What do you do when your life is all up-side down? You book a trip to the Carribean, of course! Goes without saying. But I’ll say something about it, anyway. I’ll be rambling, in fact… But I’ll give you a wonderful classic song to listen to while you’re trying to assess if there’s any meaning to my ramblings. I give you, one of the most perfect pieces of music to mirror life’s ups and downs, ever:
Oh, no worries, the trip is about 4 months away. 2 weeks of bliss after 4 months of very hard work. But why? Why do I feel this NEED? Why do (some) humans feel the need to, well, escape?
Have you ever heard the phrase: “He/she was too good for this (brutal) world…”? I guess somewhere in that sentence, lies the answer. Some people just can not handle all the betrayals, lies, psychological abuse, being left, being alone, etc. That is when escapism is the greatest tool there is, actually. I know a lot of people look down on escapism, as a coping mechanism…. “A person should face their problems, not run away from them”. Etc.
But what if you just can’t deal with your problems/losses? If there were too many, and you would break down completely, if you had to face it all, at once? If it’s been a steady strem of “Fuck You” from the Universe, for years, and you just need to survive, you need a break?
Then escapism is pretty neat. You can organize some escape that lets you have hope, lets you breathe, hope the future will be lighter than this darkness…
(I’m in quite good company: Both the world famous authors C.S. Lewis ((author of the books about Narnia)), and Tolkien ((author of “Lord of the rings”)) have uttered that it is necessary/positive, to be able to escape reality. Hey, they should know! They both created “alternate realities” for their readers. Also, another quote from Wikipedia about great thinkers: “Freud considered a quota of escapist fantasy a necessary element in the life of humans: “[T]hey cannot subsist on the scanty satisfaction they can extort from reality.”…. ‘We simply cannot do without auxiliary constructions’, Theodor Fontane once said”
So, yes, my escapism right now is that I have a Carribean vacation planned. For me, that’s not just about “getting a tan”. The Carribean is a place I have wanted to visit since, well, since I was a child basically, so at least for the last 20 years or so…
I think the Carribean and other similar places is the ultimate scen for “escapism”, for a lot of people. Palm trees, white beaches, a tropical climate, a slow tempo…. What more could you really ask, out of life? Being there I suppose, is like being inside a dream. For a couple of weeks or so, you get to leave your “It’s a hard knock life- reality” and enter somewhere where it is warm, slow, dreamy, sunny, beautiful. In fact, it is like you get to go back to simpler days. The eternal human dream of an “Eldorado”, a “paradise”, etc. This Earthly life we have contains a great deal of toil and sorrow, so it is not strange at all that we humans dream of a simpler, happier life, without too much stress and unhappiness.
So what about the headline? Well, my best friend, who passed away a few years ago, actually emobroidered that quote for me, on a piece of fabric, beautiful, she even put it in a frame and gave it to me, as a present. It was our inside joke, after we both LOVED the 80’s movie “Cocktail”, with Tom Cruise. His mentor/friend in the movie, is behind that quote:
“Anything else, is always something better”.
At the time my friend gave me this quote she’d embroidered so carefully, I did not understand. It was an inside joke, to me, cause we both loved that “camp” 80’s style movie. (It really is endearing and great, but in an “80’s kind of way”, it is not like today’s movies). But, it was more than that. Lately, when I look at the embroidered message in that frame, I have been hit with a new insight; How well she really knew me! How she knew, without ever saying it aloud, that she must have seen how I tried to escape from too many sorrows laid upon me, even back then.
Perhaps this all sounds very sad and heavy. But the thing is, it’s not. It is like I have suddenly gotten a new message from her, from wherever she is now. I always thought that “perhaps she didn’t know the real me”, etc. But now I know. She did. And she didn’t judge me for it. Instead, she spent hours and hours, embroidering a message to me, that would only truly speak to me, much later on…. I always knew she was wise. I just didn’t know she was this wise, and this loving.
People have always sort of looked down on escapism, really. They connect it to weakness. But she knew.
She knew that I wasn’t weak, but that I was a person who had simply suffered too much in life, and who needed my getaways and escapes sometimes, to cope. And she still loved and appreciated me….
I’m lucky to have experienced that kind of friendship in my life, at least once, someone who would never judge me, instead always supported me, no matter what. The loss of her, while it cuts right down to the bone, the love I have for her will not die, as long as I draw breath….
So, I’ll stick to my escapism, still. I do not care if some people think that it’s “weak”, etc. I know that I just do what I need to do, to survive. That’s good enough for me, right now. I can tell you that this last week, since I booked this Carribean vacation with a family member, well, it is the first time in a long time that I have felt a bit of hope. Like there’s something to look forward to, to save money for, to keep my work motivation up, to research info. on the destination, etc. I have felt more uplifted this last week than I have in a very, very long time. That’s escapism for you. If that is really wrong, then, I guess I don’t wanna be right!
To finish this off in some relatable way,…? Well, with another video or 2, then, I guess. And an explanation: A relationship between two people, is also escapism, in some form, right? Truly, what you do when you’re in someone else’s arms is, forgetting everything else, living in a dream of love and….. escape, from the everyday hardships of life, this world. Sometimes you can do that in a friendship, too. Like me, with my friend, who obviously “saw” me, more than I had ever imagined… I now feel even deeper, how the friendship in the movie, was reflected in our friendship…. I just want to believe, that she is in some sort of Heaven/”Nirvana” now. Even if I myself lack faith these days, I hope that it is so, for her sake…
Here’s the great clip from the equally great feel-good-movie:
And….. of course, we always wanna know; well, how did he do? How did it work out for him?!
(Here’s the short answer, in this 1.5 min clip, the rest is in the movie)
We are all our own little Houdinis, in our own way, I guess. We are all escape artists….
I am okay with that…..
“Anything else is always something better”. /Douglas Coughlin, character in the classic 80’s movie “Cocktail”.
Take care of yourselves! Love/Survived.