Before I was diagnosed with depression horror was my staple genre, like some people watch and read romantic comedies I used to live off of horror. I used to frequent theatres to watch horror movies, preferably empty theatres smack bang in the middle of the week because the tickets would be cheaper. It was a hobby if I can call it that. Now the thrill is gone. So I have to make bargains to deal with the withdrawal symptoms.
For someone who hailed Stephen King as a prophet, suddenly quitting horror was by far the toughest thing for me to do with regard to the lifestyle changes I had to make once my therapist and psychiatrist entered my life. So today, I decided to watch a horror comedy with my parents at the theatre. The movie wasn’t scary in any way, although my Mum screamed during the end, I was laughing, nothing surprised me, everything seemed set up. All the cliches were covered, but the humour was refreshing.
I think what I relished was the familiarity of the genre. It felt like a homecoming like I was never depressed. I’d been dying to watch a horror movie. I fought the urge every day when Netflix was right there in front of me. To keep my word I even refused to open a book from ‘The Green Mile‘ series or ‘Cujo‘ or ‘It‘ or…..the list is so long, and includes all the greats, Shirley Jackson, H.P. Lovecraft, Richard Matheson, Bram Stoker, so many.
This week has seen many ups and downs, one of those rare weeks when happiness and sadness came together in a confused whirlwind and finally winds down as Sunday approaches. This gap year has taught me a lot about change, more than anything else. ‘The Nun‘ has released and even though I know like most horror movies, it will set high expectations and will be just short of reaching them, I had plans to watch it with some friends who enjoy horror as much as I do. Unfortunately, those plans changed and my health didn’t allow it. So I had to settle for a horror comedy something I would have scoffed at a year ago.
I don’t know when I’ll read horror again or watch another horror movie. I don’t know how long it will take me to allow myself to get scared again. Maybe I have to find a new love for happy, romantic movies which have never been my taste. They’re like ice creams that are nice till the second bite and then it’s just a cold sugar rush. I shouldn’t complain too much.
I could switch to slow, intellectual films, which after a point lead to an existential crisis. Nothing seems to hit the sweet spot between reality and fiction like horror, that wonderful feeling of questioning the darkness, shadows and the concept of death. I love being torn between continuing to watch or read and desperately wanting to stop, not knowing which I want to do more. I don’t want horror to become a hazy memory in my future, a story to tell my kids about. That depends on me I guess and my getting better.
I didn’t think it would be something so trivial that would push me to get better. I thought in this gap year I would find a missing piece of myself or an answer to my questions. I thought I’d make a life-changing discovery but instead, all I found was that if I needed horror in my life I had to beat depression. I guess it’s true, you only realise the value of something when it’s taken away from you. Funny, that this is how I learnt the concept.
This week if it has been about anything it’s been about love, loving what I do even though it frustrates me, that there is hope to find love I can still believe it exists and rediscovering my love for horror. I watched a poignant Korean drama, ‘Rain or Shine’ What a beautiful show that was about love and loss.
I don’t want to bid goodbye to this week just yet, I want to exist in this moment a bit longer, I want time to stop so I can catch up to it. Tomorrow might change everything but today things stand like this. The more I live the more I realise that I have very little control. I think I am learning to trust time and my life a little more to loosen my grip on the reigns of this chariot.
I am not all that I think I am. At the crux of it, I am a girl who finds stories in everything, who is caught in a love triangle between chocolate and horror, who has opinions that attract criticism all the time, with a terrible temper, honing a passion for complaining, and pretends she doesn’t know any of this. Acknowledging all of this gives me the strength to meet my own eyes in the mirror recognising who I see, not needing someone else to confirm it for me this time.