it's a beauty of a word.
the concept, or reality, of it sounds like a flippin' vacation, too. but let's be real.
escapism is the avoidance of unpleasant, arduous, banal, or scary aspects of daily life. we like to romanticize this definition by slapping gold labels of distraction onto the activities we engage in and call it escapism.
there is this concept of positivity and sanity that perpetuates an image of perfection that is making home in the spaces of our minds. it comes in, makes home in our minds, and gentrifies the space that realism used to inhabit.
i would like to be the first to confess that my spirit is dirty as fuck.
i've been through some shit, y'all. i was not kind to myself before; my spirit has been dragged behind me in the dirt trails like an insecurity blanket. it took me a while to tend to the upkeep of my spirit. my spirit holds scars. my spirit is still being spring-cleaned. my spirit still has hidden, hoarded memories stuffed away in her deepest corners. my spirit is raw, scarred, and going through renovations. but i still love her, because she exists within me. she is me; and i am her.
i say this because i was once a person who tried to uphold this image of self-righteousness and positivity when in the privacy of my four walls i was negative, lost, and doing the whole "escapism" thing wrong. we put self-improvement and self-care on a pedestal as though it's the portrait on the wall with a grandiose golden frame......but the whole apartment is trashed.
we begin to ignore those little dirt-laden aspects of our soul so we can feel better about ourselves. but listen, honey. they pile up even higher - and then we have more soul-work to do.
escapism is a distraction. it's not this fantasized vacation that brings us back to ourselves refreshed, adorned with stories and kisses from the sun, soul and spirit just miraculously cleaned and spit-shined. NO. it returns us back home to the same pile of shit in our soul that we left there.
i had to let go of escapism to heal myself, to get to a place of peace within me. activities of escapism, to me, are those activities that take you inward and leave you there, without creating the path to healing. sometimes, listening to music is a way of escapism; reading a book; running. the activities that can distract you from really digging deep and feeling, then expressing and releasing. i stopped listening to music for a long time. i stopped reading, scrolling IG, and Facebook'ing because i was living through others and not myself. i stopped running because it served as a physical metaphor for running away from my emotions and my problems.
now, i am engaging in activities and hobbies that force me to release emotions and thought patterns. choosing to hoard these only made me heavy with sadness and destructive habits. journaling, spoken word, writing poetry, doing podcasts, meeting and conversing with strangers, drawing - these are all activities that i choose to engage in that releases tension, grounds me, and roots me deeper into myself. the more i do this, the more i find beauty in my vulnerability and those moments of feeling. there is no disconnection between I & the emotions i feel. i am one. when i am alone, i am all one. if i begin to feel lonely, i know it's because i'm not taking care of myself enough. that's when the self-care comes in. after i feel like i release everything i need to release, i then get to a point where self-care doesn't feel like an excuse or a distraction. i don't feel a need to escape myself. there is a home in my temple, in the castles of my skin.
my spirit is dirty because i acknowledge my reality as a human who makes mistakes. don't escape into oblivion trying to manicure your soul to faux-cosmic cleanliness. healing is about the grit, the grain, the grunge. next time you feel the need to escape and retreat into yourself, force yourself to express your emotions in an artistic, constructive way. open up. talk to someone. don't say you're fine. recycle your emotions into art. allow your scars to tell their stories. it will bring on a release that escapism could never bring you.
for my latest podcast where i briefly discuss this, please listen (and share) below: