Reflections on healing trauma, writing, and books by Tokyo-based memoirist
 
It’s Time For Some Escapist Joy

It’s Time For Some Escapist Joy

I thought that writing here regularly would be difficult, but I found it pretty easy last week, even enjoyable. This weekend, I was in a better mood than I have been in years. Is it the daily writing practice? I don’t know. I even felt compelled to write in my paper journal more. I went to the stationery store and got a new notebook (my current one is nearly full), and a 2021 planner.

One of the lessons I learned in 2020 is that I’m a lot stronger than I think I am. Last year, when everything went sideways for most of the world, nothing much changed for me. All of the uncertainty, terror, heartache, and isolation that has brought so many people down in this past year is exactly what I’ve been experiencing for years. I went about it alone because I was ashamed that I couldn’t handle life better. Now, I see what I’ve overcome.

I meant for this entry to be light and escapist, so shall we proceed?

First, I finished reading the book Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Animatou Sow and Ann Friedman, and I loved it. This book acknowledges the importance of friendship and tries to address the fact that there’s almost no social support for keeping these relationships alive. There’s also a strong memoir component as they tell the story of their friendship.

Two of my favorite quotes from this book:

“If you’re going to take a sad save-the-relationship vacay, we highly recommend a hot-springs spa. You can’t exfoliate the defensive layers around your cold, cold heart, but your outer epidermis will be so soft.”

and

“It’s hard to rationalize away a friend breakup. You can’t blame a fizzled-out sex life or an attraction to a new partner. There’s not even the classic half-hearted consolation of ‘We can still be friends’ to fall back on.”

By the way, I linked my Goodreads in my left sidebar for easy reference because I so often mention what I’ve read recently.

Second, we watched the Netflix show Bridgerton over the weekend. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. After the first episode, I thought, “eh, it’s ok.” After the second episode, I was entirely hooked. Its alternative history, where there is a black queen on the English throne. Women are still legal property, but that idea is challenged by several characters. However, even in a world where there are black aristocrats and men who occasionally listen to women, the fat girl is still treated like shit. While this goes unacknowledged by the characters, it doesn’t go unacknowledged by the show itself. And, that’s about as deep as it gets. It’s 98% escapist fun.

Third. After having been inspired by Big Friendship, I connected with a friend over Zoom on Saturday night and had so much fun. Lately, I’ve been better at letting the heavy stuff go. Every relationship I have is fraught with fear, shame, and hurt because I am so good at catastrophizing and reading an entire Tolstoy tome (in both content and length) into every interaction I have. I can barely go through the checkout without feeling like the cashier hates me.

I don’t know what has changed for me, and I don’t expect it to last because I tend to be up and down a lot. I do think that reading Big Friendship had a part in it, though.

Fourth. During my call with my friend, Adam had a call with his sister, so we were both in a better mood after we got off our calls. He read me a list of jokes he’d written while riding on the train. I’m never a good judge of what’s funny to other people, but I liked some of them. We ended up talking and laughing for hours like we used to do when everything was easier and lighter.

One of our exchanges went like this:

Adam, reading from his phone: “The Oregon Trail has made me who I am today.”
Me: “Hahahahaha! What does that mean?”
Adam: “You know, the game, The Oregon Trail. It taught me life lessons that have helped me become the person I am today.”
Me: “Is that supposed to be a joke?”
Adam: “Yes! You laughed at it!”
Me, dissolving into laughter, again: “I laughed because it didn’t make any sense.”
Adam: “You know, not only are you funny without realizing it, but you laugh at jokes for the wrong reason!”
At this point, I was laughing so hard, I could barely speak.
Adam pounded his chest with his fist: “I’m trying to say that The Oregon Trail made me hard!”
Me, crying, I barely choked out: “What?! You’re just telling me this now?”
Adam: “I mean, it ushered me into manhood!”
If I wasn’t already lying on the couch, I’d have fallen off of it.
Me: “Oh yeah, baby, I’d get dysentery for you!”

I guess it’s just one of those things where you had to be there, but I needed to laugh like that. It took me a long time to wind down that night, and I ended up not getting to sleep until around 3 AM, but I was magically functional the next day without needing a nap.

Fifth. I love Billie Eilish. That’s all I have to say about that. Maybe I’ll add more later.

It has gotten so chilly here that it might actually snow tomorrow. It’s nice to be cozy and warm inside.

If I let myself write anymore, I’ll most definitely say something weighty, so off I go.

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