It’s currently 1 AM and my insomnia is gotten to me once again, leaving me to stew in a pit of thoughts I’d much prefer to crawl out of, but here we are.
Let’s talk about my current subject of obsession: Safe Zones.
I certainly have heaps of them: The Muppets, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, Dreamworks Dragons, My Little Pony: FiM, Harry Potter….I seem to be partial to the fantasy and just plain silly forms of entertainment Jim Henson and the Western world has to offer.
It’s a bit odd (and perhaps a little sad) that this particular list belongs to an adult woman who will be turning 21 on Wednesday. I’ve seen so many people, whether on Facebook or elsewhere, that have presented their transition into adulthood by ridding themselves of anything and everything childish. Glancing around my room now, there’s a well-used Kermit the Frog shoulder bag hanging to my right, a big toy horse in front of me and my Muppet collection to my left. If someone who didn’t know me were to take a look at this room, they would guess it belonged to an 8 year-old girl.
The funny thing is, I didn’t start accumulating any of this until I was 16. My room was filled with Beanie Kids and toy horses before being replaced with books, DVDs and Muppet merchandise. My room hasn’t changed personality, just general filler. The only ‘adult’ factor of this small space is the university related stuff and my M*A*S*H box set. Even then, the box set of my all-time favourite show has an accompanying plush toy dog. It’s an odd looking thing and I’ve affectionately dubbed it “Radar” since it reminds me so much of Gary Burghoff.
I suppose my room is what you could call my “ultimate safe zone”, as I’m clearly surrounded by the things that help me to escape and defend myself from reality when it becomes a little too much to bear. Some people drink or take drugs, others work out their frustrations at the gym-
Me? I fangirl over things and then write about it…Or in today’s case, write about fangirling…It really does come full circle when you really think about it.
I remember not long after I joined the Muppet fandom, I was at school and during lunchtime, a girl who had been nasty to me in the past came up to try and have another go. I was already stronger in spirit at that point then I had been in the past, but I was still a very lost 17 year-old with body-issues the size of elephants. Which is why, despite this particular day’s attempts to put me down about my weight and unsightly face, my arch enemy was surprised to come face-to-face with “Miss Marni”.
“You’re just jealous because you’re not me,” I had boldly snapped back, “Not everyone can be this awesome. I feel sorry for you.”
Before she could retort, I was already striding away with as much sass as my pasty white behind could muster (which honestly wasn’t much). Once I was out of her sight, I immediately took pause with what was probably a stunned expression. Where on earth did that come from? I couldn’t believe my own nerve. Sassing people wasn’t my strong suit at that point in my life.
But then it hit me…..It was the Pig.
That wasn’t me doing the talking during that little encounter. It was Miss Piggy in all of her hammy glory, who seemed to have gotten under my skin even though she was my least favourite Muppet. Her determination to be known as the most fabulous of beings had rubbed off on me and I used her when I needed her the most. Piggy still doesn’t even crack my Top 50 Muppets, but you know what? After all of the times, she’s helped me stand up to people and reassured me I’m actually worth something, I think I owe the pig more than just a few boxes of chocolate.
Another means of escape from reality took me completely by surprise late least year. I watch a heck of a lot of YouTube and one channel I’m subscribed to is run by a guy named Gabe, who also goes by the name of Black Gryph0n. Aside from being an amazing singer and voice talent (he voiced Becky in Finding Dory), Gabe is a huge personality in the Brony community. I ended up watching a few of his My Little Pony-related videos and it intrigued me enough to find the first episode of the show and give it a watch.
Three weeks later, I was caught up with the entire series and was eagerly awaiting the next season as well as the movie that came out this month.
At first I was like, “Really Marni? My Little Pony? Aren’t you already pushing it with Sesame Street?” But you know what? Bugger it. I honestly stopped caring whether or not people knew I watched kids programming on a regular basis. I’m certainly not the only one doing it and I’m not hurting anyone by doing it. I find MLP to be more clever and entertaining then more than half of the adult programmes on prime time these days anyway.
Not to mention that the Brony community is hugely creative and I love immersing myself in the fan art and videos that they’ve created over the years. Can you believe that this was made by fans purely out of their love for the show? It’s beautiful.
I suppose everyone has a different definition of ‘safe zone’. For me, it’s a place where I can just be myself and show off some of my own creativity through my writing, which is why fandoms are my personal go-to. Who cares if it’s a little childish? There are far worse things to be into then puppets, dragons, wizards and pastel-coloured horses, isn’t there?
I’d love to know what you consider to be your ‘escape zone’. Comment below and let me know!
Muppet Enthusiast, Film Lover, Book Adorer. No one original, but (hopefully) providing brand new perspectives for the world to process. Currently a Bachelor of Arts undergraduate at Deakin University.