Selling Our Grief
Dominique Matti

I would definitely agree that watching trauma on a tv show sells the idea that it can be contained.

I’m not so sure it mostly sells resolution. Look at a lot of the shows of the last decade and half. Walter white. Don Draper. True detective. The Night Of, Shameless, Broadchurch, American Crime, The Americans, Orange is the New Black, The Good Wife and more.

They are either eaten alive by trauma or simply accept that this is the new normal.

I think people are so enamored with trauma in tv because it allows them to release the emotional grief they bottle up in a controlled setting where at the end of an hour, if they are feeling overwhelmed, they shut the show off and their emotion too.

This was a coping tactic I used for much of the last decade when I didn’t understand how to deal with my PTSD, childhood trauma, and concussions.

I think art is by its very nature vulnerable. Of course you have entertainment that is all about the pursuit of a pseudo happiness and instant gratification. But that is not art as much as its manufactured pleasure.

I think watching or reading about trauma that is real and vulnerable allows us to give name to the struggles we are filled with but are not yet ready to name.

This is especially present right now because we have become anemic to going through a struggle and doing the hard work of becoming a little less traumatized today then we were yesterday.

The thing is, learning someone else’s story can help us confront ours if we choose to be brave enough.

Even this article brought up a lot of the things in my life I still must address and you gave me clarity on ways to do that.

But many would rather take a shortcut, release the anxiety through someone else’s story then go through the process of addressing it.

Which means anyone making your struggle a marketing headline, is someone perpetuating the distorted idea that avoidance and quick relief are best way to deal with trauma.

Consider the example of Pixar’s Inside Out. Though dulled down for a child audience, it is story of coming to the understanding that struggle and sadness are a necessary part of our life. Happiness all the time tends to make us less open to change.

Trauma bring with it struggle. That brings about a humility, that if used correctly, let’s people in to our struggle. It allows them to love on us and bear some of the burden. And with a little relief, we can find a way forward.

This article was definitely worth the money I pay for medium membership. Thanks for your words Dominique Matti.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.