On “Girls” by Lena Dunham

Girls Illustrated by Nina Cosford

I want to watch something raw and real. I want to watch something that punches me in the face and says « Deal with it ! ». Something unapologetic that says it like it is and doesn’t care about messing around with me. Because life doesn’t care, life is raw and unapologetic. It is messy and doesn’t make a damn sens, especially when you’re in your twenties. In life you can’t flee from things and escape into another universe like it’s no big deal. You have to deal with your shit. I want to watch something that forces me to look at my shit and deal with it.

Lena Dunham offered this to me by depicting life as it really is. She enabled a healing process I’ve been avoiding for years pretending I was someone I wasn’t and forgetting who I wanted to become. Even though the characters of Girls are older than I am, their experiences hit home, hard.

Growing up I was under the false impression everyone’s lives were great and problem free and I used to think I was messed up in comparison. This feeling grew on me and I slowly trapped myself into a prison of self hate and anxiousness. I got depressed and since I was denying my implication into the process of getting depressed in the first place, I had no idea how to deal with it. I blamed my relationship with my father for my mental state even though I could have solved it myself by admitting I was where I was because of me.

My depression got me stressed out at the idea of my life being messy and scary but Girlsmade me cherish and long for this messiness. Because this is how life is supposed to be. Life is not an Airbnb commercial in which everyone seems to spend their days in the sun in fantastic, well-decorated and ideally located (and also probably dead expensive) houses. Life is not an Instagram Explorer grid where healthy lunches rub shoulders with amazing landscapes and party pictures. And it’s fucking okay.

Lena’s show made me feel like I wasn’t alone anymore or at least that I was less alone than I thought I was. She made me realize it was okay to like what I liked, to truly be who I was. She gave me the strength to sort things out, to clean out toxicity even if it meant stop being friends with someone you’ve known, deeply loved and cared for, for a long time.That it was okay to put myself first and maybe hurt someone in the process if it meant getting better.

But most of all, Girls made me realize it was okay not to be okay, because nobody knows what the fuck they’re doing with their lives. Or even if they do, at some point along their journey on earth, they’ll get lost and feel like they have no clue why they’re doing what they’re doing. Because this is what being human means, to get lost and find yourself in the weirdest and scariest of ways and to grow thanks to all the shit you put up with.

Even if I can definitely bear witness of my improvement in the past two years, my mental situation is far from being resolved. I still get swamped in my depression from time to time, with no way to to prevent it from happening or at least not that I know of. These moments of distress don’t answer to logic or reason and neither do I when I fall into their trap. This is what it feels like, a trap, closing on me and taking away my ability to see myself as a lovable and capable human being. Stuck, I slowly drown into the darkness that becomes my mind and then, I’m blind and unable to see anything clearly. I then enter a period of reclusion during which I’m convinced everyone is better off without me, convinced the only thing I’m able to do is to be all Ouragan Katrina on the people I love and destroy everything in my wake. I then push them away in a deep conviction that I’m saving them from me, that they deserve way better than my fucked up self.

Depression steals my will to be, my will to do. It steals my dreams by convincing me I don’t have what it takes to pursue them, that I’m not good enough. Its voice is strong and convincing, almost reassuring sometimes.That’s why it’s so hard to get away. Its words seem to speak the truth and it tells you what you want to hear. Because the truth about depression is that it gets comfortable. Once you get used to it, it gets cosy, it becomes a safe place, a shelter. You know you’re in for a ride but you know the road by heart and you could follow its turns into the blackest of nights, your lights off and your eyes closed.

It doesn’t mean you know how to handle it though. You don’t. You can try slowing down the car but the road will still turn anyway, sometimes gently, sometimes abruptly, without you being able to do a thing about it. You can’t rebuilt the road, it’s set in stone. But you can learn to change your itinerary.

I got depressed because I thought I wasn’t good enough once. Everyone experiences this feeling at some point. The only difference lied in my inability to move on. I started comparing myself to everyone who crossed my path, to blame myself for not being cool and edgy enough, like the characters from Skins UK renown at that time to be the common definition of cool. Girls brought me the representation I needed since the moment I realized I wasn’t anything like a Skins UK character and couldn’t relate to any of their problems anymore. It provided me with complex characters, well adjusted but still messed up in their own ways, to which I could relate to. They made me realize how cool it was to stop caring about being cool. And suddenly, I felt relieved.

Since I didn’t feel like I had to prove anything to anyone anymore, my depression had a hard time finding ways to grasp my ankle and decoy me into its warm and yore comforting murky depths. And for the past six months, I haven’t crossed its path as much as I used to.

Girls made that happen. Lena Dunham’s way of telling sometimes painful and awkward stories in the most honest of ways made that happen. She made it possible for me to accept imperfections, to praise obstacles and to own my moments of self-doubt as a part of my journey into becoming a grown-ass and stable woman. And for that I’ll forever be grateful.

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