No, this isn’t about my wardrobe of black. I put that down to a laziness, a lot of tattoos and the inability to understand what color goes with what.
No. This one is about murder.
I’ve never been one for horror or scary stuff in general. I’ve never watched a Saw or Jason movie, NCIS or even Law and Order. Just not my bag. Who needs to be reminded of life’s grimness?
However about 12 months ago I noticed my reading pivoted away from my usual mix of lit, adventure and chick lit towards the darker end of the spectrum. Lured by a recommendation from a friend (In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware.. bloody brilliant), I started gobbling up true crime, detective stories, thrillers and all things murderery. It didn’t trouble me too much – it’s not like I was taking pointers – but when my Kindle recommendations listed 283 books about murder, I did have to wonder what was going on.
Then came the podcasts. I put down my comedians, the NPR stalwarts and then finally I abandoned everything (except Dan Savage) in favor of true crime storytelling.
Just so you know. It’s a thing.
My Favorite Murder, Case Files, Last Podcast on the Left, Sword and the Scale, Criminal, Unsolved Murders, True Crime Garage..my iPhone looks like the library of your neighborhood psychopath. Stories of mysterious disappearances, unsolved crimes and of course, the cherry, the serial killers.
Yes. I know how that reads.
Some might say that I’m obsessed with death, or horror, or reveling in others misery. Others might conclude that giving power to the worst of humanity by revisiting their terrible acts. Personally I know listening to the stories of suffering puts my life, my worries, into perspective.
Plus it calms me down.
Knowing that I walk in the woods on my own, meet strange men for drinks on the regular, drive cross country at 3am and still haven’t been murdered .. well it makes me calmer. I don’t feel invincible. I certainly don’t feel safer. But I do feel calmer about life. Especially the bad stuff. Because no matter what, I wasn’t kidnapped at 14 and stored in the family basement for 19 years. Nor was I asked to help someone with a broken arm carry something to their car. And for now, I’ve not met anyone who wants to wear my skin. And that makes life a lot more ok.
So screw that therapy, those meds and waking up at 2.20am to obsess about what you forgot to do. Get some true (or fictional) crime in your life and you’ll sleep like a baby.
(or you’ll stop the leaving the house. Its kind of crap-shoot honestly).