Seeking the Familiar

I find that when I have major changes in my life, I tend to seek out the familiar. The books, tv shows, and music that comforts me. The food that is familiar, or easy to make (or takes no effort at all). Clothes that are simple and do nothing accept cover the body.

Photo by Mario Azzi on Unsplash

I put a hold on new things, because each new thing can bring a palette of emotions with it that I may not be ready for. When there are changes in my life, I find myself to be raw – fragile and vulnerable. Everything is overwhelming.

In my twenties, I lost myself in K-dramas, and now, in my thirties, they are a place of comfort. Last night I started re-watching A Gentleman’s Dignity, which remains one of my favorite K-dramas to this date. There’s something about it that gives me reason to laugh and truly takes me away for a bit.

I’m re-reading some books I haven’t read since I was a teenager, or younger. Anne of Green Gables, Watership Down, Heir to the Empire, the Redwall series: books I cherished when I was younger. I want to dive into them again.

In music, I always go back to the The Killers or Florence and the Machine, and to go even further back, sometimes Newsboys (the Christian band) or LaRue.

The food I craved most when I was gone was stuffed-crust pizza and Chick-fil-a. I have . . . issues with the kitchen, and so easily prepared foods are my boon. And pizza and Chick-fil-a, particularly, were something I didn’t have access to for awhile. I just wanted the simplicity of being able to eat what I wanted to eat.

Clothes are another thing I don’t easily navigate, I most often find comfort in a simple pair of jean shorts and the Star Wars shirts I got for five bucks from Five Below. Some days, it’s the best I can do. At least I got up and got dressed.

I’ve been in Oklahoma for five months, being discharged from the Army after attempting to go through basic training. I was medically discharged out, and now I’m back home, seemingly spiraling in the wind, a guest in someone else’s home, and basically hibernating as if I was wounded and needed time to heal. Respawn. Rebirth. Resurrect. It does feel like a sort of dying.

When things like this happen, I seek the familiar, and within the familiar, I find home. Even though I haven’t reached home yet, after all of these years, I find home within the shows, books, and music that have been with me for most of my life. Even in a particular scene, or a verse from a song, or a passage from a book, there’s such a familiarity there, the flash of memory that’s so strong it’s almost like Deja vu. Your brain recognizes this scenario so well, that your transported back to when you first heard the song, or saw the show, or read the book.

It’s not a perfect memory. Nor is it a perfect experience. Even your most untainted memories are still effected by all you’ve been through since. But it’s enough, sometimes, to remind you of the good parts of yourself that may have seemed lost, the happy memories, the good bits.

Even if things aren’t terrible, and it’s not terrible, not really, there’s a space you need to inhabit for awhile when a part of your life ends. And seeking the familiar within that space, to me, is as natural as breathing.

I’m curious, do you seek the familiar when life changes? What books, shows, or music do you seek the familiar in? What brings you back so strongly, you can remember who you were? What stories will you keep with you for the rest of your life?

Whatever they are, I hope you can always reach for them.

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