What’s your comfort food? I use that term loosely to mean whatever you go to for comfort.
For me, it’s books. When the outside world feels unclear and incomprehensible, I retreat to an inner world written on defined pages, within known margins, with familiar language. In those leaves, I enter a space of sense and serenity.
The stories themselves may spread far and wide, into unknown terrain, but they are never threatening. Despite the tensions, conflicts and other drama that are invoked among the characters, there is a friendliness to a story, even if it’s a murder mystery. At the end, there is resolution.
Perhaps it is that the events that transpire, the traumas that are inflicted on the protagonist, and the vicissitudes experienced between beginning and end remain at a safe distance. Yes, I get emotionally involved with the hero, but still I know it is not my life. At times of vulnerability in my own life, it is reassuring to follow someone else’s trajectory, to detach from my own for a little while.
The friendliness of a story lies in that, actually – with the distance, a story offers me perspective on my own goings-on. It cajoles me to find ground beneath my feet by walking through a secret garden, transporting myself away from my small and shrinking world into another’s expansive canvas. Inevitably, I find myself relating to one or many characters. This, too, provides solace in that it conveys to me that I am not alone in the great human experiment.
Books are my steady soldiers, always there for me whenever I need them.