Side note: I will be writing a separate review of the I May Destroy You series once the season is over. I just needed to discuss some things that have been keeping me up at night.
As a writer, I know that most of my fiction work will end up being semi-autobiographical. It’s a fact that I can’t avoid and even when I try to stray from my own narrative, I find myself leaving bits of myself in every story. I’m still coming to terms with how I feel about that.
My story is not an easy one to tell and I keep finding that the pieces I leave behind in my writing almost always have to do with trauma that I’ve endured. I think that’s why it’s taken me so long to finish a project (I just don’t think it’s fair to put all the blame on procrastination). It’s not easy to break yourself open and allow the public to view the scars you’ve expertly hidden for so long.
Though it’s not easy, Michaela Cole has created an entire television series out of her trauma and it may just be the best thing to come out of 2020. I May Destroy You (HBO) tells the story of Arabella (Michaela Cole), a writer who gets sexually assaulted and the aftermath of how she deals with it. The story is nuanced, it’s complicated, it will make you laugh as much as it will make you cry and you’ll be grateful for it all.
Something that I’ve realized since starting I May Destroy You is that there seems to be a special kind of power you hold when you decide to control the narrative in which your trauma is told. I find myself eternally grateful for the brilliance that Michaela Cole showcased when telling this story and I find myself yearning to tell my own. Which, truthfully, I haven’t felt in a while; for a minute it was as if I was just going through the motions of trying to finish something but I felt like nothing was truly connecting. That’s all changed in the last few weeks and though it’s difficult to put your scars to paper, there’s a weight lifted off the shoulders when you finally decide to do it.
Personally, I love when I know that someone’s work has a little bit of themselves in it. I guess it’s easier to consume the content than it is to create it. Though, if I ever want to actually publish some of my work, then I have to get past all of my hesitations over immortalizing my trauma. Rafael Casal (from Blindspotting and Bad Education) put it perfectly:
I think hearing him put it in that perspective has also helped me a lot. I do a lot of crying when I’m writing, (especially with this novel I’m trying to finish) I ache from the memories and struggle to make my pain consumable. But I am not healing, the healing is done separately and hopefully with a medical professional listening to you (therapy works!). The writing and the creating, that’s just a way to connect with the world. It’s a way to find my purpose and to make something worth sharing with people.
My point is, I love finding art that makes me discover things about myself. I love finding art that pushes me to keep creating and that’s exactly what I May Destroy You does. Every single week, after I finish watching an episode I feel this sudden urge to sit at my laptop and pour it all out. I wake up with ideas already moving around in my head and I haven’t felt this creative in a long time. Here’s to finally finishing something in 2020.
Please watch I May Destroy You. Please note, it is extremely triggering and difficult to watch but for me, it also felt cathartic and healing to do so.