I have always been drawn to documentaries, biographys and historical fiction. In a way it lets me live someone else’s life for the duration of the film or book.
When I was growing up, as a means of escape, I would imagine an elaborate fantasy life. I had a few I would go back to over and over and new ones would pop up, so I could BE someone else.
Once I learned to read, I would let stories take me away. And wish every night I could run away and become part of the stories.
Reading stories about princesses and shit is fine and dandy, but reading someones true story is what captives me completely.
I find that I am drawn to biographys and historical fictions about women who have suffered and overcome unimaginable atrocities. Like the Jaycee Lee Dugard story or Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. Sometimes I have to put down a book like those and just breath. Collect my self and wrap my brain around horrific acts people can do to one another.
The same goes for documentaries. My old favorites were anything to do with animals. It was the Earthlings documentary, after all, that opened my eyes to what a Factory Farm was.
My recent favorites are those that have anything to do with the struggle of LGBT&Q community. Particularly if it has to do with religion. For the Bible Tells Me So deals with children (some adults) coming out to their over the top religious families, the challenges and losses they face and unexpected outcomes. Its beautiful, sad and worth the watch. Fall From Grace follows both sides of the fight between. The people of Topeka and the Westburough Baptist Church. It is by far one of the most disturbing things I have seen.
I watch and read these people’s stories from a white, straight and by some accounts privileged, point of view. I will never have my feet bound and sold to a husband. I was not kidnapped and sexually abused for years. I do not fight for my life to not be eaten, because I just taste so good. I do not have to prove myself or fight laws to be with, marry and have children with the person I love.
I hace tried to share some of this with friends and family. Mostly I am met with indifference or “I could never watch that”. I will admit its difficult to stomach some of the harsh realities of our world, past and present. I feel it is necessary, for me, to know about these things.
Sometimes I escape my life to be someone else, and when I get back my life seems pretty good.
What is your favorite documentary, biography or historical fiction? Did it change your life?
An Awkward Mother.