Saturday, 15 August 2015

If Pixar's Inside-Out emotions were behind the decision to leave your country

Since I saw the movie Inside Out, I wanted to write something about it, but I didn't want it to be a review. So, today I'll focus on the "inside" part of things... Pixar's emotional head office, which despite not being 100% accurate, gave a very understandable and entertaining look at how emotions can drive the process of decision-making.

In the movie, we were introduced to anthropomorphic depictions of Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear and Anger. All working together inside Riley's head, driving her like the Power Rangers drove their big robot. And during short moments in the film, we got to see other people's emotional team in action (Riley's parents being the funniest).  

So, let's pretend that everyone has a colour coded small council of emotions controlling their minds... How would this team deal with the decision to emigrate? 

Note that there are countless reasons and circumstances for leaving your country, but I'll focus on mine, and on the ones closest to myself. Here's some quick context: As the decade advanced, life became harder and riskier in Caracas, Venezuela, therefore, thousands of people who were considering it, finally made the choice of moving abroad. 

At first you try to find reasons to stay...

JOY: Come on guys, it's not that bad! In here it's always summer and you get to see your family any time you like. 
FEAR: And if we go, we'll have to start again... no friends, no money. Do you know how difficult it will be to find a job in your field? We are probably going to end up cleaning toilets.
DISGUST: EWWWWWW! That's gross. Definitely not. Let's stay in our nice, tidy and clean office.
JOY: That's the spirit! I guess... 

But then you find out more and more people you love are leaving...

SADNESS: Everyone's going... we'll be all alone in no time.
ANGER: AAAAHHHH! Those traitors... 
JOY: It's their journey, let's be happy for them instead, they're following their dreams! And who knows? Maybe one day we can go and visit them and have the best holiday ever.
SADNESS: All these airport selfies and good bye parties are breaking my heart.
DISGUST: And they are now posting a bunch of dumb opinions on Facebook about what's happening here.
ANGER: MORONS... They left! They have no right to complain! Let's give them a piece of our mind...
FEAR: Better not... they're out, but we're still here... what if someone reads this opinion and gets us in trouble? It can cost us our job! We better be quiet and say nothing guys, say nothing.

And you start questioning your plans...

ANGER: Did you read the news today?
JOY: Which part?
ANGER: EVERYTHING! It's mayhem. Aaaaahhhhhh! I'll just throw the paper against the wall and jump on it repeatedly.
SADNESS: I read them, we're doomed... What's the point of working so hard?
FEAR: We gotta get out of here as soon as possible. Let's buy a plane ticket, now, quit our job, no time for planing.
JOY: No guys, relax, we'll be OK. Things always get worse before they get better. We just have to keep doing our thing and be more careful.
DISGUST: If I have to do one more supermarket queue I'm going to throw up. I'm so sick of it all.

Until you have a heart changing experience. Very commonly, you get mugged at gun point, a relative (or yourself) is kidnaped, or sadly, and even worse, someone you know gets seriously injured or even killed. Sometimes you simply get overwhelmed by these things happening to people around you.

JOY: Ok, we were mugged, but at least we are still alive! They only took our stuff, we'll get over it.
ANGER: No, it's not fair. We worked so hard to buy all that, and they just come and take it, with no consequence. I'M DONE!
FEAR: What if next time they shoot us? Let's not leave the house, ever.
DISGUST: I can't believe I can't even go out with friends in the middle of the day. This sucks.
SADNESS: Well, even if we could, they're all gone now.
JOY: That's not true, not all of them... And again, the important thing is that we're fine. Remember how lucky we were.
FEAR: This time.

And a new train of thought departs...
Maybe this is it... Maybe it's my time to emigrate
So again, you try to see the glass half full...

JOY: It will be great! We'll travel, we'll learn and we'll have the opportunity of a better life! Best decision ever.
FEAR: I don't know.... I'm starting to have second thoughts. What if we sell everything, quit our job and then fail and have nothing to go back to?
JOY: Don't be silly! We are smart and hard working, we'll find something to do, just be humble and don't get too picky, at least in the beginning.

But it's not easy...

DISGUST: I see where you're going and I already told you I'm not cleaning toilets.
ANGER: IT'S SO FREAKING UNFAIR! I didn't spend 5 years in college to end up moping floors, bathing old guys or washing dishes.
DISGUST: Is that a real job? I'm not bathing anyone but myself.
SADNESS: I want to cry... We'll miss our family so badly... It will be too painful. Let's reconsider.
JOY: What happened to you guys? We wanted this, let's make it happen! We just need a plan. And besides, doing that for a few months doesn't mean we'll do it for the rest of our lives. We might even be lucky enough to find a nice job you know? It happens. I think.
SADNESS: No one gives the nice jobs to foreigners fresh off the boat.
JOY: Then we'll do what we have to and gain some experience. Volunteering is always an option!

And you eventualy have a breakdown...

SADNESS: Why is this happening? Staying is awful, leaving is awful, life is just so sad and difficult.
ANGER: And you see the ones to blame on their shiny new cars drinking Champagne while the people suffer from milk shortage and families get hurt by criminals routinely. I HATE IT! I hate it SO MUCH! I hate this, HATE THIS, hate it.
FEAR: Shh... don't said that out loud, you don't know who's listening.
ANGER: SO WHAT?, I've had it! If they hadn't destroyed the country, we wouldn't be having this problem. Our lives would be happy and normal.
DISGUST: I suggest we post an eight pages long complaint on Facebook.
FEAR:  Are you guys insane? 
SADNESS: There's no point in doing that, or anything, at all. I'll just give up and keep doing my daily things like a zombie. Perhaps I should drink more and care less.

But deep down, you know that if you let that though get you, you're done

JOY: Don't you ever say that again! Remeber, we have a plan! We can do this!
FEAR: I'm afraid we can't aford it.
JOY: We'll get a loan, find an scholarship, sign up for a volunteering program... There's always a way, and people with less resources all around the world pull it off every day.
SADNESS: It's just too hard.
JOY: Then we'll work even harder. There's not point in hurting ourselves or in giving up without trying.
ANGER: We can't let them win, LET'S DO THIS!
FEAR: Yes, let's leave right now, don't ever look back.
JOY: Woah, hold it... Sure we will, but let's put our heart in the right place, we are doing this for us, not to prove a point, and we can't just leave everything and vanish, let's come up with a plan and do it well.

And while the time passes, you'll have your up and downs, your second thoughts and rants, but with lots of determination, optimism and effort, you'll find yourself taking that airport selfie and departing to a new life where you'll discover new things to fear, more injustices to get angry about, new memories that will make you sad and attitudes that will disgust you, as well as a lot of experiences that will bring you lots of joy

Some days you'll miss home, some days you'll say you're never coming back. But most of the time, just like Riley's memories in the film, you'll have mixed emotions, just be mindful of which one you decide to put in charge because that will shape your whole experience.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is so great, I want my students to create a script just like this one so they can understand the decision they take and how their emotions have a role in them. Thank you for the idea, I'm sure my students will love it.