Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Finding Comfort in TV Shows

Two weeks have passed since my last post and my life is settling back into a routine again, albeit one with a massive missing piece. It's an odd experience, trying to create a new normal. All you can do is take it all one day at a time and try not to think too much about times to come and who's going to be missing from those future events. I've made plans already to be with Mum over Christmas for a full two weeks; we both know it's going to be hard but hopefully being together will soften the ache the vacant chair is going to evoke. I'm also keeping myself busy with work, and with my at home activities. But I'm still making sure I take time to feel and mourn as needed; it's surprising how sneaky grief can be.

Over the weekend I watched the entire first season of Transparent on Amazon Prime. It is without a doubt one of the best TV shows I have seen in a long while. It was created and directed by Jill Soloway, probably best known for writing episodes of Six Feet Under. Challenging, funny, bittersweet, Transparent genuinely has it all. Sadly I know a lot of people will be put off or otherwise not give it a chance purely because of the subject matter and the mature nature of the programme. This is a show not embarrassed by the human body, and explores the nature of gender, being true to yourself and living your life for others sake, regardless of your own desires. It stars Jeffrey Tambor in career defining form as Mort Pfefferman, who has finally decided to live how he always wanted to; as a she. The impact this has on the family, along with flashbacks on his road to discovery, make up the first season.

With each episode only lasting for half an hour, quick-fire dialogue and outstanding performances from all, Transparent is a rare TV gem. It also made me cry horrendously. Not because of the content (though the whole family storyline did bring up feels) but due to the musical choices. A lot of it is the kind of music Dad always listened to. And then at the end of the ninth episode, they played one of the songs we had for Dad's funeral, Leonard Cohen's "That's No Way to Say Goodbye". I am not ashamed to admit I bawled like a baby. It was unexpected, but oddly was a great relief to get so much of the pain out. Because this is the thing about grief; it doesn't come when you want it to or in the way you expect. It builds up inside you without you being aware of it, like poison waiting to be drained. Then it hits you sideways and you just hope it won't be when you're in a room full of people.

If it weren't for TV box sets and streaming services I can guarantee all of this would be harder to deal with. So far I've finished Transparent, two Seasons of the Borgias (also amazing), Arrow Season 1 and a number of films. I've also been making time for writing every day and am finding that this too is a great cathartic experience. Not just getting words down and exploring a story, but feeling like even in the middle of this hurricane I'm in right now, that I'm still moving toward something. Watching inspiring things like Transparent only encourages me to keep going, in the hope that the something I'm moving toward is a story of my own that's half as good.

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