and had been causing constant reflux.   He joined my next door neighbor, who had been diagnosed with primary liver cancer (directly related to smoking done many years before), in the fraternal order of cancer victims.  Which of them was going to succumb first?

That is where some choices lead.  How they both wished they had made different choices.  They were still in their prime...barely 50 and 53 respectively, ...both tall, slim and lovely still.  And quickly prematurely old and too quickly dead.

I had stopped the nagging the last time he started again, but had warned if he got cancer related to his smoking I would not take care of him.  But of course I did.  He stopped smoking for the final time ... too late and such a fucking waste!   His guilt and lament in leaving me and our "just out of college" daughter, was palpable and weighed heavily on him.  He worried so much about the portion of her that was so like him and thankful for the part that was like me.  When I see her stressed and struggling with things a lot like he did, I thank God she never smoked and has no desire to.

Thanks to his smoking, the stressed little boy with the self destructive bent had finally killed the man who was trying to live up to the world's expectations of what a man should be and who kept trying to find the joy in it all.

When I see someone like Gerry going through some of the same things, I feel sad and know there is not a damned thing to be done about it...not even by the people he loves or who love him.   It is a choice he makes and we live and we die by our choices.

I hope he has much success with Coriolanus, Machine Gun Preacher, Playing the Field and the others, and that he gets the things he wants out of life.  I hope they are enough to make him realize that he doesn't need a crutch to get him through and that turning to the smokes will only drive people who might love him away, rather than bring them closer.  Some smokers never get that... They are too intent on that next nicotine hit and that becomes all that matters.

I'll close with my usual bit of advise.   "Keep flying high baby, but try doing it without the smokes!  That crutch will eventually kill you and that would make a lot of people very sad indeed."

Those are also my last words on the matter.  I am not his conscience, nor his parent.  I just happen to have a soft spot somewhere in me for confused little boys who live in their heads and are trying to get down into their bodies in whatever way they can.

Having said that, it just occurred to me that that perhaps explains a lot about his love life and his physical fixations?

Now I'm smiling and shaking my head.  That darned catch 22 again!

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Just a short note to again state that these are my speculative thoughts and not to be taken as gospel regarding anything Gerry might really be going through.  


  1. I've been reading your blog on Gerry for a while, but this particular entry really touched my heart. Being married to a smoker myself whose father died of lung cancer, it is hard to understand how the habit continues, yet at the same time I understand it too well. Your insight into Gerry's character is refreshing. I really appreciate what you do here. Thanks. Steph

  2. Thank you for your feedback. I sincerely wish he and others like him so much luck in kicking the habit. Perhaps we need to send them good energy and affection instead of condemnation.

    Part of woman's role in life is to hold up the lamp to men so they can see themselves more clearly. If we do it with love instead of anger and nagging, perhaps they will strive harder to live up to their own best instinct and potential.