Stop me if you can relate… As a child, I would vehemently fantasize about living a life different than my own. I’ve always felt out of place. Things that seem effortless to others are awkward at my attempt. Everything seems off or out of balance, and I’m struggling to make myself fit in to a world that does not feel shaped for me.

Escapism has been my primary indulgence via books, and media for as long as I can remember. Envisioning an ideal existence for myself was merely the next step to fill a proverbial void.

The first alternate reality life I remember thinking of, involved me living in what I lovingly refer to as, TV Land. This place was exactly as described, it was the world inside of our living room television.

I was maybe six or seven years old the first time I tried to go inside our television. And despite my failure, this was not my only attempt.

In a house with one television, six children, and two adults, having a moment alone was a rare occurrence. But I found myself in the living room one evening, unattended, with the tube TV already on. It was a chance moment, people were scattered between the kitchen and the upstairs and I turned my attention to the program. I don’t remember what was playing, and I don’t think it was anything I usually watched, but I saw my opportunity and I tried. I rested my forehead and my hands on the screen and simply willed myself to enter. I knew I didn’t have long, and my eyes were closed in this inadvertent prayer. But nothing happened.

Rather than be discouraged, I evaluated my lack of success and thought about different strategies.

  • I was a child, perhaps it needed to be a children’s program.
  • I hadn’t seen enough episodes of a particular show, so my TV family couldn’t accept me as one of theirs.
  • Magic happens after dark, I needed to be mindful of the time.
  • Perhaps if my parents were asleep in the same room, TV Land would assume I have their permission.
  • Maybe it was like Poltergeist and there needed to be static on the screen.
  • I didn’t have the right outfit for my future character.
  • I needed a catchphrase or rehearsed lines to make my entrance.
  • I need a backstory.

In hindsight, it was very childish endeavour. But I kept trying. Any time I found myself alone in the living room, I tried.

The allure was so strong, and even as a child I knew that visual media was largely fabricated. Even the news is only a fraction of the whole story.

Everyone I saw on television was kind, loving, and supportive, all the time. They had friends, neighbours their own age, and even their own bedrooms. It wasn’t scary, and everyone had a place, a function, and their own screen time! Maybe it’s sad that this still appeals to me to this day, but TV Land holds a special place in my heart and memories. It was a child’s dream of something more, something perfect, and I don’t regret any of my attempts to enter our television.

Only that I never made it in.

But perhaps one day I’ll get over my fear of flying and I’ll go to real life TV Land (aka Hollywood, California).

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