A Remote Control for My Soul
Few people have a second thought about something as insignificant as a remote control. Other than the fact that it provides the ability to change channels, what value does it really hold? My personal truth is that for me, it holds a little too much value. In fact, it is my daily dose of therapy. I believe that in order to stay sane, everyone needs a therapeutic obsession…well, maybe not the obsession part.
My childhood can be summarized in two words: utterly abandoned. Conversations usually consisted of being ignored or verbally abused, so there was little motivation for me to interact with anyone in my home. My saving grace was a small, yet almighty remote control. Just a push of a button escorted me into my fantasy role of “Stephanie Brady”, where my family was normal, and everyone was loved and appreciated. Fairy tale romances were prominent in the world this mystical object enabled me to live in, and so I based my ideas of love solely upon what I witnessed in “TV Land.” To the extent that when it came to having real relationships, I tried to create them using learned behaviors influenced by my battery operated friend.
The unnatural, yet satisfying, relationship I have with the remote control remains today. Judging me is never on its agenda, as it only lies patiently in my palm while it’s permitted to explore the many facets of my personality. Upon terrible days, it’s the comfort that chases my mood away with Princess Diaries or Pretty Woman. And the remaining days, it is the security blanket that tucks me into bed at night and helps me drift to sleep.
Sometimes, however, the remote control can be the evil companion that puts a damper in my marriage. I become so attached to the many feelings of fantasy it brings to me that I withdraw from my husband, and experience feelings of resentment upon any interruptions he might bring. I am angry that he has come between one of my many friendly encounters with the instrument that means everything to me, when in actuality he should have meant the most.
Who would have thought an inanimate object like a remote control could have this effect on someone? My truth is that whether good or bad, I depend on it tremendously. It has been my friend when I had none, my love when I felt none, and the only thing that I cherished for a long time. It allows me the freedom to escape my reality, and in doing so it preserves my sanity.
You might be the person who reads everything your eyes can hold, or someone who feverishly bake muffins at the slightest hint of sadness. But regardless of who you are, I believe that everyone needs to have their own therapies, even if they are sometimes negative. And for me, no matter what I do or where I am, there is always a remote control for my soul.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.