Welcome to Pop Culture Reviews, and thanks for joining me!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton.
Popular Culture has been a persistent and ubiquitous source of entertainment and influence in our everyday social lives for many decades. The activities in which we engage, the beliefs in which we partake and the achievements we’ve made as a society have all been shaped by the preferences of the general masses. But as individuals, pop culture can affect our lives in different ways.
For me, popular culture has been that undeniable escapism from life’s harshest realities. Seven years ago, I entered a time in my life that would be the most enriching yet hardest journey that I would embark on (graduate school). Little did I know, however, that this juncture would jump-start a long-lasting battle with anxiety…
Now don’t get me wrong… I’ve always been an outgoing person and never afraid of social situations, nor have I suffered from panic attacks (I mention these because they are more well-known symptoms). In fact, being around family and friends is when I was always at my calmest. Instead, I’m referring to those nights at home alone, ready to fall asleep when suddenly, I got a heavy dose of worry which caused me to be up all night. I’m talking about the random times I reflected on my embarrassing moments or mistakes I made 5+ years prior that suddenly haunted me and prevented me from thinking clearly. It at one point even turned into self-hatred because I felt like these were invalid and stupid emotions. Unfortunately, the combination of these events led to incessant heart palpitations even in the most serene situations like studying (something I’ve always enjoyed). But this was nothing to worry about. I could simply “get over it” if I studied or hung out with my friends more, right? Well, the truth is, that didn’t help. And the burning stigma of anxiety only patronized me more which led me to believe that an already difficult situation would be impossible to overcome.
What initially felt like a ridiculous overreaction on my part slowly began to affect my psyche both mentally and spiritually. It even angered me and irrationally so. I would punish myself by working harder, longer hours and pulling all-nighters to “push through.” But that wasn’t the answer. If anything, it only hurt me and – perhaps even more – some of my friendships. I almost gave in, but something in me wouldn’t allow that to happen.
There was too much at stake for me to get in my own way.
So what did I do? I escaped through pop culture… And I didn’t escape in a sense of avoidance; I attacked it full on before it could attack me. I brought my anxiety to the movies. I blasted my favorite albums all of the time. I took anxiety by the nose and dove it into books: graphic novels, comic books, Shakespeare sonnets, The Bible – you name it. But most of all, I wrote. I wrote about my anger, my frustrations, my worries, and even the things I loved: I wrote about everything. You see, I didn’t just want to overcome my anxiety, I wanted to confront and control it. I wanted to shove pleasantries and happiness and self-love in its face. And it’s been the healthiest I’ve been since the day I made that decision.
I’d be lying if I said that my anxiety is gone because in all honesty, even writing my truth and disclosing it for the world to see doesn’t feel like a grand time. But I believe in myself enough to overcome it one step at a time, day by day. I believe that through pop culture and the power of expressing ideas through writing, that these heart palpitations will eventually subside, and I will finally be able to give myself a break by not self-destructing through constantly reminding myself of every mistake or failure I’ve ever made or had in life. And my only hope is that by sharing my short story, I can help someone else who has at one point felt the same.
And so I decided to finally give in and create another platform for me to conquer these feelings. With as many movies I see, books I read, TV shows I watch, and albums I listen to, I find emotional connections with just about everything I engage in. Thus, Pop Culture Reviews was born! This website will be used to provide honest opinions on the sources that help shape our culture and have helped me overcome my anxiety day to day. I hope you find joy and/or comfort in my words, and I look forward to discussions. Thank you for reading, and look out for future posts!
– Brittany 🙂
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