Escapism. It Helps.
This was originally posted on the blog, Televised Lady Bits.
Hi. My name is Shannon and I own a blog that analyzes and critiques the media I consume from a multi-marginalized lens. You may not know that based on my unintentionally long absence from posting here and to THAT, I say: okay, fair.
During my time away I have been co-hosting a podcast called Nerds of Prey, a show that simultaneously celebrates and critiques aspects of nerd culture from the perspectives of four Black women. Now, that might be news to some – and we’re still a bit new so, again, fair – but I’m hoping that’ll change as we continue share our voices with anyone who will listen.
I say all that to remind those who may not know me well that I have never been one to shy away from thinking critically about the media I love (or, in a few cases this television season, used to love…but that’s for another post). It’s a crucial element of consumerism and fandom. Our support pilots these endeavors, so we as an audience need to be vocal not just when we’re thoroughly enjoying something, but also when media falls short.
It’s also important to remember that we are people. And as a person – a Black woman, to be more specific – I am fucking hurting. Deeply.
I’m angry. I’m in consistent and sustained mourning. My mental health is nowhere near its best. I’m constantly fearful that police overreach will strip me of my husband, my mother, my father, my brother or anyone that I hold dear. I worry that my friends won’t be able to have a drink or just exist in an LGBTQIA space in peace without constantly looking over their shoulder. I worry that, despite our cries and demands for change, the world I live in simply doesn’t want me here. I’d love to say that all that ends when I rest at night, but I’m writing this on a solid three hours of sleep, which is becoming increasingly more common. I can’t sleep. I’m enraged and I’m tired and my eating patterns fluctuate by the hour and I have openly sobbed, in private and in public, more in the past month than I have my entire life. To the Publix employee who recently had to witness that: I ain’t sorry.
In moments like these I am so, so grateful for any acts of escapism. I’m thankful for the art I love, even that which is problematic (except for you, Orange is the New Black. Oh no, my rage against you has only been bolstered). I’m even comforted by the shows I’ve broken up with this year. When my family is sleeping and the night is still, I’m glad that I can find some escape in a glowing television screen and pretty images. Is there a tiny voice in the back of my mind that still reminds me that what I’m watching could do better by me and the characters I care about? Absolutely. Thankfully, she’s never silent.
Still, it’s a blessing to be able to shut my brain off and just watch, to suspend belief and reality long enough to just be entertained, if only for a little while.
And believe me, I’m not saying you can’t do both. A lot of us tend to forget that we as humans can process multiple happenings at once, which allows us to speak on and be angry/concerned about a few things simultaneously. It’s not strange to be upset about Alton Sterling and Philando Castile while expressing concerns over the absence of Black female writers at Marvel Comics. Honestly, I wonder if the people who say “how can you talk about this thing over here when other, MORE IMPORTANT things are occurring” possess the ability to blink and chew gum at the same time.
But when you feel depleted and have nothing more to say aside from “everything is trash,” it’s okay to just…opt out for a bit. So that’s what I’m doing. And I support anyone else who needs to do the same. Self care is a very unique and personal thing and this falls in line with mine. I’ll definitely return to the days of calling creators to the carpet for shitty, systemic behavior. Soon.
For right now, though, please pass me the wine and sit with me for a while. I’ll get back to work right after this next episode.