Afraid of the Dark

I’m afraid of the dark.

No, not the dark when the lights are out, the normal usage of ‘dark’; instead, I’m somewhat afraid of the reality that is around us that is anything but trite, happy flowers and easy chick lit. I’ve always attributed my preference for ‘easy’ reads to the fact that I’m often on a plane and hate to be depressed, yet in reflecting upon my choices for most media, I think it’s a bit more pervasive than just that. I choose books with lovely, pink covers, ones that touch upon topics like being single in your twenties or pregnant in your thirties; every now and again I’ll tackle something a little bit more serious, but 9 times out of 10, it’s NOT on Oprah’s book list; it may even be too trite to make Kelly Ripa’s.

It’s the same with movies. I’ve never seen "Saving Private Ryan" or even "Million Dollar Baby"; blood and guts and violence and, well, reality just aren’t my bag. I prefer "Serendipity" or "Say Anything" or hell, I’ll admit it, anything that stars Reese Witherspoon instead. It doesn’t say a lot for my avoidance of the real issues, I know, and yet I still harbor my own predilection and let’s face it, I’m not apt to change any time soon.

Yet this morning, while taking the train in from the city, I found myself reading the only book in my library that I hadn’t yet started, "A Million Little Pieces" and after just three pages I had to stop. It was far too intense; the reality of a drug addict’s first days in blunt, blemished language turned my stomach. This reality was just TOO REAL, and reading it was painful.

And yet, knowing this about myself, I made myself continue. And it’s hard…this book is testing every desire I have to put it down and banish it from my life – it’s that graphic. I hate that someone has gone through this, hate that it’s representative of a side of life I’ve never seen (one I hope I will never see) and the brash truth of James Frey’s writing is an abrasive change from the innocuous literary fluff that I’m so used to. I need it, though, I need to see this and feel this and experience this. One can’t live in a bubble forever.

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