Survival. It’s one of the many things in life that creates a bond between large groups of people who have nothing in common.

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Like cancer.

Before I was hit with the cancer stick, I had an intense obsession with disaster movies. (Feel free to recommend a made-for-t.v. disaster movie, but chances are that I have seen it.) It wasn’t until my most recent Netflix disaster movie binge fest that something hit me – disaster movies and cancer support groups offer a similar bonding atmosphere, though support groups have fewer tornadoes.

When you’re stuck in a disaster, no matter who you’re with – be it a sworn enemy or an ex-lover –  you feel this instant overwhelming bond with the other person. They understand what you’re going through, and how your mind is racing from one extreme to the next. Someone on the outside, beyond where the disaster is taking place, can only watch what is happening – they can’t experience it. They can’t feel the same bond as the group surrounded by zombies.

When you’re in treatment, when you hear those three awful words, no one can begin to imagine what you’re feeling besides the people who have gone through it. They’ve been there, they actually know how much it sucks. They too were stranded on Cancer Island and left to fend for themselves. Unfortunately, you both were left behind in this disaster and now you have this shitty shared experience.

But Courtney, you say – this isn’t just a cancer thing! Oh I know, friend. This shared bond applies to a multitude of crappy situations. You were teased in high school – so in college, you bonded with other kids who were teased in high school. Think of every support group you’ve been to, or heard of, or seen represented in the media – they create the same bond that characters going through a disaster movie have.

I know it sounds silly, but my obsession makes sense now. I’ve seen some stuff in my day, and because of it I seek out people who can understand what I’ve gone through and really get on my level. Regardless of how close we are, we have this intense bond because of something we shared. Watching disaster movies reminds us of that. It reminds us of these shared experiences with people we might have waved off before ever considering them friendship material. It reminds us that sometimes you need to befriend someone outside of your comfort zone to help you escape a shark infested tornado city. It makes you more aware of just how selective you’ve become – how many people you miss out on by judging them before they have a chance to even say “hi.”

That’s why I love disaster movies (and why you should too) – even though 90% of them are crap and mostly advertisements, they teach us to look outside our normal group of friends, hold the ones we love a little closer, and that Dwayne (The Rock)Johnson will always find a way to save us.

My Obsession for Disaster Movies Now Makes Sense

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