You wanna know something really weird?
I mean… Weird, weird.
You’ll wanna sit down for this one.
I don’t watch movies or TV. In fact, I used to hate the idea of sitting down to watch anything at all!
Spooky, right? Television is a part of many of our lives, especially in our dearly beloved America! People look at me funny, dismiss me, or even look at me like I’m crazy when I mention this part of myself... I can hardly blame them! It’s weird to step out of the room when everyone’s watching Family Guy and work on my phone. I’m the first to readily admit that.
But hear me out… It all started in my childhood!
When I lived at home, video games and television were our lifeblood. They were a part of our lives at birth - I remember watching what mom and dad put on for us and them! I remember playing video games and watching them play video games. We were the “technological natives,” as our dad would say. If we missed a day of entertainment, we complained, threw fits, and even started crying like it was the end of the world! We liked our TV, I tell you!
My parents recently told me that we used to watch the same Veggietales tapes over, and over, and over again, day after day after day! We didn’t grow bored of them, we just wanted Larry the cucumber and Bob the tomato to sing silly songs for us again. There was hardly a time when we weren’t being entertained, and when we weren’t, we wanted to be.
We began to grow older, and the technology trend didn’t go away, it just changed its shape. We grew into shows like Yu-Gi-Oh and Dragon Ball Z Kai, and video games like Mario Kart Wii, Super Mario Sunshine, and Lego Star Wars (the second one will always be better than the first. Change my mind!). We slowly began to enjoy what we put on more-so than enjoying what others put on, and this led to some disputes about what we should watch and at what time. It also meant that I watched a large variety of kid shows, adult movies, Christian films, and the like. We kept changing our tastes and preferences as we grew older but we never, ever stopped watching our shows and playing our video games.
And, honestly, we liked it that way. We were kids, we didn’t know any better! We loved being immersed in entertainment, and we wouldn’t have changed it for the world!
But then, it began to catch up with me. I graduated high school, and I suddenly found myself in the real world… With nothing. No friends (they all moved away by that point), no confidence, no self-esteem, no social skills, and no marketable skills. Oops… I messed up. Big time. I remember being a month or two into my first job and thinking, “I should have thought about my behavior and changed it before I got this job. I should have been more responsible and productive with my time. Now I have a lot of ground to make up…”
And oh boy, did I. Learning how to do the job itself was fairly simple, I was just a dishwasher, but learning how to work with other people every single day was… Well, very difficult. It was nothing like I had ever experienced before (my parents decided to homeschool us, which greatly limited our experience before I left). I was embarrassed and humiliated beyond belief many times, too many to count. I had trouble making friends outside of work, I was struggling to understand why I didn’t start learning these things when I was younger, and at times, I wondered if I would ever “catch up” to everyone else and be as stable as they were!
To add to it, this was when I met my first girlfriend. I was roughly 18 at the time, and I look back on our relationship with a sad tone on my face. If only I knew what I knew now, if only I had the confidence I have now… But, I digress.
The job eventually fell through (as did the two of us). It was wintertime in my little tourist hometown, which meant work was very scarce. I ended up moving out of state and working in Texas, away from my friends and family, for 2 full months. To say I was frightened when I started this adventure is a severe understatement. I was shaking in my boots! I slept in my car, worked 18 hour days at times, and made friends with my new co-workers in Midland, eventually going so far as to hang out outside of work. I even began flirting properly, and women were starting to show interest in me with their winks and giggles! However, I quickly realized the job was a sinking ship, so I jumped into a lifeboat and made my way to the big city!
Moving to Austin triggered something within me. First, I realized I was a depressed mess. Second, I knew this was the time to really improve myself and to cut down on the entertainment as much as I possibly could. I realized I could be using social media more constructively, and that I could use it to help me gain confidence and self-esteem. So, I did. For a long, long time. I put away the games, I put away TV, and I kept YouTube to a minimum - now was the time to make money, heal myself from the inside out, and make something of myself
Countless hours of television and video game time later, I learned the value of having almost no entertainment at all!
Waking up and playing no video games and watching no TV became the new normal for me. If I did watch something, it was often an informative "how-to" video on YouTube, or a small Super Smash Bros. Melee match - nothing like the gargantuan amount of entertainment I was consuming before! It was a small adjustment that was hard to maintain back in the day. I worked as a delivery driver, weaving in and out of traffic daily, and I got to know the city very well! I slowly worked on my depression and my anxiety. I slowly built a sense of self by working, reading good books, and participating in intellectual matters. I slowly realized just how bad my childhood was, judging by how I felt and the beliefs I had about myself. I felt lost at times… So lost. Wondering if the pain would ever lift its weight and leave me be.
I remember that fateful day, October 25th, 2019. I woke up, and I had saved almost $8k from my independent contracting gig. The traffic was extra dangus since it was Friday. I felt terrible, and by terrible I mean fearful, anxious, sad, insecure, depressed, and lonely. I didn’t want to work that day, and I could have afforded to take the day off if I wanted to... But something within me told me to work, and I obeyed. But, sure enough, I was in so much pain that I wasn’t paying attention, and I made a risky turn into the grocery store parking lot. It was my first, real accident, and deep down I knew it was completely my fault!
In retrospect, I should have had clear-cut, confident goals for that time of my life. If I did, I wouldn’t have made that risky turn... I would have driven correctly, made my money, and be roughly $20,000 richer than I am right now (I had to buy a new car, and since it was legally deemed my fault, everything came out of pocket… Plus the endless repairs). I still had a lot of healing and confidence-building to do, but I understood that a large part of the problem was the countless hours I spent in front of the TV, hours I could have spent doing something so, so much better. I also wished that my parents helped me with these things instead of simply standing by. Hatred and anger began to form inside me as I sat in that hotel room and waited for the dealership to confirm my purchase.
I grew to despise it. I grew to be anti-television and anti-video game, and I stayed that way for a long time afterward. I dealt with the repercussions (still am, really) and I decided to keep going with what I was doing. I started CBD Reliefs (soon to be renamed It’s A Green World) as a way to change my life, which turned into an incredible journey that I'm (very grateful to be) a part of to this day!
After working some more and after I decided what I really wanted, things started to get better. I read more books, and I began to arrange my belief system the way I wanted it, even during the pandemic. I continued to write, and I began making music. I took on new kinds of work, and I made new friends. I learned how to speak and (hopefully) how to write more fluently. I learned how to interact with others in a pleasurable way, and I was making great progress in alleviating my depression and resentment! I was learning how to love and how to appreciate the finer things in life. I even started writing a book (which I'm still working on over a year later)! My life was turning out exactly how I wanted it to, and I wouldn't have had it any other way!
By the end of 2020, I fully realized that entertainment and emotionally-damaging parents had ruined my childhood and that, nonetheless, I had practically made a complete u-turn with my life. I was more than I ever thought I could be! 2020 was my year, all things considered. I made it through some pretty tough things (like being hit with a $9k accident bill. Whoops!), and I became more confident than (almost) anyone I've ever met in my entire life! And that's pretty cool if you ask me. I can sit now and say to myself, "you did a really good job, Gabriel. I mean that. Good work!"
And, something else began happening too. The more confidence I gained, the more and more I began to appreciate television for interesting reasons. Certain actors and characters, genres and events, really stuck with me. Not only did I enjoy the show they gave, but I wanted to learn from who they were as an actor/actress, as a person. Some people had certain qualities that I wanted, so I began watching TV for a different reason than before - this time, to truly appreciate and learn from what was happening in front of my very eyes. These people were incredibly helpful in my (ironically enough) anti-television phase, and I still act out some of their qualities to this day! And, my newfound confidence meant I could watch for 30 minutes before going back to my busy day without feeling like I didn’t watch enough. I still consider that an incredible milestone!
John Wayne in The Comancheros, Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock Holmes, Robert Downey Jr. in the Ironman series (Avengers as well). Marylin Monroe, Jodie Foster, Vivien Leigh. These people and more struck me when I observed them, and they’re the reasons I watched the movies they acted in. They’re the ones who gave it life, they’re the soul of the whole operation! So, since this method of picking and watching TV shows has served me so well in the past, it leads me to my first recommendation, one that I treasure very dearly:
1. If you enjoy a TV show/movie, pinpoint who you enjoy the most and watch more movies with those actors and actresses. Watch media with people who are similar to them. Also, watch more of the same TV show/movie series!
Following this formula has been extremely helpful because it lets me watch people I enjoy watching and learn from people I enjoy learning from without self-judgment! How could I pick up Robert's sense of humor if I didn't watch the Ironman series… More than once? How could I learn to think like Sherlock Holmes, or gain insight into how the famous seductress did what she did? I couldn’t have done so if I didn't watch more of the same and look for other shows with the same kinds of people!
Doing this also led me to ask myself the question, “why would I watch a pre-made movie when I can play a video game and have control over my character, and therefore, the outcome?” A large part of the answer is, “because I enjoy watching others and learning from them!”
For example, Sherlock Holmes led me to Doctor Sleep, (the official sequel to 'The Shining'), where one of the children is gifted with psychic powers and loads of intelligence. Ironman led me to Guardians of the Galaxy so I could appreciate the hilarity of Chris Pratt. Marylin Monroe? She led me to go study other people all across the internet (since there weren’t many people like her on television I knew about at the time) in search of answers to the questions she rose within me. With every quality I wanted to adopt, I (usually) had to watch multiple films with the same person, then multiple films with the same general characters to develop a well-rounded, complete understanding of what I was looking at!
No, I don't search based on genre, or simply because I'm bored. I search based on the actors and actresses I wish to watch, study, and learn from for my future benefit! Watching cinematic productions with this mindset is very productive, and highly enjoyable since I value progress and becoming a better person as I go along! I highly encourage you to do the same as often as you feel you should!
Perhaps you're thinking… "Shoot, what a beginning… He’s gonna calm down a little bit now, right? Surely this weirdo has spilled the beans and revealed the full length of his insanity within the first 2,000 words… Right?”
2. Take your favorite movies/TV shows, and watch their exact opposites!
I know, it sounds crazy!
Don't let me bore you with the scientific studies - we love novelty and we're scared of it at the same time. If you're into Rick and Morty, like I am, you may cringe at the idea of thinking of an 'opposite,' let alone go watch it! And, that’s completely okay! But, it may also pique your interest enough to watch it… A lot of it depends on you!
Perhaps you’re wondering, “why are we scared of it?” Paradoxically enough, we're also creatures of habit. When we find a show we love, we'll stick to it until it's finished, and then we'll want more! We get engrossed in it, we get wrapped up in the drama, the story, the emotional significance that comes with the grand finale being revealed… Also, the funny parts become funnier the more we relate to the characters!
What this means is a balance between old shows and new shows, old movies and new movies! Of course, we won’t want to miss Friends, but maybe we can enjoy No Country For Old Men! I’m not trying to insult your intelligence if you enjoy Rick and Morty, but maybe you’ll find some value in a show that genuinely tries to portray its characters in an unintelligent light, like Cheech and Chong, as I have!
If you take one of your favorites, think about which movie or show would qualify as the exact opposite of it, and watch it, you'll be treating yourself to a dose of novelty (perhaps even a refreshing perspective) like nobody's business! Trust me, your brain will biochemically give you a warm hug and a large helping of “thank you!”
Would you like some more examples? Let's say you're a parent and you're watching kids’ shows all day, like my aunt and uncle. You may enjoy watching Hellsing Ultimate, an anime about the conscious vampire killer who is a vampire himself (careful, lots of gore and swearing!). Or, let's say you're watching WandaVision (which I just finished with my family), which is an action, romance, and drama series: consider a mellow, asexual show where there isn't much drama (or a different kind of drama), such as Little House On The Prairie, Monk, or Lost (okay, maybe Lost is a little romantic). There’s a lot of room for creativity since you get to decide what the “opposite” pick is!
Often enough, it doesn't matter if you pick the exact opposite of your favorite show. If you think of watching something and you go "ehhh…." Or even if you say "nope, hard pass..." That, my friend, is the show you should watch. That's the show that's going to give you the most entertainment, the most dopamine, and the most meaning, and the best time, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the moment!
Surely it doesn’t get any stranger than this. Surely we’ve hit the peak, the top of the unconventionality ceiling. There isn’t any better way to search for movies because we’ve already learned how to give ourselves a wonderful surge of peasantry!
3. Research, find out the personalities of different actors and producers. Find the ones who shoot their movies out of love and humor, from a place of consciousness and intelligence… Watch their films over the others.
Behold… The magnum opus of show-searching!
“I love, yet I do not see the love in return. I give, and it is sucked into the void of greed and anger.”
The most profound reason I came to hate movies and TV shows were because most of them are produced out of greed, fear, anger, or hate. After all, if every actor and producer I watched worked from a place of love, I wouldn’t have been influenced so much towards the negative, and I would have had an easier time building my personality and succeeding in life. Many producers only care about money, they don’t mind if their subliminal messaging is harmful, or if their picture is deceiving. They are selfish and detrimental, otherwise known as corrupt. They are not acting from love, or adhering to any meaningful morality; they simply take, and they only give the bare minimum necessary to further their lifestyle. And so, why should I give my attention to those who don't deserve it?
“Love is the knitter’s hands, and we are the yarn. Love knits us together, and yet we are the love that is knit together. We connect through love, we live through love, we laugh through love. Love gives life, and fear takes it away.”
To this day, I do not enjoy watching films or TV shows that were made from a place of greed and spite, fear and anger. I am not the type to say, “yes please, any emotion at any cost, please,” simply because I want the experience. I do not conform to society when it tells me to watch the latest action movie the latest TV show. No, I value love, and I value cinematic pictures made from love, with love, through love. I want love to be the most prominent part of my life… This is why I am very, very selective with which shows I choose to lay my eyes upon, for one wrong decision may make it harder to live a loving life instead of making it easier!
I highly encourage you to value love in all parts of your life, including what you decide to watch for the night. Are the characters in that children’s show saying things out of love, or do they sound like they’re influencing your child in a bad way? Is that romance movie you’re watching made for you, or is it made for them? Do you like what you see when you turn on Revenant, or do you think you can find a better movie? These questions (and more) are, in my humble opinion, very important to ask and adhere to, all for the sake of creating and preserving as much love as possible!
What is your favorite movie or show? What do you like to watch, and what are you thinking about watching? Do some research, find out who the people truly are! Are they loving and kind, or are they mean behind the mask? Are they influencing you in a good way, or could they care less? Answering these questions (and any questions that come up along the way), is the best way to go about doing this. It’s all about love, so if you find they don’t produce for you, you have every right to turn your head away and watch a movie with actors and producers that do!
This process is highly intuitive, and for this reason, I will not give you any specific examples this time; it is something I want you to do for yourself! I want you to show yourself that you value your time and attention instead of following someone’s advice on the internet. I want you to start the process and let the process create a “spike” of love for you while you do it. I also want the enjoyment of your new-found movies to do the same!
Who knows, perhaps this path will show you exactly what you’re looking for! Perhaps you’ll find the movies and shows you’ve wanted to see all along, or even some new ones you’ll be happy you stumbled upon! Perhaps this will even go outside of television and expand into your everyday life, as love is multi-dimensional and ever-giving. I truly hope that love already covers every ounce of your being and that you’re living exactly the way you want to live! I had fun writing this article, and now it’s time to sign off. I hope you enjoyed it, and au revoir!