Jurassic Park was on TV over the weekend, and this movie always makes me think one thing: my hot pink hat.
Well, that and Velociraptors.
I was about to go into third grade when this movie came to theaters. Needless to say, giant dinosaurs ruthlessly tearing people to shreds somewhat frightened me. Even though I knew the movie wasn’t actually real, I was convinced T-Rex was going to rip through my ceiling to eat me or that there would be a Velociraptor waiting for me around every corner. Every single time I saw a cup of water on a table, I waited for the moment to see the water move, announcing that the forceful steps on the T-Rex were nearing.
My mom’s best friend had taken my sister and me to see the movie. My sister had just finished kindergarten, so I don’t know if it was really a good idea to take her to this one, but times were different in the 90s. Maybe it toughened her up. My mom’s friend Julie frequently got my sister and me cute matching presents, and so we were both wearing some bedazzled hats she crafted especially for us. My sister’s was purple, and mine was a bright pink. I can’t accurately describe how cool they made us look, but just know that they were so great that we obviously had to wear them to the movie theater.
We had no idea how valuable they would be that day.
Julie realized pretty quickly into the movie that there were some parts that probably weren’t so ideal for two little girls to see. She made use of those hats by using them to cover our eyes on the parts she thought would scare us most. I kept trying to sneak peeks just to try to be brave, but in all honesty I was pretty grateful she was shielding my eyes from some of it. After all, this movie was a lot more intense than The Land Before Time.
When Jurassic Park came on over the weekend, I was a bit nervous watching it without my pink hat. You definitely notice things when you watch movies or television shows as an adult that you somehow missed when you were a kid. Like a shirtless Jeff Goldblum lying in a model-like pose when they’re back at the base and discussing their next steps. Or just how close T-Rex came to killing the kids in the Jeep. Or how easily unimportant characters die.
There are moments in life when I wish I had a hat to cover my eyes and protect me from reality—the crimes, the hatred, the apathy people have toward other people’s lives and emotions. I often want to be shielded from even the smaller things—the heartbreak, the rejection, the missed opportunities. Let’s face it: life is challenging, and it can be pretty scary at times. But, unlike a little kid in a dark movie theater, we can’t always cover our eyes to make it all go away. It’s real, and it’s still there.
Somewhere down the road, I stopped living in fear of dinosaurs appearing out of nowhere to kill me. I realized that it makes no sense to live life in fear, because that means you’re not fully living. If a Velociraptor shows up in your life, you’re simply going to have to react in the moment, but you can’t fret about whether or not it’s actually going to happen. I can picture the young girl in Jurassic Park and the look of fear that lived in her eyes for most of the movie. I don’t want that.
One thing I didn’t know back in my dinosaur-fearing days is that I never round any corner alone—I always have Someone who is more powerful than T-Rex and a Velociraptor combined. And that’s pretty comforting.
It’s actually better than any hot pink hat I’ll ever have.
And that’s saying a lot.