I remember the first time I saw IT, the original, and it terrified me! When I was a kid, I shared a room with my little brother, and I remember waking him up in the middle of the night so he could make sure I came back from the bathroom alive. I am not one for scary movies. I hate scary movies, but I knew I had to see the updated version of Stephen King’s IT. As I walked into the film, I was prepared to have nightmares for the coming weeks. Yes, here I am, a grown man having anxiety about the nightmares I was about to encounter as I came face-to-face with a childhood monster…What the hell was I thinking!?
The movie was FANTASTIC! From the casting of actors to the great storyline, and even the parts that scared me, I loved every minute of it! But, probably not for the reasons you would think. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, heads up: Here comes a SPOILER ALERT!!!
Sitting in the theater, I realized that IT is about one thing– confronting your fears. I quickly started to make connections and wanted to share my insights with you. I challenge and encourage you to look at your fears and take them on, even if they’ve lived inside of you since childhood.
Many times we look at “fear” in the form of something that is “scary, ” but it’s much more complicated than that. Fear runs deeper than the bogeyman or a clown by the name of Penny Wise. The movie does an excellent job at not only showcasing events that can cause lifelong fears but also showing how to take on what terrifies us.
The movie follows a group of nerdy high school kids all of which must encounter their demons. Their fears include parental abuse (both physical and emotional); death of a sibling; being the “fat kid” and always being bullied, just to name a few. The storyline also goes into deeper issues that are mentioned in the book when it comes to sexual abuse, being neglected, being a minority, a sudden death of a parent or both parents. These events don’t just occur in childhood, though the movie chooses that platform, these can be things like divorce, a breakup, being cheated on, being fired from a job, failing a test and so on. There are so many things that can manifest fear that it doesn’t always have to be a catastrophic event. Yes, these are specific examples, but the FEAR lies in the emotional outcome of these events. Experiences like these can cause pain, anger, sadness, depression, anxiety, and addiction. These fears can lead to toxic relationships, self-hate, self-harm, health problems, lack of motivation, feeling lost or overwhelmed. These are all forms of FEAR that can manifest for a variety of reasons. Events that happen in childhood can dramatically alter the course of one’s life and can continue to plague a person into adulthood forcing them to stay stuck in unhealthy patterns.
As the movie went on, I could see how these fears began to manifest into the kids. This is where things started to unfold for me. I could see the kids becoming more and more scared, they started fighting, becoming jealous, and even angry! They wanted to do everything in their power to AVOID their fears. The paradox is that to overcome fear; one must go DIRECTLY TOWARD it. One must look at IT face-to-face and take on the things that are utterly terrifying. You can’t do it alone, though, because doing that can lead to dire results — even death. Fears can manifest into physical illness (proven by science) that can LITERALLY kill you, but also kill you emotionally, physically, and spiritually. The kids realize that they cannot do it alone. They understand that it takes all of them together, willing to be vulnerable about their fears. They decide to trust one another with their fears and know that if they help one another COMMIT to FACE their fears, they will come out on the other side ALIVE!
In the final scenes of the movie, the kids end up in a forgotten sewer, and as they look up, they see all the kids that have died or have gone missing. This is a metaphor for the kids being stuck, which symbolizes dying and having never moved past their fears.
I left the movie not scared, but INSPIRED (no nightmares for me)! I hope that as you read this, you can
take a look at your life and see what fears have killed you or are keeping you stuck. Please understand that you can’t run from your fears; you can’t bury them and you can’t pretend they don’t exist. If you try to, they will kill you and others around you. Yes, facing these fears is terrifying. You might even have to dive into the “sewers” to find and face these fears. It will be scary; it will require you to ask for help and be open to receiving help. If you can step back and tap into your innate courage and defeat your fears, then you will feel ALIVE and begin to move forward in your life in more ways than you thought possible.