Friday, October 21, 2011

All That is Dark and Twisty

I could tell you I was drawn to FX's new cable series American Horror Story because I loved Connie Britton as Mrs. Coach Taylor in Friday Night Lights but it would be a lie.  Although the marriage of Coach Eric and Tami Taylor (Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton) was a thing of beauty, the unfortunate truth is that I am drawn to anything remotely dark and twisty.  This is a surprise, I know.

Sunshine and Happiness and I don't have cable so I had to intentionally seek the show out on Hulu.  This is a bad, bad, VERY bad thing.  I'm sensitive, an empath, obsessive and an addict.  NOT a good combination.  The question of the existence of evil has caused me distress since my childhood because I always wanted to know "why?"  As there is no acceptable answer to this question, it then begins a nasty cycle of anger, fear, despair, depression, more fear, and onward and downward until I am curled up in a fetal position on the couch afraid of my own shadow.  When I start upon this particular path Sunshine and Happiness will try to stop me by shouting "Honey, go towards the light!"  However, she does have to work at least sometimes, which leaves me alone to my own devices.  

Given where this particular line of thinking leads  you'd think I 'd avoid  dark and twisty like the plague.  Au contraire mon ami.  I am a good alcoholic.  If you advise left, I turn right.  When you caution "I wouldn't drink that if I were you."  I chug it right down.  If you, say, recommend that it might behoove me to avoid, oh, anything I will run right for it.  My therapist calls this a "reverse phobia."  She thinks I'm drawn to the dark and twisty in an attempt to exert some wee bit of control over it because I'm so afraid.  I wonder sometimes where she got her degree.

So today, for example,while reading the paper, I came across this story of a woman who kidnapped disabled folks, chained them to a boiler in a basement, made them live in their own waste and only sometimes fed them, all so she could steal their Social Security checks.  This same woman served four years (four freakin years!)  in prison for the murder of her sister's ex-boyfriend.  She confined him in a coat closet with no food or water until he starved, again so she could collect his Social Security check.  Oh, and her sister heard the guy screaming and banging against the closet door but did nothing to save him.  Yikes!  Sociopaths and our justice system frighten the hell out of me.  And yet I will turn on the TV and watch those horrid police procedurals, surf the Internet for autopsy and accident photos, read true crime stories and movies like Henry:Portrait of a Serial Killer til the cows come home.

So although I should have folded up the newspaper and put it away right then, I did not.

Next up on the news agenda, the story of a woman who cut the freakin fetus from a stranger after clocking her on the head with a baseball bat and binding her with duct tape.  Have I mentioned that psychopaths terrify me?  After this story I did throw the paper away.

However, instead of going to do my morning meditation (like I should have)I logged on to Facebook, you know, just to check in to make sure I didn't miss anything important and someone had posted about the Chinese toddler who was run over twice but left to die in the street by 17 bystanders.   And it was captured on surveillance film.  This video is actually posted at the Gawker site for anyone sick enough to want to see it but even I Queen of all things Dark and Twisty, could not bring myself to watch.  Can you even imagine being present and standing by while doing absolutely nothing as a two year old dies in the street?  The human capacity for apathy scares me most of all.
So watching American Horror Story makes me feel guilty.  Gore, torture, murder, abuse, crime.  This is entertainment?  I read the paper.  I watch the news. I live in the world.  And I know that for some unlucky individuals this horror is real life!  And yet I choose to indulge and end up feeling like crap.  I do know though that I have a choice.  I can choose to fill myself up with the dark and twisty or I can move toward the light, although I'm never really sure on a given day which I'll choose.

Once while at a spiritual retreat struggling with my alcoholism, anxiety, depression and despair I became desperate. Nothing seemed to matter and  I just couldn't pull myself up from the pit.  As I was meditating I asked God for help and I came upon this passage: 

 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure  whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think on these." 
             Philippians 4:8

There it is.  There is the answer.  Ask for help and choose to focus on the light.

And I will.  Right after I watch the second episode of American Horror Story.