Last summer, I finally watched my first episode of The Walking Dead. I'd been curious for a long time, because the show has been shot all around the Georgia and Atlanta I know. I'd been hesitant to check it out, though, because I'm afraid of zombies. Silly and ridiculous, yes, but ever since nightmares from watching I Am Legend, I try to stay away.
I watched three episodes that first day! I'd completely pulled into the stories of the characters, and it was really cool seeing the streets I drive on tv. I couldn't stop thinking about the show, and I remember looking things up on IMDB and Wikipedia very late that night. Unfortunately, I also couldn't stomach the violence and gore. My friend Chris says it all looks hokey and fake to him, but I can't get past the blood and guts and screams. It just felt real, and even though most of the killing is done to the undead, it also felt wrong. It felt like this wasn't how things are supposed to be.
Watching the show unsettled me in a way that scraped against my spirit. I've been told before that I'm very tenderhearted, and I think it's true. Compassion runs deep in who I am, and while it doesn't always express itself when I'm sitting in traffic, it is something that makes it difficult for me to watch and enjoy violence. I just can't do it.
After those first three episodes, I had to have a serious talk with myself. I had latched on to the plot and characters, and I couldn't keep myself from figuring out the rest of the story, but I just couldn't keep watching the show. It sounds weird, but watching The Walking Dead was bad for me, and not just because of the new nightmares that lasted for weeks. I had to decide to separate myself from the show and abstain, and it wasn't easy. I've since caught up on all the episode synopses, and I still find myself wanting to watch it again, but I can't. I know it's not good for me, and it's my job to protect myself, even the invisible and hard-to-understand parts of myself.
I know that most people aren't like me in this way, but I do want to encourage you to get to know yourself and your limits and then to set boundaries to enable yourself to have the very best life and environment you can. Limits are not a negative thing, and learning to protect them is a valuable skill. Other examples might include staying away from that person who brings out the worst in you or only agreeing to two outings per week. Make protecting yourself a priority, even if it makes you look strange. Remember that you are your own responsibility, and it's a sign of strength and courage to stand up for yourself when you need to. Be brave, and be happy.