Whatever gets you through your life…

I’m the kind of person who can be prone to feeling a bit too sad. Sometimes there are specific reasons for my sombre mood, others I’m blue without a clue. Obviously this necessitates developing sad day strategies. One of my most straightforward techniques is pop culture distraction.

Basically I immerse myself in literature, tv, movies or music that either soothe or swallow up my sadness. It’s a shallow technique. It has no chance of curing what ails me, but it can get me through a rough day. There are times when whatever gets you through the night really is alright.

My all time favourite tv show is pretty effective. Pick any random episode of Grey’s Anatomy and there’s a very high chance I will cry before it finishes. Select an episode that pushes my weepy buttons & I’ll have a mini breakdown. I can see why some may think this would be terrible viewing for a sad person. They’d be wrong. Crying is so incredibly cathartic. Balling your eyes over someone else’s pain, even more so. You get all the release with none of the troublesome self examination. I know, I know, you have to deal with your issues to solve them. However, when your issue is not entirely fixable & not even always knowable, Grey’s works. Throw in amazing uncliched female characters, very hot men, proper happy endings & your heart wrench is balanced. Need a good wail, but to still feel like there is good in the world? Meredith & Cristina are your girls.

Jane Austen serves the same, save me from drowning in melancholy purpose. She just does it in a very different way. Austen soothes me. I know those books inside out. I know I can trust Jane to guide me to a satisfying ending. There will be no traumatic twists. Manners will keep almost everyone in line. Characters I love will learn their lessons gracefully & reap their rewards. The baddies will get their just desserts, cads will rue the day. All with a dash of wit & a knowing wink from Austen. I know these novels have zero relevance to my life. To be honest that’s kind of the point. Ordered escapism is a marvellous distraction from messy feelings.

Lost in Translation combines both functions. It lets me cry whilst letting me believe. Unconventional happily ever after is the best kind. Meeting someone who can help you find yourself spoke to my deepest desires for a very long time. Now, I can enjoy the film safe in the knowledge that I managed it all by myself. All of those arty shots of Tokyo at night calm me. Bill Murray dispersing quizzical wisdom lifts me. Sad people finding there might be answers to their frustrated situations gives me life.

Which brings me to my ultimate sad girl medicine; Alan Bennett. Every single word he puts on paper is a tiny cure. His writing is both real & magical. His diaries reveal a decent man. His fiction & his life are built on a solid social conscious. Biting wit, cosy sentiment & articulate commentary somehow abide comfortably together in his work. I love Alan Bennett. I can lose my pain in his pages, sedated by seemingly effortless talent.

I’m grateful my bad life evolved into just bad days. It doesn’t always happen that way. Plus, when the bad days stack up it doesn’t always feel like they’ll fade away. We all need ways to temporarily escape. Those of us who’ve had a brush with crazy, even more so. These work for me. Perhaps they’ll help you too.

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