Life after Game of Thrones

Where’s my medal for binge-watching 7 seasons of Game of Thrones in the span of one week? It was technically 2 weeks, but the first week was an episode at a time because in 2017 I had either more self-restraint or more shame associated with this kind of behavior. I know I said 2018 Ashley is all about moderation, but this kind of thing only happens once every few years or so. I tend not to consume much media.

Once I’d finally gotten a hold of all the characters and could follow the show without complete attention, I started watching more out of obligation than interest. Once I started, I had to finish. GoT became 7 things on my mental list that I suddenly had to cross off. I slogged (ok, not really) my way to the end as quickly as possible while still getting adequate sleep, so I’m kind of serious about that medal. Or at least an auto-generated congratulations from HBO Go for watching GoT in near-record time. When I am Queen, streaming services will acknowledge our dedication to their services.

In 2007 I worked as a senior caregiver for filthy rich people in Montecito, California. I watched a lot of television with old people. Who Wants to be a Millionaire is my jam. But one day, I watched some 6-hour special on Michael Jackson. Michael’s mother said that Michael never watched TV because he thought it was a “waste of life.” MJ is my spirit animal. He’d go into the living room where the rest of his family was watching, and say some self-righteous shit about how he was better than everyone else for not watching TV. Something about that resonated with me and I’ve just sort of sworn off TV ever since. Kind of.

I didn’t grow up with TV, video games, or any other screen entertainment. That might be the actual reason why I don’t watch (binge or otherwise) TV very often. And when my family had movie night growing up, unless we were watching my stepdad’s latest gift of The Simpsons on VHS, nine times out of ten I’d grab my share of homemade calzone and go to my room to draw or organize art supplies or do anything but stare at a screen. Why? Because I’m better than you, like MJ. Not really. I’m actually just really bad at following plot lines. No joke. Don’t ask me to summarize anything, ever. Sometimes I wonder if I have an actual handicap that qualifies for Disability.

I finished the season 7 finale today before taking my morning shit. I think that means I’m constipated. Makes sense, considering I’ve been either slumped or holding myself upright in bed for the last week watching a 6 by 10 ft projection of a world I’m now obsessed with. How did I go this long without GoT? And why haven’t I been eating my veggies?

Around the time the first season released, my boyfriend at the time sat me down to watch episode 1 with him. I’ve always been very obedient that way; most screen entertainment in my life is the result of boyfriends loving this kind of thing. Battlestar Galactica, Cosmos, whatever that one show about the blind superhero is called, a few other superhero derived shows, and now Game of Thrones.

But unlike my immediate attachment to the other time wasters (is it a waste though?), I hated GoT. Too misogynistic and violent, I hated how the show seemed to use nudity to get views. Why are these fantasy characters swearing? How unimaginative. So I let my boyfriend finish the show without me. No regrets.

If not for that misplaced judgment in 2011, I wouldn’t have just had the pleasure of escaping my depression so fantastically this last week. I feel refreshed. In a stiff and lethargic kind of way. My body aches and I’m not proud of it. But it’s progress for my mental health.

I had another McDonald’s coffee this morning, for the second non-regrettable morning in a row. At least I left the house. Put on shoes. I’m letting myself slide into whatever. I do actually feel better, though.

When I find myself sinking into melancholy, I have the habit of simultaneously allowing myself to wallow in self-pity and forcing myself to do easy but productive tasks. For example, I make it to the gym and then allow myself to half-ass my entire workout. I make my bed each morning but say fuck it to tucking in the sheets. I write but don’t proofread. And I list things for sale online with no regard for sentimentality.

The first thing I listed was this antique tea mug set I’ve been hauling with me for nearly a decade. The mugs come in a silk box with ivory beaded hinges. I think the mugs were handpainted. My cousin gave it to me Christmas 2010, the year the maternal family got together for Christmas and we did the secret Santa thing. I didn’t drink tea at the time but I’ve loved this tea set and carried it with me on every move since. But in reality, I never use the loose leaf tea infuser part or the lid part. I just use the mugs. And when the mugs are in use, the silk box is an awkward vessel for tea bags, which in my opinion are better suited in their original boxes. Therefore, this tea set is mostly a waste of space. And the sentimentality part? Well, to that I have one word: whatever.

I listed a bunch of other things as well, mostly clothes that don’t quite fit me the way I’d prefer. Or clothes with tags (why the fuck do tags still exist?). And lots of read, but not reread books. A few odds and ends that, if I am being completely honest, were unclaimed leftovers from previous tenants. This morning someone came to pick up this ceramic candle essential oil diffuser thing. Exactly the kind of shit I don’t need lying around in my presence. I listed the leftover bland art hanging in our master bathroom and the weird LED light studio thing I got for a birthday present last year. I want all of this crap gone and out of my life.

Getting rid of shit is one of those things I’ve always done when I feel depressed. Some people drink or smoke pot or cry. But I sell stuff. It’s like this renewed sense of relief everytime I mark a listing as sold and hand off the goods to the buyer. It’s never about making a buck because I rarely make much, but emptying my surroundings gives me this sense of control. And the extra few bucks helps justify the purge.

I do a similar thing when I get bored. I look around and ask myself, what one thing could I get rid of right now? We have this box of shit on our front porch. All the stuff that’s not worth selling. We keep meaning to take it to a thrift store, but we’re only human and humans tend to do things only when incentivized. There needs to be a pain point to take action. The box of crap isn’t bothering us enough to warrant an extra stop at Goodwill. Dropping off a box of donations is never as satisfying as just getting the shit out of the house in the first place. Sometimes I want to leave the box with the trash, but I hate to waste more than I hate that box sitting there on the front steps, but I hate driving to Goodwill donations centers more than either.

It’s been a few hours now since the remains of my $1 coffee turned to garbage water. Even more since Game of Thrones ended. Living in a fantasy world the last week left me feeling totally unprepared for the real world. But now I must peel off or at least change my pajamas and exist vertically. Should I apply for more jobs or allow myself the freedom to do a little more of nothing? I kind of want to just do nothing, with no pressure, not producing anything. I’ve been getting very good at that lately.

Although, I did promise myself that I would get Inbox 0 today. Promises to myself are the ones I tend to keep. Everything else feels so arbitrary and negotiable. But Inbox 0 is on my list and I really want to cross it off.

2 thoughts on “Life after Game of Thrones

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