.by far the best documentary I’ve ever seen – perfect for everone to watch, happy international women’s day.
“Right down next to where we hurt the most is our medicine.
Vulnerability is the key to healing. ”
Just came across The work which is a documentary set inside a single room in Folsom Prison, where we get to follow three men from outside as they participate in a four-day group therapy retreat with level-four convicts. Over the four days, each man in the room takes his turn at delving deep into his past. The raw and revealing process that the incarcerated men undertake is ripping them out of their comfort zones and forcing them to see themselves and the prisoners in unexpected ways.
It’s by far the most powerful documentary I’ve ever seen. Not only did I painfully sympathise with each and every man but it also really opened up my eyes for the massive problem we have in the world where men aren’t allowed to be vulnerable.
In the beginning of the documentary we get to see a grown man cry, it’s no ordinary cry; this is a full-body sob; a keening wail bottled up for literally years; the desperate, feral cry of someone in unimaginable pain. He wants to feel what it’s like to mourn for his sister. “Take me with you,” says one of the man’s colleagues when he bites his lip, trying not to surrender to the tears. “I’m not going anywhere.” And so they come, in floods. Watching this scene is a visceral experience. Some moments are unbearable to watch; I felt his pain so deeply and it was so hard to watch, yet so beautiful to see him finally get in touch with his real emotions.
At Folsom state prison, a medium security institution in California, inmates and members of the public come together twice a year for an intensive four-day group therapy session. Bartenders, museum associates and teaching assistants sit with former members of gangs and cults, and scary-looking guys who used to belong to the Aryan Brotherhood. All must leave their preconceptions at the door to deal with daddy issues, addiction, grief, depression and suicidal thoughts. The breakthroughs come in waves; there’s no third-act climax or big reveal, just a steady stream of broken people struggling to summon the strength to put themselves back together. “Right down next to where we hurt the most is our medicine,” says one of the group’s facilitators, explaining that vulnerability is the key to healing. Sceptics may enter Folsom with suspicion, but these are extraordinary scenes, so shocking and dynamic they might be mistaken for exorcisms. Whether you buy into the techniques on display or not, it’s a privilege to witness these men take themselves, and one another, “over the edge”.
Men aren’t allowed to be vulnerable, to cry, to feel pain to ask for help. They need to be unbreakable, stabile, protecting and strong. That’s impossible, regardless if your a man or a woman, it’s not human. We are build with emotions and we need to let them out. When we don’t we create a demon inside of us, a demon that will hurt ourself and the people around us, a demon that regardless you want to or not will find it’s way out. And for many men it leads to addiction, suicide, mental abuse, physical abuse, crime, murder… To listen to someone who killed another human get to the bottom with that all he wanted as a little boy and his entire life was to be loved by his father, be accepted and seen by his own father. He neglected his mothers love cause he so desperately seeked his dads confirmation and love. He sacrificed everything for him and got nothing back. What he got was a lifetime in prison. If that little boy would’ve got unconditional love from his father, his life would most likely look completely different.
Or the guy that never hurt anyone physically, but he never had a well working relationship and always hurt the people closest to him – he lived his entire life feeling like he’s never good enough. That he has to constantly prove himself to the world. That in his mind he has to be “a freaking prince”, who can’t be told what to do or get any form or criticism, is never in the wrong and all problems lies with everyone else, a “perfect man who has everything figured out” but who breaks down completely as he starts to face his own demon. It’s like an animal inside of him, that’s what he says! And it also sounds like an animal trying to break out of him, it’s truly overwhelming to watch. It shows exactly how strong our mind is. People that don’t want to understand that should all watch this documentary. Every man should watch this documentary.
I know most of us know these men, they are all around us. I’ve seen it almost end the life of men in my family and can see it consume men around me. Maybe it would be easier sometimes if we didn’t understand why people behave like they do, that it would be easier to call someone an asshole and move on. Being able to empathise with people and see why they are the way they are is beautiful but also painful. Cause no matter how much we care and want to help it doesn’t work that way. We can’t help people who doesn’t want to change.
Having a true need and will of helping people selfishly is a gift to value. But facing the truth that you can’t help everyone is extremely hard. You can tell him what he probably should do but it’ll never work if he doesn’t want it himself, he needs to let out his own demon and go to the bottom of that dark water, right down next to where he hurts the most, at the bottom, is his medicine. Trying to make someone see what they don’t want to see will only hurt you.
Even though it’s hard and it hurts, we have to step away when it starts to break or change us. Cause you can’t help anyone if you’re broken yourself. And it’s not your job to try to save people. I wish for all these men to reach a realization, reaching that bottom, finding that medicine and that they can heal. Only then can they live their life to it’s full potential and be truly happy.
Watch this documentary. It will change the way you look at things. Men need to cry, men need to be vulnerable and ask for help. Most men need to start open up and be vulnerable and we need to embrace that and sherish that for I believe that would change our society.