I enjoy binge-watching a series: when it has been a bad week, or when it has been a good week, but especially when it has been a bad week and there is something new that I have been eagerly anticipating. I enjoy a variety of genres and will switch around depending on my mood.
Today I binge-watched series 3 of Queer Eye on Netflix while doing some work and washing (laundry is the bane of my existence!). I am not going to write a review the series – watch it yourself, especially if you are a fan of the Fab 5. If you have recently lost a loved one, get the tissues out for episode 6 – Elrod & Sons– where the Fab 5 help Rob, a widower who is raising two small boys. That custom-made cabinet…
Anyway, in the third episode of the series (about the Jones sisters and their barbecue business), Antoni said something that really resonated with me. Tan is about to have high tea with the two sisters and discuss their wardrobe. Antoni has prepared cucumber sandwiches, mini quiches, etc. to go with hibiscus tea. After Tan explains that high tea is something one has in the afternoon in England and that everyone, even the Queen herself, will partake, Antoni responds:
Just sit down and have a moment and actually, like, breathe.
We rarely take enough time to sit and just take a moment. I know I don’t do it often enough as a mum – self-care is not something I am very good at.
Still, I have been guilty of this too many times of late. I have been binge-watching Queer Eye and other television programs and have been on autopilot, just cruising, and not really feeling.
Sitting on autopilot to grieve
Since my Mum passed, my default coping mechanism has been just to keep going. Life is hectic enough, but I think I have subconsciously been trying to make it worse. Ensuring that I was so busy meant that I did not have time to stop and miss her and recognise the feelings of loss and grief. I would avoid falling into a hole.
Binge-watching is just another form of escapism for me. Unfortunately, while it has helped me cope, it has also meant that I have not really appreciated what I have. I have not been present in the now. Instead, I have been in a trance. On autopilot. Numb.
I was doing things because they needed doing, not really because I wanted to do them. Of course, there are always enough things that need doing, especially with a small child. Staying busy has been easy, and more things could be added to the to-do list if it started getting short.
But the ones who have had to suffer through my grief – my absence, my distractedness, my hectic moments – have been Peter and Miss M. That is not fair to them.
I can feel myself crawling out of this funk, but it is still slow going.
Taking tea was something that I did with my Mum, to unwind, to consider, to assess and just to savour the moment. Now, I am trying to revive the ritual.
The motion of taking tea is still important and it is something we should all do, whether it is literally having tea or finding another way to press pause on our busy lives and reflect. Taking time to have tea with my Mum allows me to consider what was, what will be and what I need and want to take with me on my way forward. I am slowly finding my way again and can feel myself breathing and feeling again. Autopilot is off.