What Game of Thrones taught me about myself.
Watching films and TV really does help me understand, form and shape my identity.
I have resisted for a long time to watch Game of Thrones, mainly because I didn’t have Sky and everyone else was watching it. But recently we have got Sky, while at a loss and still mourning The Sons of Anarchy, I thought I would give it a go. I’m only on season 5 and I still don’t know what’s happening really but am quite liking how while the men are all fighting over the throne, the female is quietly leading and gathering her own army and dragons – my kind of woman. But that is not what I want to talk about here. I want to talk about how so often I watch something on TV and it reminds me of a part of me, a forgotten part or allows me to think about and expand on another part. Watching films and TV really does help me understand, form and shape my identity and I think they do for others too without really knowing it.
Don’t put me in a box…or actually on the other hand.
And the films and shows that I am addicted to mostly involve putting yourself into a house or group, choosing sides and identifying with those characteristics (In fact a lot of the most successful franchises have this kind of premise). I am a person that pretty much sees myself as indefinable, so my investment in having to choose one thing over another is perplexing to say the least. I know that we don’t like being put in boxes or sorted into one type of person and I get that we are multi-faceted people and we don’t fit in one box. But if we look at those boxes as a way to help understand and clarify parts of ourselves, then without letting them box us in they can be very helpful.
These films and shows, aimed at teens, are fascinating; they require us to make a choice, to commit and to claim parts of ourselves and a choice made wrongly or one path taken over another leads our life in a different direction. From the Disney princesses we find ourselves drawn to as children, to the Hogwarts House, we are sorted into these things all help to shape our identity and in a world where it seems to be that only one type of person is acceptable, I think these shows can help us see there are other ways, many ways to be powerful.
Is a Slytherin really more powerful than a Hufflepuff? Is being Targaryen really cooler than Lannister?
Shows like this teach us that all have their pros and cons and all need each other to survive.
As a rebel all my life, I have often been called difficult, challenging and a host of other unmentionable words. I was always made to feel wrong for my rebellion, my aggressive passion and my over-ability to speak up and I have to admit to being someone who hold grudges and plots revenge, often down to the finest detail, not that I spend much time doing that now. Watching Harry Potter and recognising the need for Slytherins in the world helped me make sense of this. Realising that I was definitely in Dauntless in Divergent helped me shape my bravery and courage and be proud of it and currently debating if I would be a Targaryen or a Stark is helping me make sense of myself even more. Boxes are only boxes if we allow them to feel so. Honing in on certain qualities we possess, figuring out what courage means to us through a story narrative, realising that we have many masculine traits through a Disney Princess and realising that we are obsessed with the aggressive commitment of dragons and the loyalty of wolves are all good things. They all help us shape and form ourselves.
TV shows can help us find ourseleves.
We are complicated, we are multi-faceted. Parts of ourselves get lost and unclaimed and we can find them. Some find them in journals, reflective practice or meditation. Me, I find them in stories. Stories of the weak, the brave, the bad, the ugly. Stories of good and of evil. Personal development isn’t something that can only happen when we have a pen and a worksheet in our hand. It is everywhere if we allow ourselves to go where our passion is, if we allow ourselves to not think that binge-watching Twilight is a lost cause, if we find Game of Thrones a fascinating and a life-changing experience and if we were so obsessed with Divergent that we watched the first film countless times. These things show us parts of ourselves, shows us perhaps what we yearn for, what our soul requires and the parts that are lying dormant. So next time you find yourself obsessed with a story, be it visual or in the written form, look beyond the perhaps obvious heart-throb actor, beautifully written words or awesome dragons and ask yourself why. Why are you so obsessed with it? What is it trying to teach and how perhaps can you integrate that into your life?
TV really is the best form of therapy.