Documentaries, Kegels, and Chill
Documentaries have ruined my life.
Ok, so maybe that’s a little dramatic. But they do affect me, and consequently my ability to sleep, eat, read fiction, basically anything that involves freewill. Or breathing.
It’s hard for me to sit still through an entire movie. I may have a touch of (completely undiagnosed) ADD. If the movie isn’t really fucking engaging, I’m only catching about half of the plot as my mind wanders to the 12 books I want to read or the gourmet meal I want to learn to cook or the kegels I’m doing on the couch (and right now).
But a documentary usually grabs me. Even if I don’t agree with what’s being portrayed or expressed, I’m intrigued. I recently watched one defending fracking, to see if I could learn something new, see it from a different perspective. That didn’t happen, but you see what I mean. Someone took the time to put together an hour’s worth of knowledge on a subject that I didn’t even think I cared about until Netflix flashed it across my suggestions, so I have to watch it, right? Hell yes. Netflix-and-not-chill time.
And there are an ass-ton of “experts” with their beautiful passion and clever editing, sucking me into that bleeding heart vortex. The overwhelming amount of shit that we, as humans, have to worry about is maddening. The evils of GMOs and climate change and human-trafficking and Big Pharma and the poor fucking honeybees!! Aaaaaahhhhh!!!!
To some degree, I understand why people want to bury their heads in the sand. We all do it. But I can’t ignore a lot of the fucked up information that I take in, and I have to work really hard to not let anger and worry and fear and disgust ruin my day-to-day life. I don’t want to be a pessimistic bitch who can’t enjoy a vacation without the guilt of my carbon footprint or the new Stephen King novel because I should be reading about blood diamonds. But I also want to live by some standards and with some convictions. Without having to live in a self-sustaining yurt compound (although, I would probably try that as long as they grew their own cocktails).
So where’s that balance? Where’s the care without the fear, the knowledge without the obsession?
Since giving up and pretending to be helpless isn’t an option, for any of us, maybe the only answer is to FOCUS. I can’t have the motivation and time and resources to contribute to absolutely everything that pisses me off, but I can FOCUS. We are all naturally drawn to certain issues that resonate with us, and it’s ok to just focus on those. I seem to get heated over healthcare and women’s issues and nauseous over our food industry. So, that’s what gets most of my brain power that is reserved for those bigger issues. And it makes me feel better that I have many people in my life that have a variety of causes that they are passionate about; Angie and Wendy are animal advocates, Jessica is fighting right now along side immigrants, Tory sits on a non-profit board and lights up when talking about the mission. Love that shit. I don’t have to fight all the fights because my people are also fighting. And your people are fighting. So you can fight too.
Documentaries haven’t actually ruined my life.
They have made me never want to go to SeaWorld or the circus. They have helped me understand our government and other cultures and historic figures. They have made me pissed off and heart-broken, but that’s what happens when you care. As long as that can turn into FOCUS, and we can still enjoy our families and vacations and novels, then it’s ok to get pissed off. It’s ok to care too much.
Let’s balance that with some actual Netflix-and-Chill, no documentaries allowed. Unless undercover footage of chicken farms or climate change data gets your loins juiced up. Then those kegels will have been worth it.