My Go-To Escape Isn't Working as Well as It Used To

Are you a reader? Have you been looking for your next "beach read"?  Fiction has never failed me as an escape. It has been my go-to to go somewhere else; to get lost in someone else's world, issues, and dramas. 

At 8, 9, 10, or 14... what I remember most about riding about in the back of the van while my parents were chasing the waves at Lavalette and Seagurt at the Jersey Shore, or Ramp 22 and the Lighthouse on the Outer Banks, was snuggling up next to Shamo (my curly-haired-rescue-dog) and diving into a book. Dog Star, The Hardy Boys, The Black Stallion Mystery, Flowers in the Attic, Robinson Carusoe (even when cajoled into diving into the waves with them—the narrative awaited). 

What has become abundantly clear, even immersed in the distraction of "entertainment" in various forms, is that our blueprints are shifting, individually and collectively.

A yoga instructor recently started our outdoor class with this intention: Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Well said, because I have to admit, I've been more uncomfortable than comfortable. My life, while busy and hectic, is relative bliss. So, why am I so dang uncomfortable? 

Above is a collage of some of my recent "distractions" (I left out the bottle of white wine). Below is how each of these complicated my narrative:

Hamilton - Mary and I sang along with the streaming version, reckoning with whose stories get told, and wondering about the countless stories lost, especially those of POC and women 

This is How it Always Is - a modern family navigating a society unsure of how to handle transgenderism

Sea Wife - a family in close quarters (enough said)

Beneath a Scarlet Sky - set in Northern Italy during the German occupation — the true story of WW2 hero, Pino Lella, the terror of Fascism up close and personal, and the courage that can be summoned by the human spirit

Writers and Lovers - shedding the baggage along the way to finding one's voice

Mississippi Burning - more than still relevant

Schroder - the futility of subscribing to the untruths we tell ourselves, about ourselves

The Book of Longings - What if Jesus was married? Ana's defiance to the patriarchal status quo is the seed of her relationship with her future husband 

The Morning Show - a. lot. of. drama. that starts off feeling like a juicy distraction and during E7 and E8 it sucker-punched me as I contemplate(d) my daughters in the workforce (or at a frat party)

All of us, regardless of who and where we are, are being asked on many levels to evaluate our blueprints, the status quo, or mode of operations. We are also being asked to look at things, often uncomfortable things, in new ways. 

Really, all along, that is the role of fiction and music and theater and art. And, story. To develop our empathic intelligence so that when we are uncomfortable, we can handle moving through. Because the best way out is always through. The only way we are going to get through gracefully is by allowing space for complicating our narratives and being a bit uncomfortable. In the end, escape is temporary and highly overrated when overindulged. 

Speaking of uncomfortable things, we'll be talking about the Freshman Voyage and how to survive and thrive when dropping your student this fall. Yup, it's going to be interesting, really interesting. (How many masks will they need?)

At our inaugural event in The Sanity Series, we'll be speaking with the award-winning-author and motivational speaker, Kelly Radi, about her book, Out to Sea — A Parents' Survival Guide to the Freshman Voyage. Scroll down for the details. 

Let's use fiction and reality to hold space for that which makes us uncomfortable and come away stronger, more aware, and empathetic. 

Publication date: July 21, 2020


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