Innate Escapism

Sometimes I get lost on Wikipedia trails. You know, doing serious research. If it’s on Wikipedia, it’s true and that’s a fact… trust me, it’s science.

I’ll start reading something, then open a link in a new tab and read that for more context, and then another… And this continues on a sort of “wash, rinse, repeat” cycle until I realized I’ve lost an hour and a half reading all about the history of Russian czars when what I intended to do was look up how accurate the cartoon movie Anastasia was. By the way, I love that movie.

(If my mom is reading this, I can just hear her saying, “See, that is how people get addicted to the Internet! You should quit Facebook and whatever that Twitty thing is.” No wonder my parents put a 1hr automatic sign-off on my AOL account in junior high… AIM was such a social life saver.)

My cute mom and two of my siblings!

Well, recently I saw a tweet from eXile international that said “200 letters to @BarackObama from children orphaned by the #LRA were written today! #empowerment”. The link went to a powerful blog written by a member of the eXile international team who lives in Congo (and sometimes Rwanda, Uganda and Sudan). Their mission is to provide trauma care to help heal the wounds inflicted by war through expressive therapy, particularly in orphanages with former child soldiers.

After I read through his blog, I pulled up a page about the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) and it’s leader, Joseph Kony. Mentioned in Kony’s bio were Yassar Arafat, Yoweri Museveni, the Acholi ethnic group that inhabits northern Uganda and southern Sudan and others. Winding further and further into this mess of pages, many detailing suffering, extremism, political unrest and violations of human rights, I suddenly felt overwhelmed.

Almost immediately, I had an impulse to X out and go look at some of my favorite style blogs. Now, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with style blogs – they are creative outlets for many people who have a love of color and textiles, and an eye for presenting themselves to the world in a polished and fresh-faced way.

What I realized, though, is that in that moment I retreated. Everyone has somewhere they escape to – some healthy, some not so healthy. While this wasn’t an “unhealthy” escape, per se, it was a little reminder to be mindful of inclinations to retreat when things get tough. In a bad job, tough relationship or financial strain, escaping somewhere rather than living fully can really make you numb. Escaping is the easy part, processing is what gives us the capacity for empathy.

“The way you live now, is completely controlled by what you believe about your future.” – Tim Keller

——-

Thanks for bearing with me on a more somber blog, just feeling introspective I guess!  🙂

On a lighter note, anyone have a favorite Wikipedia rabbit trail they’ve been down recently?

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5 thoughts on “Innate Escapism

  1. What a good point on escaping tough moments. I’m definitely guilty of doing this and it’s good to have a reminder of it! I’ve never thought of it the way you’ve described. I will work to be aware of this next time!

  2. I definitely agree with you that reading blogs can become a bit of an escape from “real” life. I think it’s a fine line between a healthy habit and an obsession.

    Luckily, I have friends who keep me in check by sending me sobering articles about real issues- or who write posts about innate escapism 😉

    1. Definitely a fine line! Sometimes it is nice to take a little adventure into someone else’s world, but it can definitely be numbing in the same way reality TV is. No wonder they both have us hooked (guilty). 🙂

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