As a kid, I was the one who would sit at the dining table reading, burrowing my head into the books way after bedtime and think I was such a badass for holding the torchlight in my mouth and hiding under the covers like a spy. And as I grew older, I discovered that the worlds I explored as a child in those books were the flip of a switch away.
Sometimes, it meant I get to sit in the dark again to be transported into a world through an adventure with the people I saw on screen who I knew didn’t actually exist but were so alive within my imagination.
I remember buying a ticket once at 10am just to escape the realities of living, just for those 2 hours, it was worth waking up early for.
Soon, I indulged in long hours of binge watching and loving every character. When they cried, I cried, when they laughed, I did too. And when they died, I had learned to mourn with them.
See the most attractive thing of what makes a brilliant story is when the audience becomes part of it. When they are so immerse in the story world as though they were standing there the whole time watching and experiencing the situations with the same amount of intensity that spoke to the emotions in that one scene.
People go back because there is always hope. Because even though the world looks very much like the one we live in, it isn’t and anything can happen in that world. The elements of that fictional world mirror our reality, except what happens to those worlds is contingent upon the main character. We hardly see the fictional world our favourite characters live in, but we see the similarities in that world. And as selfish as it sounds, we like being a part of that world. Because we know the secret conversations in their heads, we’re there when they rationalise their decisions, when they regret those choices, when they breakdown in a puddle of tears all alone.
We are comforted by intimacy. Deeper than escaping the realities of our world, we crave intimacy with people. We want to be there when they cry. We want to hear the thoughts that trouble them at night. We want all these things but only at our own convenience. We want intimacy without the messiness of relationship. We want intimacy without the baggage that comes along. We want the good parts because frankly we don’t know if we can handle the bad parts. When and if it hurts too much, we want out and call it quits.
And so, instead of sitting through thick and thin with the people that surround us we take the route of solitary confinement to serve our being safe in name of keeping our hearts ‘unbroken’. We like the idea of relationship and the intimacy that comes with it but we are terribly afraid of the price to pay. The question then is, will we ever be satisfied with playing it safe? Are the rewards of having lasting friendships with history and fights and tears more worth it than a life living in fantasy and in constant chase of intimacy with a fictional character played by someone living continents away from your 15-inch laptop screen.