A Sweet Escape
It has been a week. I don’t mean it’s been seven days, I mean it is Tuesday as I’m writing this and in the last few days several things have happened and left me drained, emotionally exhausted and a little rough around the edges. It’s been a week.
It happens from time to time, when life transitions, unexpected events, and other life factors all seem to just collide into a few short days and I’m left feeling a little off kilter, a little raw and just wanting a break. In times like these, I like to seek out something I know makes me feel better, something to soothe and comfort, so even though I just started to read the first Elena Ferrante book, I abandoned it temporarily and sunk back into one of the many satisfying and wonderful adult novels from Christina Lauren.
Fun, smart and sexy, Christina Lauren’s series are roughly the equivalent of a swimming pool full of gummy bears, a piping hot dish of the best mac n’ cheese or a hug from mom. That is to say, these books make me feel better about all sorts of things at any given time. My friends will tell you I do not reread many books, but I have a few of my go-to “comfort-food” reads that I just know will make me feel better.
I think you will all agree with me when I say books are amazing. Without getting too preachy here, books allow us to escape into strange and magical worlds, find friends in characters we would never get the chance to meet, discover truths about ourselves, take risks, connect to something new and so much more all from the safety of a cozy chair. They may not make everything in the real world better, but they give us a chance to take a break, step away from whatever is happening in real life and lose ourselves in someone else, a different adventure. In the case of a reread, they allow us to return to a place we know and like when the world is looking a little unrecognizable and scary. And I don’t care if you read physical books, e-books, fanfiction on the internet or the old notebook pages you wrote in fifth grade, as long as you are enjoying the ride carry on, my friend. Carry on.
I was thinking about all this yesterday, the need to escape and the desire to feel comforted by the familiar. Strangely this thought came to me as I was surrounded by approximately 20,000 people at Madison Square Garden for the Dixie Chicks concert (it was amazing and I highly recommend getting yourself a ticket immediately). As I listened to the opening song, goosebumps climbing my arms, I had a moment not dissimilar to the feeling I get from one of my safety rereads. Here I was singing along to all the lyrics, letting the guitar and fiddle fill my brain and keep reality away.
Now, this might sound a little nutty because a concert at Madison Square Garden is pretty much the exact opposite of reading a book, but the end result was surprisingly similar I felt safe, a welcomed familiarity to all the lyrics I’ve sung a thousand times before and surrounded by people who were enjoying the experience just as much as I was (the drunk lady next to me certainly was having a ball)—I felt connected. I believe firmly we all need this, a place where you find your escape, whether it is by yourself and book, in a stadium of 20,000 you’ve never met, at a dinner with close friends and a good bottle of wine (or four), in a movie theater or in a dance club surrounded by your people.Here’s the thing that kind of sucks, that momentary escape, that feeling of safety can’t last forever. I guess it shouldn’t because life is meant to be lived and bad things, difficult times, unfortunate mistakes—sadness—come with the territory of living (see, I was paying attention to the moral of Inside Out). But it is nice in those moments of relief, places you go, or things you can do that help you find your feet again. We all deserve to have those places.
Where do you turn when you need a little escape? What is your favorite “comfort food” book? Sound off below!