Over-investment in Fictional Matters

Most people turn on their TV, catch up with the latest episode of whatever show they’re watching, and go on about their life.

I don’t know how to do that.

I count down the days until my shows come back on the air. I play promos on a loop. I over-analyze over promotional pictures. I hyperventilate over plot twists. I swoon when characters get together. I marathon shows like my life depends on it.

When my favorite shows are at their best, it sets my heart on fire.

Great episodes leave me breathless and hyperventilating. Watching my favorite characters triumph or fail is a rollercoaster that sometimes feels more real than my actual life. My heart beats and breaks for them, over and over again.

The flip side of loving something this much, just like being in a real relationship, is that it can lift you up as much as it can hurt you.

I’ve sobbed over the death of my favorite fictional characters too many times to count. I’ve walked around with my heart heavy in my chest because a TV plot twist. I’ve mourned the end of a fictional relationship as if it were my own.

Like my hero and role model John Green would say, the characters may be fictional, but your feelings for them aren’t.

Sometimes I wish I could take a step back and dial down on my love for some shows. There comes a point when I’m so invested in the characters, storylines, and episodes that I get upset over insignificant details. Instead of enjoying the ride, I worry about every second of it.

The problem is, there no switch I can flip. No amount of logical reasoning will make me less invested. When I’m in, I’m in.

There have been many occasions when my love for a show didn’t end well. The writers screwed up the storylines, the actors left the show which led to their character’s death, or the network cancelled the show. As ridiculous as this may sound, I carry those wounds with me. Sometimes I wish I could forget about how heartbroken they make me feel.

Then I discover a new show, fall in love with its characters, and my fears disappear like they never existed in the first place.

In a way, it’s a bit of a vicious circle. Even if the show itself doesn’t disappoint, it will end at some point, and leave you gasping for air over how much you miss it.  But in the face of falling in love with a new show and everything that comes with it, I can’t worry about the heartbreak that might wait for me down the line — all I can think is how exhilarating the ride will be.

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