Before Sunset ★★★★

the context i have for this series mostly lies in my last relationship - my ex was a big fan of it, and in fact, the last gift i ever gave him was a box set of the criterions.

there is an allure to getting to know someone that feels dangerous. the process can be addictive and it's too easy to turn people into ideas. some people learn about others just to prove they can have the knowledge, but in reality the goal is to build. intimacy is not the finish line, but a tool to create a connection. it can't just be for you, it also has to be for them. Jesse juxtaposes romantic love and commitment, as if the former could ever be possible without the latter. using someone's trust with no intention to serve them causes only harm.

and when relationships end, it's similarly too easy to tell yourself "well, they were a lesson learned." maybe, yeah, but more than that, they were a person. and they continue to exist when you go, with all the pain that being a person entails.

a friend of mine and i were talking about how strange it is that a person can be so engrained in your life and then, one day, never be seen again. Celine talks about this too, about how she never fully heals when something ends because she always carries people with her. in the year since i handed off those three criterions, i have had more memories stick with me than i predicted - partners who made clear my value before sending me on my way, confidantes who revealed themselves to be untrustworthy, friends who sought opportunities to care for me and friends who didn't. but the memory i think about most is when my mother sat me down and told me "celia - i need you to come to terms with the fact that there will always be men who want to know you, and you should not necessarily think that is a gift." she was right.

the gift is to be known, while being able to know someone in return. it's the decisiveness that mutual process requires. it's not enough to hold someone's soul in your hands - you must build a bridge between yours and theirs for any of this to mean anything. i don't agree with Jesse. i think the most romantic thing a person can do is commit. to be chosen is to be loved.

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