The Sweet Es­cape

S/ - - CONTENTS - SAHAR NOORAEI Ed­i­tor-in-Chief sahar.nooraei@con­tem­po­me­dia.com @SSTYLEMAG

As a pro­fes­sional day­dreamer,

liv­ing in my own head is what I’ve al­ways done best. It’s what brings me respite from every­thing I find te­dious and dull. Al­low­ing my imag­i­na­tion to run free— un­in­ter­rupted—has been cru­cial to my per­sonal growth and un­der­stand­ing of my­self, not to men­tion my ap­pre­ci­a­tion of and un­der­stand­ing of oth­ers. This might sound ex­haust­ing, but to sim­ply sit down and think can be re­ally calm­ing.

As a child, I had an ob­ses­sion with the num­ber three and ap­plied it to var­i­ous as­pects of my daily rou­tine: wash­ing my hands three times, lock­ing the door three times, check­ing un­der my bed three times, and cleans­ing my face three times. All in all, I was a bit of a dis­as­ter dur­ing this pe­riod. I had no clue what my prob­lem was and nei­ther did my par­ents—I would fi­nally have a name for my disor­der a decade later. My “love” af­fair with OCD started around age 10. De­spite the night­mare I was liv­ing, I knew I had to keep it to­gether and not un­ravel. I also knew that since no one in my fam­ily un­der­stood my bat­tle, I was in it alone and had to fig­ure a way out of it my­self.

Mu­sic is what re­ally saved me and helped me dis­con­nect from my over­whelm­ing disor­der. I was blessed with an older sis­ter and brother who both had great taste in mu­sic. My sis­ter would put to­gether epic mix­tapes, which would later be­come CDs. Depeche Mode, New Or­der, The Clash, Tori Amos, Dy­lan, Co­hen—the works. I started lis­ten­ing and med­i­tat­ing on the lyrics and mu­sic. The way these artists ex­pressed their thoughts and feel­ings re­ally in­spired me, made me dream of a life be­yond OCD, and, over time, helped me man­age it in an ef­fec­tive way. By tap­ping into their songs, I cre­ated an­other world in my head, far from my re­al­ity. This men­tal ex­er­cise would go on to guide me spir­i­tu­ally and con­tin­ues to spark my best ideas.

Through this ex­pe­ri­ence I learned that es­cap­ing with pur­pose can be re­ally pow­er­ful. Let­ting your mind travel boosts creativ­ity, sense of self, and soothes your soul. In our lat­est hol­i­day is­sue—the last one be­fore we ring in the New Year—we wanted to ex­pand on the var­i­ous ways we flee the ev­ery­day, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the hol­i­days. For some, this is a time filled with joy­ous fam­ily re­unions, while for oth­ers—with fam­ily not within reach—it’s an op­por­tu­nity to ex­pand their hori­zons and travel some­where new, or merely gather for a big dance party.

Wher­ever you might find your­self this hol­i­day sea­son, I hope you un­apolo­get­i­cally do what makes you most happy and es­cape from the mun­dane.

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