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  • Writer's pictureLaura Ryder

The Weekly Catharsis: Escape

Thanks again to everyone who took part in this week's Weekly Catharsis. Read what was inspired by the word "escape" below.

“Wherever you go, there you are"

“I want to break free; God knows I want to break free”.

I wasn’t born or as my Granny often says “even thought of” when Queen’s song “I want to break free” was released. But it was the first thing that entered my head when I saw the word escape. As a chronic overthinker, I’m trying to get into the habit of going with my initial reactions, at least some of the time

Another reason it probably popped into my head is I have been listening to many discussions and opinions about how life post covid is going to look. In reality, as shops and businesses begin to reopen this week, it seems that it will be more a case of how life is going to look alongside Covid for now. In the initial stages, as some of my friends and I mourned the loss of freedom, we discussed at length how great the first night out was going to be when Covid was over- Almost like a scene in The Sound Of Music where Julie Andrews appears over the hill with her arms opened wide.

 As ridiculous as it sounds, in my more creative moments, I imagined a scene where everyone was sitting mournfully tapping out a tune like “I want to break free”, and suddenly a big announcement, probably a large bell, and we all emerge joyfully on the streets!!!

Definitely, I have been watching too much Tv lately.

As time has gone on however, I have found myself actually really enjoying some of the advantages of a calmer, less hurried lifestyle. In fact, I have found myself in recent days almost dreading the return of some aspects of normal life. Often guilty of trying to juggle too many things at once, or feel under intense pressure and stress, I realise now that I spent too long in that high stress state. That Friday feeling was a rarity for me.

When I think now, I’m not too sure if those late nights & early mornings, were just unnecessary or a result of not managing my time more effectively.? I read lately that sometimes people procrastinate because they believe what they will produce won’t be good enough, but if you do have that perfectionist streak, the key thing to remember is “done is always better than perfect”. I’m really going to try to implement that way of thinking.

In the (in my opinion) amazing movie “The Shawshank Redemption”, Brooks really struggles with life post prison after serving a life sentence. Alone, he dies by suicide shortly after his release. In probably the most famous quotes in the film, another character, Andy repeats “get busy living or get busy dying” as his mantra that keeps hope alive inside him during his stint in prison. While they are different scenes in the movie, I find a common connection. I find both ideas interesting under the idea of escape. To me and I think society in general, we view prison as the greatest deterrent of our freedom. The punishment for breaking the responsibilities we have as “free people”. What we eat, wear, who we see, where we go, what time we wake and sleep is now out of our control. Yet, when Brooks finally leaves prison and unlike Andy’s planned great escape, he is free to go, he simply cannot adjust to life outside. Maybe the difference is unlike Andy, he lost so many daily internal battles, he had no fight left when released. Bob Marley – “Better to die fighting for freedom, than be a prisoner all the days of your life” . I loved the movie because it really made me think about what is freedom? and how gates and metal bars are not the only ways we can become trapped

“The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way” Victor Frankl – Man’s search for meaning.

I’m not for a moment suggesting that the restrictions are similar to a prison sentence, and as I have said earlier, I have actually been very lucky to quite enjoy some aspects. I’m not a frontline worker, and all my family and friends have thankfully escaped so far and are faring well health wise.

Like a heart rate monitor, there have also been some lows and difficult times but to miss quote another 80’s (I think) classic, “I have survived”.

I have been very fortunate to have people and tools to help me get through. Writing here has been one of those tools! For some however, I suspect this has been the most difficult period of their lives.

The road map and key phases are in place so we will not be having a great escape. Nonetheless, we have all been through a period of readjustment and now we will be adjusting again. While we are talking about weeks and months, not decades like in Brooke’s case, it is still a first for most of us.

I neither want to go back or rush forward.

I have spent a long time trying to escape my own thoughts, feelings and reality. I hope that this will not be another failed January resolution

Like the great children’s book, we’re going on a bear hunt – We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we have to go through it.

I have been escaping into daydreams of another life, a path I didn't choose earlier in life.

I didn't choose it for good reason, but now I find myself drifting off to daydreams of it. I've kind of figured out why (and it all comes back to challenges connected to Covid-19 isolation like not being allowed to go anywhere, loss, not getting to connect with people as I could before isolation, and worry about how limited my post Covid-19 world might be), but rational reasoning is no match for a bored, frustrated, cooped up mind hell bent on escaping its present prison. Now I'm a bit afraid that I can't escape my escape. Spending time there is so lovely. But ultimately I can't hang out there forever; my reality won't wait for me for that long.

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