This week in Geeks Vs Loneliness, we’ve invited director John Ogunmuyiwa to pen a piece for us. He’s put together a film called Wilson for the Random Acts series of shorts showing on CH4, that talks about expressing yourself honestly. John has channelled his feelings and thoughts into his work, and we’re delighted he’s taken up the invitation.
Over to you, John…
If no one says what they really think, what does ‘real’ really mean? It’s strange, right now fake news is the hot topic. In the game of buzzword bingo, truth, honesty, transparency and openness are the words on the tip of societies’ tongues. And as they should be, they need to be spoken about. But one part of that conversation that gets overlooked, is the bit where it meets individual expression on a day to day basis. Not the power of free speech but the power of free feeling. There’s a fundamental difference between what we say and what we feel. If a person is sobbing on the inside and smiling on the out, what’s weirder, holding it in or expressing themselves in full? Heaven forbid it happens in public.
Wilson is a film about being trapped behind fake words and the disconnect between our feelings and our surroundings. Our perception of reality will always be a little out of touch if we’re not honest with ourselves right?
There’s a lot of people I would like to thank but at the top of the list is my dad. Gotta have it in writing.
My father suffers from aphasia, which is an impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech. And my experience of this condition with how it affects speech has informed my perception of language and emotion. It always made me think how frustrating it must be to be trapped in your mind. All the things you could say but can’t. And that led to the thought that although we may be close to people physically, the reality is that our inability to speak freely or feel freely keeps us so very far at the same time. And this isn’t a case unique to only my dad, but it’s something unique to my how I see the world.
For my dad, not being able to speak freely is an unfortunate circumstance, so I now find it odd that there’s a similar social problem that we do intentionally. The masks we wear, the facades in which the feelings we present do not match the feelings in our heads. Some people can’t express themselves due to circumstance, but most us can and yet choose not to. It’s wonderfully strange, a proper dichotomy. Our society encourages emotional openness yet it’s actually out of the norm for someone to say how they really feel.
Sounds cliche but the hope for Wilson was to start a conversation, hold a mirror up to ourselves as a society. Black Mirror isn’t just on Netflix, we’re practically already there. Day to day we end up constantly repeating blanket statements that are so misleading about how we really feel. “Yeah I’m good” “…I’m alright”, “…It’s cool man”, “…I’m fine”, etc. Just to keep up with the Joneses.
But we don’t have to, it’s perfectly fine to not be happy or sad, could be just somewhere in the middle. We’re all people with a spectrum of emotions and we should feel empowered to express them in full. That’s where Wilson came from, part dad, part observation, part weird. It’s hard having to try and hold everything in for benefit of others, and it’s not fair. You deserve to be able to feel how you want, when you want. Next time someone asks you how are you? Be honest with yourself and see how you feel. I’m sure there’s a lot more to say than “…I’m Good”.
Thanks, as always, for reading. You all stay awesome.
Wilson is showing on Ch4 at midnight on 31st July as part of the Random Acts series of short films.