Dirty Little Secrets

I play video games. A lot. I’m utterly addicted to BioWare RPGs and Zynga Bingo. I also watch television shows with absolutely no real life significance. Shows like The Vampire Diaries and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I read books that don’t make me think. This is a big change for me (okay, maybe not the video game part). Junk food novels and entertainment-only TV/movies just weren’t my thing. But since Zack passed away, these have become my primary coping mechanism and through this process, I’ve learned something about seemingly pointless entertainment.

Lesson #1

Sometimes it’s good to not think about things. When you spend all of your time thinking about heavy or difficult things, it drains your body and mind. Guilty pleasures can recharge the inner battery. We could probably all use a little recharge now and then.

Lesson #2

You can learn a lot from brainless entertainment, especially about writing. Games like Mass Effect teach you about character and relationship development in a story. TV shows like Warehouse 13 teach you ways to keep your audience engaged. Movies like Crazy, Stupid Love teach you how to fit seemingly disparate pieces together to form a cohesive whole. Books like Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick teach you about enticing dialogue. This is something I should have known already. After all, these sorts of things are popular with the public for a reason.

Lesson #3

A few months after Zack passed away, I watched the last three or four seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer from start to finish. I have no idea why. I didn’t like it when it came out and I was part of the target audience at that time. But it was there and I needed something—anything—to keep my mind off of real life.

One episode helped me snap out of the darkest, deepest depression of my life and in the strangest way. The episode, “Once More with Feeling,” is the only musical in the series and is perhaps the most popular among the cult fans of this truly terrible TV show. Granted, I’ve always been a sucker for a good musical, but near the end came a few lines of a song that took me utterly by surprise. Spike (the second hottest vampire in film) sings to Buffy:

Life’s not a song
Life isn’t bliss. Life is just this.
It’s living.
You’ll get along.
This pain that you feel, it only can heal
By living.

(Full video and song here – warning: it’s painful because, well, it’s that bad.)

Huh. These were words that I really needed to hear. Now, I don’t want to give the impression that I instantly returned to life, had loads of hope, had learned to accept the events of the last year, or anything like that. But it hit me, and hit me hard, that I was avoiding life in a big way, had been for months, and was doing no favors to myself or my family. It gave me a prod so that I could ask for help.

Odd place to get such a message, but as they say, God works in mysterious ways.

8 thoughts on “Dirty Little Secrets

  1. Very heartfelt and personal post, however I’d like to comment on your video game comment. I find it interesting you previously found video games as “brainless entertainment” while I will agree there are some games that might fall under that category. If you delve deeper into the mechanics, dynamics, and systems employed by video games you’ll find they are far from brainless entertainment.

    Just as you discovered with Mass Effect, the entire franchise does a lot of subtle things like addressing conflicts within our own society. Games can be teachers and if approached with an open mindset can allow for self discovery.

    • I consider games like Zynga Bingo brainless entertainment. BioWare games, and RPGs in general, deserve a post all their own because they absolutely touch on huge social subjects. People who don’t play them, however, consider them “brainless entertainment.”

      During this period of my life, they’ve served a bit of that purpose. They provide me with entertainment that allows me to separate myself from real life tragedies. I think they can be both entertainment and social commentary. This is true of most sci-fi and fantasy. Social commentary is as much a part of the genre as magic or science.

      • Ah, I read that wrong then 🙂

        Yes there are some games that do address real life issues or tell complex and meaningful stories. Seems more and more people are starting to see this, thanks to efforts made by certain developers. Will be interesting to see where things go.

      • Agreed. I’ll have to write a post on a couple of those games. Waiting anxiously for Dragon Age 3. Just got word that the DLC with the ending for Mass Effect 3 is out. Will have to play through again and check it out!

      • Oh definitely, I didn’t play DA2 because I loved DA1 so much and heard it sucked. I will have to get over that eventually lol. Also well aware of ME3 DLC, just been putting it off because if I start another play through I’ll lose myself to the world. Gonna delay that for a week or two maybe.

      • DA2 wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t as good as DA1, but it was worth playing through at least once. I’m holding off on ME3 DLC for a bit, too. Lots to do and it’ll never get done if I get started on ME3 immediately!

  2. When you’re ready to be open to the right lesson/message — you’ll hear it, you’ll get it from whatever source hands it to you. I love that you heard it from Spike. That’s awesome. *hugs*

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s