I love movies. There is nothing quite like that feeling of anticipation when the lights dim, you settle into your seat, and taste that first piece of delectable popcorn with "golden topping." (What is that stuff? Never mind, I'm quite sure I don't want to know.)
Over the years, I've related to various silver screen heroines. I went through my Juliet phase, my Scarlet O'Hara phase, my Sister Maria phase. As an adult, I understood why working woman Holly Hunter cried after her run each morning, why Sally fell for Harry, why Hannah felt taken for granted by her sisters.
But these days, the movie in which I most clearly see myself is a tremendously gory low-budget horror film from 1981. It's David Cronenberg's Scanners. And there's one infamous scene in particular that reminds me of ... well ... me. I'm not going to link to it (because it truly is disgusting), but if you're curious, you can Google "exploding head scanners." Just don't say I didn't warn you.
In Cronenberg's cult classic, scanners are people with superhuman telekinetic powers: they can read others' minds and make things happen through their own thoughts and concentration. A renegade scanner who is participating in a "harmless" demonstration decides to show off, focuses on another scanner's cranium and KABOOM! there is blood and guts and brains everywhere. The effect was created with raw beef livers and a shotgun. Not for the weak of heart (or the recent of lunch).
Despite the spectacular 1980s special effects, there is something basic and human and motherly about the scene. You see, I often feel as if my own temples are about to burst. In fact, this exceptionally unpleasant sensation happens almost daily. And, the movie's tagline pretty much says it all ...
10 Seconds: The Pain Begins.
15 Seconds: You Can't Breathe.
20 Seconds: You Explode.
Here are some, but not all, of the reasons this particular mom fears for her head:
When I have to repeat — for the hundredth time — that a certain someone can't go on Facebook until her homework is done.
When it's below freezing and that same young person refuses to wear a hat or a scarf or a pair of gloves, even though she has several of each of these apparently unnecessary accessories.
When there are dirty dishes in the aforementioned offspring's bedroom, in the bathroom, in the living room, the TV room, in pretty much every room in the house ... except the kitchen.
When there is a complete and utter disregard for rules despite the fact that said rules have been in place for years and have not changed one iota in all that time.
When I've had a particularly gruesome day at work only to learn that there is a humongous social studies project due the next day that will require all hands on deck, not to mention supplies we don't happen to have.
When I learn, through a strategic series of questions, that the social studies project in question was assigned not today, not yesterday, not even last week, but A FULL MONTH AGO!!!!!!!!
Until today, I thought that the perceived combustion of my brain was simply a manifestation, a symptom of a greater disease state known as mother-of-a-tween-itis. But, some quick web research has shown that "Exploding Head Syndrome" is an actual parasomnia disorder in which the patient is awakened by a fantastically loud noise inside his or her head. How horrible! Although these EHS episodes do not include physical pain, they do lead to anxiety and understandable difficulty sleeping.
The cause is unknown, but EHS appears to be connected to stress and extreme fatigue. Oh, and more women suffer from it than men.
Yep, that sounds about right.