On this Christmas I received a gift. A fanwork of the Dark Shadows movie that I enjoyed. I also bestowed a gift; my delight in commentary. These are things many more of us once knew how to do, but I have been living in a tragic world in which much in the way of free thought and free will, the things that made us much different from other animals, the training to be something more, has been extracted from a large portion of the population.
I also managed to watch the new “Solo” film with my husband. He enjoyed how I found the brother of the director. Of course, as I learned from my Mum, anytime Ron Howard directs he will find a small part for his brother in it somewhere. But more so, I managed to keep track of the story and be pleased with the “Easter eggs”. Growing up with the old Star Wars trilogy presented me with the keen insight of what to look for and anticipate. Life experience gave me this treasure of ability, another thing more people used to have and were able to discuss.
Moreover it reminded me of Empires and Rebellions in general. Us rooting for the kind-hearted aspects in life and striving to achieve great accomplishments.
I am shaken that this uplifting sense in the human spirit has been traded in for the baser attractions, at least from where I am and have been on this journey. I see the numbers for downloads and reads still, and I do not assume enjoyment or understanding is being had. Instead I envision the probability of many listeners terrified of their own guilt, speechless for the sake that they got used to the short-cuts they were handed and relinquished their decision making skills. Or lack of understanding what’s being said, just making up other things to believe. (The latter happened before but it’s worse now.)
We had our social lives transferred into programs that, did not begin but, eventually became casino versions of communication. Our shared moments with loved ones deposited into a slot machine. Dazzling, attractive, and all meaning siphoned out of what we would call our souls, our minds, our preferred tastes and paths.
Upon recognizing this, how can one not be shaken to one’s core? Ah, yes. The pretending it’s “all okay”. Sure, life goes on. Let’s pretend that nothing changed, that people didn’t have fun engaging in dialogue much more often than they do today. I even notice the way the haters share my spots of recorded temper and I find those actions to be reflexive and automatic. The world of open-communication is now a new way to gossip and misunderstand, always presuming that everything online is gospel truth. Don’t ask the source. Ask a third party instead. You’ll get a more exciting answer that way.
Meanwhile I still see good numbers for Melissa’s interview podcast. They may not look the same in your iTunes browser, but I see other platforms. There are people listening to that one that don’t bother with the radio drama. I’m proud of her for saying things that I could never say, to get a view of what someone new has to endure for the sake of a television show. Also her good manners in approaching entertainers and how best to behave.
People who knew me during my panicked days are inquisitive. I’m just sitting calmly, perhaps working on a letter or a new embroidery design and listening to others. Not everyone is surprised by this, but several are looking twice. They knew the me that was stressed to my limit and beyond, the person that should have been treated better, but allowed to be abused via bystanders or others taught to be hateful and nasty. I knew I needed to find the right people, and I am finding them, as are they in want of their own people, having experienced similar friendship loss.
One very good friend now I met amidst the madness. She knew fandoms got rude and untrained people in the online world took hostile liberties to gain a sense of authority over others.
I looked at what she presented and observed, “Something bad happened.”
She heard my tale and troubles and assented in echo, “Something bad happened.”
To her and I, stories and games are for the journey, not for the winning or losing. For the experience of travel, adventure sometimes, but exploration, learning, and sharing time with others of like-mind.
Other new friends have no fear for good reasons, either from being so creative themselves, or true-life problems that make entertainment welcome and relieving. They know and appreciate that others are working hard to give them a sense of escape. Jealousy isn’t a viral disease that plagues them. A little envy for an article of clothing, perhaps, or a set of art supplies they’d like. Nothing vicious, just a funny quirk that passes as quickly as a ripple on the water.
The shaky moments still come, like today. I have to constantly remind myself of who is still with me. A big pile usually awaits me by mail, either type of mail. It’s true some pals make light of the change in others I find shocking, but there are friends who know and have seen what I have seen. We comfort each other with the anecdotes and what to make of them. How to move forward, new favourite songs, old favourite songs, tales of our lives and what tiny components don’t change. (Ron Howard hiring his brother for a bit part in his movies, for example.)
I can feel the tension, though. Having so many fear you isn’t a pleasant experience. Then having to watch that fear turn into a stunned silence of utter embarrassment, not just towards me but finding in themselves a state of being in which their sense of choice and free will, as well-grounded and well-behaved individuals, was perceived as still existing in a time where they were pulled into something that tricked them, along with whatever loved ones or shared people they had.
It’s happened in subtler ways before. If you don’t buy someone a gift you will be seen as low-down. If you don’t take pictures of quality moments it will appear as if you don’t care. Companies advertise to this ideology and take advantage of it to sell those products that prove you really do care.
A pal reminded me of a South Park episode, “You Have 0 Friends”. Many of us knew the truth of the insanity going on via social networks, the insecurities arising from those with, usually hidden, low self-esteem. The problem with the example of that story is that it was aired in 2010. That was almost a decade ago. We should have held on to that great lesson, but we didn’t. The problem just increased.
Believe it or not, there are many who just won’t touch the stuff. They live their lives outside of those things. And I think that’s often how I am being viewed. Once a month is enough for me. Stretching out on the furniture and feeling that balance of freedom is a joy. Being able to watch more Dark Shadows and heckling playfully with my sweetheart adds to the joy. The way things were, and can still be again.
I’m working on a portion of Osheen’s interview I hadn’t released. It’s more of a workshop segment but worth a podcast. Then there is Pit episodes 20 and 21 to construct. Meanwhile I get to the chapters of friends as we’ve exchanged our work together. A thing I always wanted since I was a teenager, but never really had until decades later. Odd to find them through fanfiction, but it makes sense. Shared interests are there. Any old fiction wouldn’t do, we had to have something else to bond with. Old TV shows? Movies? Love of similar characters? Sure. That will do nicely.
Happy Christmas to my friends, new and old. Keep in touch, pen pals.
I think of all of you very often, and do my best to catch up.
Steady as She goes.