Escapism

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I wrote this on the 17th of January 2014. I just thought it was interesting because five months later I've actually finished my Leaving Cert and I have graduated. Hopefully you'll like it! This was originally supposed to be my entry for a theme on rookiemag.com but I completely forgot about it. Enjoy!

I’ve dreamt of escape in many shapes and forms. From escaping to fantasy worlds in my mind, an ideal world, to escaping from maths class, to escaping from my little town in Ireland. Escaping reality is something I do regularly when I’m at home, and my maths homework is sitting in front of me. Maths, maths, maths, I’d do anything to escape maths. Escapism is part of my life for the littlest of things to the biggest. I can’t escape as much as I could when I was younger, but I try to escape the responsibilities I have with various methods. My favourite place to escape to is my imagination. I mean when you think about it, it’s so easy to distract yourself from the outside world by just daydreaming for a while.


I escape through books, I think anyone who is a reader will understand exactly what I mean. I escape to places I’ve never been to, escape the obligations I have, the stress I feel sometimes. There are so many books I’ve read about escape, for example, “The Secret Garden” or “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”.



“Each book was a world unto itself, and in it I took refuge.”

― Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading.


“Do the children who prefer books set in the real, ordinary, workaday world ever read as obsessively as those who would much rather be transported into other worlds entirely?”

― Laura Miller, The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia.


And then my favourite quote on escapism from Neil Gaiman:



“People talk about escapism as if it's a bad thing... Once you've escaped, once you come back, the world is not the same as when you left it. You come back to it with skills, weapons, knowledge you didn't have before. Then you are better equipped to deal with your current reality.”

― Neil Gaiman

I’m a country girl at heart (a culchie in Irish slang) but it’s nice to escape from the rural area that I live in to the bustling city. For some, it may be the other way around but most of the time I’m glad I live in the country.


Music, music, music. Imagine how boring it would be if there wasn’t music? A song that seems to match exactly how you’re feeling at any moment of the day. For me, there’s nothing like escaping to a world completely fuelled by instruments and the lyrics someone else has written. As I’m typing this I’m listening to “Love Like This” by Irish band Kodaline. Like most people, I have a shower playlist, happy playlist, sleepy playlist - the list goes on. I guess music is one of the main methods of escapism I use. I’m in my final year in school and at the end of this year, I have to do the Leaving Cert, the Irish equivalent to the SATs. So any form of escapism is welcome, to keep the frustration, fatigue, and stress at bay.


I googled escapism to see what I would pull up. The Wikipedia explanation reads: “Escapism is a mental diversion by means of entertainment or recreation, as an "escape" from the perceived unpleasant or banal aspects of daily life” I definitely use escapism to escape my daily life.

Even if it’s a ten-minute walk by yourself, it’s a great idea to escape and give yourself some alone time.

Sometimes I like to escape when things get too much, or when I remember that I’m leaving my teenage years next year and the startling reality that I AM in fact growing up, not staying forever young like Peter Pan and The Lost Boys. It’s a scary feeling. But to me, the word escape itself screams out adventure. It means getting out, liberating yourself. I don’t know if I’m the only one who feels this way, but I just think of boarding a plane without knowing where I’m going, for a bit of spontaneity. You know those moments in lots of films when one character says to another “Let’s get away from here”. That’s how I feel about this year. I’m escaping my childhood, I’m escaping from the restrictions of secondary school, and escaping into the big outside world. I can’t imagine how it’ll feel when I graduate on May 23rd of this year. I feel very young and very old at the same time.


As I said I’m very close to escaping the world of secondary school, and moving on to college, a place of adventure, new beginnings, freedom in a sense. I suppose I have to realize that I can’t escape right now, but the feeling of having the chance to escape just at my fingertips is more than enough to keep me going for the next five months. What I’m trying to say that it’s more than okay to want to escape, it’s okay to want to release yourself from all responsibilities and just lay there and forget the world.



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