By India Taina
There is a phenomenon that I like to call “the TV under the rug”. It’s the idea that there is this symbolic television, and everyone has one of their own, fine tuned to them. The TV plays things that need to be addressed in your life, and depending on who you are, those films can range from slightly uncomfortable, but manageable to “Nightmare on Elm Street” level cinematography. What ends up happening to this TV is up to the owner.
Some might choose to put it in a room, not hidden, but in a room where they can access it when they have the space and the energy to dredge up whatever is playing and deal accordingly. These are called healthy people.
Then there are the owners that lock the room, and they know that it is there, they can acknowledge its presence, but they refuse to acknowledge they have the key, or they can admit there is a key but they just aren’t ready to open it. They might even admit to being comfortable or safer having the TV play in that locked room and just kinda sitting on the key until they are forced to open up *cue Law and Order music THUN THUN* These are repressed and most likely depressed people.
Then, the very last level of owners are the most peculiar. These owners don’t have a room at all. The TV is playing, and not only is it playing, it is LOUD. Everyone can hear it. It is blaring and the images are vivid and bright. There is literally no mistaking that this is a TV. But the owner does something so strange and idiosyncratic with this TV, that it often leaves everyone increasingly weary, uneasy, and eventually heavily alarmed. This owner puts a rug on the TV. And when you mention the very large 55 inch plasma television that you heard, saw, and even tripped over on your way into the house, the owner looks befuddled, and says “Why, whatever do you mean? There is no TV under this rug! How very silly of you. Come and have tea.” These people are mentally ill.
Be that as it may, a very FAIR point to expound upon is the notion that, don’t we all have some form of this TV under a rug? How many women can attest to dating a guy, seeing disturbing images on his TV, and putting a rug on it and just moving it into your house anyways. We convince ourselves as follows: “Yes, it might be a TV NOW, but just you wait, if I keep it in this house long enough, put the rug over it, love it unconditionally and water it twice daily, it will *eventually* become a healthy relationship.”
See how crazy this sounds? But it happens all of the time. With our own personal TV’s, with other people’s TV’s, we just put that shit under the rug and hope that it will spontaneously generate into something else. Could I possibly be implying that almost every human on earth suffers at one point or another from mental illness? Yes, yes I am.
And if you disagree… boy, do I have news about your rugs.
So, what now? I got you all thinking about your own graveyard of TV rugs, I can’t just leave you hanging with that image without a road map on what to do about them, right?
*India Taina has left the chat*
Just kidding. The thing is, I’m on my way now to figuring out what to do with this phenomenon myself. The good news for me is, I have my personal TV in a room. Even better is I’ve been practicing locking and unlocking, and the past few months have been mostly unlocking. An arduous process, no doubt, but I do go in often with the assistance of my therapist and I watch the TV. There are times where I get tripped up on a moment, an episode if you will. I’ll replay the episode over and over again, and my therapist will gently take the remote to pause it and ask “Why do we keep coming back here? What about this scene is taking you back?” and we debrief. And believe me, there are a lot of scenes like that for me. Tons. So this process is in no way linear, nor is it fast. I’m just barely into the opening act. But I am watching. And that matters.
In spite of all of this progress, I have found myself freshly heart broken and sad. On my way back to my television room to replay that scene and that episode a million and a half times, I ended up tripping on what I thought was a hitch in the rug. Then I heard the hitch start playing a movie.
Shit. I put his TV under the rug. And now he is gone. So really, whose TV is it now?
The scary thing about this is, what if I keep going past this hitch? What if I dare to pass the hallway to my TV room, and find that there is another TV in the kitchen? And another in the dining room, in the front entrance, and so on and so forth? All of these TV’s, accumulated from past lovers, family, enemies, friends and abusers. All of their TV’s, living in my house. And I am stuck hearing all of them.
That used to be my reality. Countless TV’s all playing at once, and I drowned in them for a very long time. So if you were to ask me, how do you stop it? I am not sure I could give you an answer. I have yet to live a life without the TV’s, so I really can’t tell you for certain what it is like to cease living with them. But I think making a personal room for my own television was the first step.
Then, once I got comfortable using my key to go in and out of my room, I went around my metaphorical house to identify just how many TV’s there were. I tried my hardest not to pay attention to what was playing on their screens and to tune their noises out. I just needed to know how many, and then eventually, find out whose TVs they really were. Now, I am going to give them back. And should their owners refuse to take responsibility for their belongings, I will junk them. That’s the plan, at least.
So tell me, how many TV rugs do you have in your home?