The Safety Blanket
Did you have a “safety blanket” when you were a kid?
How about now?
I have a theory about those little things we always return to when things get tough. The favorite book we’ve read over and over, even when our TBR pile is towering. The movie we always watch again and again, even though we’re paying good money for Netflix! The music we turn to when we’re going through some shit, and it always makes us feel better.
And when I tell people my theory, they’re all like, “Oh no that’s not me! I’m not that overly sentimental! I have never re-read a book in my life!” and then you start to talking and next thing you know it comes out that they’ve seen the movie Airheads 87 times in college because it was the only DVD they owned when the landlord figured out they were stealing cable and cut them off and …
Yep. Safety blanket.
Me, there was a time in college when I couldn’t sleep without listening to The Nutcracker Suite on cassette. I had a cassette player in college, my dudes!!! THAT’S EXACTLY HOW OLD I AM. Now, this cassette tape was The Nutcracker Suite on Side A, and Swan Lake on Side B. So yours truly would fall asleep to The Nutcracker Suite on Side A, then every night before bed, she would pick up her Walkman and headphones (awwww yeah), flip to Side B, fast-forward through Side B, then flip it over to Side A, and be asleep after the first six notes played. Sorry, Swan Lake! You just didn’t do it for me like The Nutcracker did!
And you know how I’ve seen every episode of Law & Order: SVU? And yet I still re-watch old episodes? And when I’m not watching that, I’m watching the Marilyn Monroe movie How To Marry A Millionaire.
I keep a bookmark in my copy of Stranger in a Strange Land, it only moves forward when I return to it — which I have done, maybe seven times? Since reading it all the way through (twice!) many years ago. I am aware that other books exist in this world… but when I think “I should bring a book with me to X place,” that’s the one I reach for.
Minutes after getting dumped last year, I realized I had no idea what to do with myself. So we watched SNL together. And when I moved into my new place, I watched back seasons and old episodes of Saturday Night Live because it was a reliable, gentle, easy laugh. Like seeing a good friend, who I knew would cheer me up.
Let’s talk about The Beatles.
You know those moods where you’re literally just gritting your teeth to hold back tears, so emotionally fragile that you can’t even trust your iTunes “shuffle” not to make you cry on the L train? That’s when I can trust The Beatles. This isn’t to say that their songs don’t touch me, don’t occasionally touch a nerve — they do! But I can trust that the Beatles don’t mean to upset me. For some reason, when it comes from John, Paul, George, and Ringo, I can handle it.
So without even meaning to, I’ve made all of these things into a kind of a “safety blanket” for myself. Something I can rely on to comfort me when I’m feeling delicate.
You know… aside from my literal, actual blanket.
I recommend one of those, too.