One of the best coping strategies is good, healthy distraction. Sitting in a movie theatre, reading a good book, watching a TV series. Playing computer games. These things take our minds off any lingering fears we have after treatment and can keep us going during treatment.
I tell myself that these are always things I can enjoy even if my condition deteriorates and I can’t go out so much. They’re insurance for the future as well as enjoyment in the present.
I always find the holiday season difficult as someone alone, someone with eating difficulties. The very word BBQ causes me physical pain. How can people eat all that tough food? Socialising is hard. I also have nagging fears about the condition of my mouth. You have to wait until after the season to see about these things if a crisis occurs such as breaking a tooth off at the gum as I did just before Christmas.
So … I have had quite a good season despite that. I’ve read three good books (we’ve had a lot of cloudy weather) , watched three good movies and played an addictive phone game. The first six items were good healthy distractions, the last item has often made me feel guilty because it encourages an unhealthy addiction. Oh, Wordscapes.
First up the three movies (used to always call them films). I’m fascinated by American politics so “Vice” a film about G W Bush’s VP, Dick Cheney, was enticing although I am a real film snob and usually prefer little indie films or foreign films or art films. Turns out it was really good, a bit draggy in the middle but innovative, witty, had some empathy for this very conservative and ruthless politician but was basically a satire. Throughout the film his heart attacks accumulated into a sort of metaphor for the heartlessness of this sort of politics and fly-fishing for his ability to manipulate naive people and reel them in as he did with G W Bush (according to the movie). His wife was portrayed as a Lady Macbeth type of figure egging him on to more and more ruthless political goals. At one stage they even talked in made up Shakespearean.
Would they give up politics when they discovered their daughter was gay and yet Republican politics demanded that they be anti gay marriage? Some false end credits (best part of film) suggested yes … but of course they didn’t. Cheney was the power behind the throne and his wife was the power behind him.
To sum up, the film cleverly made a dry as dust topic very interesting and showed how Cheney’s politics lead the way to the present situation in the US.
Then I saw Mary Poppins by mistake and it was goooood. I’m very suspicious of false cheer and forced positive thinking but this film was a delight. My favourite scene was the brilliantly choreographed London lamp-lighters’ dance. Anything with Lin-Manuel Miranda in it is worth looking at.
Third up was Bohemian Rhapsody. I didn’t follow Queen in my youth but of course all the songs are well known and catchy and the film gave me a glimpse into the life behind those famous songs. After it was over I googled, watched the Live Aid concert on You Tube and learnt a lot more about Mercury. I don’t think the film captured his essence but it was well made and very poignant. Why do geniuses have to be so tortured? Also, what were we thinking all those centuries in denying gay people their identity? I was pleased to read that in his latter years he had a lot more friends than the biopic showed. Left the cinema feeling sad.
My favourite scene was the one where the record executive refused to back Bohemian Rhapsody or BoRap as one of the band members said fast forwarding to modern slang.
Books. The easiest read was Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty set in or near Sydney. Just a great chick lit read. Beautiful example of the genre.
Normal People by Sally Rooney. Sweetest love story I’ve read for ages. Written by a young writer in her 20s and captures relationships so well.
Bridge of Clay. Another Aussie book. A really worthwhile tale of building a bridge to heal family dysfunction – goes deep and is worth the annoying narrative style that makes it hard to get through the first part. Captures emotions so very well. A male book which is a change after Nine Perfect Strangers.
TV series: Gran Hotel. What can I say? Beautiful soap with a patina of merit because it’s Spanish! Fantastico!