Originally published at: https://geektherapy.org/the-meme-is-the-message/
#360: Josué, Kayla, and Link discuss using pieces of media to explain our own lived experiences. From extremely specific details to vague emotional similarities, we’re all shouting out “It me!!”
Josué Cardona 0:12
Welcome to GT radio on the Geek Therapy network, here at Geek Therapy, we believe that the best way to understand each other and ourselves is through the media we care about. My name is Josué Cardona. And I am joined by link Keller.
Link Keller 0:21
Yo! What’s up?
Josué Cardona 0:23
And for the first time ever on the show with me, I think?
Kayla Devorak 0:26
I don’t think that’s true
Josué Cardona 0:27
with us together. together really?
Kayla Devorak 0:29
been together before. Yeah,
Josué Cardona 0:31
I don’t know, Kayla Devorak
Kayla Devorak 0:35
Josué Cardona 0:37
I think it’s just us today.
Link Keller 0:39
Josué Cardona 0:41
So today’s topic is something that we talk about often, like we allude to it, but we don’t, we haven’t spent time talking about it for for a long time. And that is using media, specifically to say something that you feel like you’re unable to say, we often talk about how we, you know, different ways that we can use media to identify and to relate. But there’s so many examples that I have of being able to, like my whole start with this with this concept was me feeling like I didn’t have the words to express myself. And then to be able to just point to a reference or to a show or to a game was invaluable for me. And to know that, you know, we’ve helped a whole bunch of people do that, as therapists, as teachers, just being open to that is really cool. So that’s what I want to talk about today. And I figured I would, I’d start with an example that I just just read like an hour ago. So I’m reading a novel called tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow. And it at the beginning, it has, it has a meta example of this, which is even, which I like even more, where it’s these two kids at a hospital and one of them is is sick, because he was in an accident. And the girl that he’s talking to has a sister who has cancer. But like she doesn’t want to talk about the fact that her sister has cancer. So when the kid asked her, the boy asks her how, like, why she’s there, what’s wrong with this sister? And she just says, you know, she has dysentery. And she kind of just makes that makes a gaming reference and doesn’t actually, you know, talk about what it is. And I think he gets it. It’s like, okay, you’re not, you’re not going to really tell me what it is. But I get it. And they just keep talking and playing. And that’s an example of like, oh, you know, like, it’s something serious, but maybe I don’t want to talk about it. Maybe I don’t want to say the word cancer. But here’s a reference that you would understand. People can die from this, people can die from dysentery. And it’s a good reference. So that one just came up that one’s fresh in my mind. So, curious. Kayla? what do you what comes to mind when we when we talk about this any examples that you can think of, or the you’ve you’ve experienced back in the day, or even now with your students?
Kayla Devorak 3:15
Um, you know, I don’t know if I use that as much now. I had been thinking about this a lot. And I was like, I don’t maybe I’ve just been removed from it for so long. But my brain goes to this. This book that I’m obsessed with. I’ve talked about it already. But there’s this like, quote, or this part in the book, where,
Josué Cardona 3:46
what’s the book?
Link Keller 3:46
Kayla Devorak 3:49
It’s the masquerade series. So I don’t know which book there’s three books currently. But basically, she’s an antihero. So if you want to learn more about that, you can listen to that episode, whatever. Whatever, it’s up on Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. But there’s this quote, like she says something someone says something to her when she’s basically like, she can’t figure out what the truth is. And like has a tendency to really not see like the larger picture with everybody or like everybody else, like she thinks she’s the only one manipulating pieces, but other people have agency. And one character says to her, like, you’re gonna know it’s the truth because the truth hurts. And I think that’s useful. When we think about uncomfortable truth truths. We don’t want to know about ourselves, right? Which oftentimes, we find those things out out in therapy, or as we’re trying to unpack ourselves. That’s what came up for me.
Josué Cardona 5:09
Do you have you? Could you could you see yourself using that that phrase or that quote?
Kayla Devorak 5:15
I could? Yeah, I think I think so. Like, for myself, also, just like for myself, I think I read that. And I was like, yeah, that’s kind of true sometimes. And I think I think definitely, maybe not in those exact words. But I think as therapists you often find yourself saying something similar, right? Yeah.
Josué Cardona 5:45
Link what what does your mind go to?
Link Keller 5:48
Well, when you brought up this topic, idea, my immediate thought was the scene from Schitt’s Creek, where David tells his friends, basically, that he’s pansexual. But in not so many words, it is couched within a wine metaphor. Which for the people who haven’t seen Schitt’s Creek, highly recommend, but I will read this short section to you. So Stevie, David’s friend says, so just to be clear, I’m a red wine drinker. And David says, that’s fine. Stevie says, okay, cool. I only drink red wine. And up until last night, I was the under the impression that you too only drink red wine. But I guess it was wrong. I see where you’re going with this. I do drink red wine. But I also drink white wine. And I’ve been known to sample the occasional Rosé. And a couple of summers back, I tried to merlot that used to be Chardonnay, which kind of bit complicated. Oh, so you’re really just open to all wines. I like the wine and not the label. Does that make sense? Yes, it does. And I think
Kayla Devorak 7:06
Link Keller 7:07
that scene is so good. Because the it’s not a joke about David’s sexuality. The the funny comes from the metaphor of them being in like a wine aisle in a store having this conversation. And Stevie is a little uncomfortable. And so couching it in that metaphor, but then totally understanding what he’s saying and affirming that, and it’s just really beautiful. And it’s something as I don’t identify as pansexual, I identify as bisexual, but functionally, in this instance, applies the same way. And so it felt very much where I was like, hooting and hollering and pointing at the TV going “it me! it me!!” Yeah. And so I haven’t really had to, like, Come out to anybody in that way. But like, if I was this, I would just send them this scene on YouTube. I have definitely heard from not personal acquaintances, but people online. I have heard them talk about, like, legitimately used this line, use this scene to come out to their family as a way to be all like, I hope I hope having this language will help somebody understand what I am trying to show them about myself. And when it works. It’s beautiful.
Josué Cardona 8:30
I love it. it Me. It me.
Link Keller 8:32
Josué Cardona 8:32
That’s it. Yeah. You know, the, I don’t think I’ve ever told this story on the show before. By the way, this is the 300 and 60th episode. So 360.
Link Keller 8:42
Josué Cardona 8:43
that’s kind of cool. So for 360 episodes, I don’t think I’ve told this story. But I was once in a enrolled in a MBA program. And one of the first courses that I took, you know, you had to buy a book, and it came with a DVD. And the DVD had film clips had scenes for movies. And this professor, or the way the book was written, was that it was demonstrating business concepts through scenes in popular movies. That was so helpful to me as a student, whether I knew the movie or not just like to see this story version, right? This this dramatized scene to explain different concepts that we were recovering in the MBA program. I thought it was so cool. So once Geek Therapy started, like I noticed I was doing that for other things. Like oh, I don’t know how to say this. But that’s it. That’s exactly it like that. Feeling that emotion that look on that person’s face. That’s how I feel that situation that just happened that that’s me. That’s exactly how I feel. And it has been, it has been so helpful. It has been helpful in multiple ways sometimes to actually explain to someone else Like, like, if I was pansexual, I would send him that that link, right i that, that that scene. I think that’s, that’s great. And there’s there’s lots of different examples like that that I’ve had over the years. But then some of them, I’ve also had that experience, but it’s like, by seeing it externalized and seeing someone else going through it, but me not having been able to like, I didn’t even realize that I was going through it until I saw somebody else go through it. And to see that in a scene is really cool. One version that I have talked about in the past was, there’s an episode of Doctor Who with David Tennant, where he realizes that, like, he’s beginning a transformation, but he realizes that that transformation isn’t immediate, like, the moment that he realizes that it’s gonna happen. He’s like, Ah, shit. It’s gonna happen. But then he’s like, oh, wait a minute, but it’s not. It’s not. It’s gonna take a while. So then he goes, and he takes the time to say goodbye to his friends and do all bunch of stuff. I remember the first time I saw that scene, I was frustrated because I was trying to lose weight. And I just couldn’t do it. And watching that scene, I was like, Oh, right. Like, this is a process. This is something that takes time, this isn’t something that just happens from one day to the next. I have, like, there’s stuff to do. It’s not going to happen from one day to the next. And it was it was so weird. It was like a mirror like being like just seeing it. Seeing my I saw myself in the character. And of course the show has nothing to do with that. That scene has nothing to do with what I was thinking or how I was feeling. But that’s what that’s what came to mind and I’ve I reference it often when I when I kind of want to convey that idea because sometimes it’s easier for me to say you know to bring it up in that context than it is for me to just say the words like hey, it’s a process it takes time. I know. you know but there’s there’s different there’s it’s a very different emotional vibe depending on the on like the piece of media. any other examples? Kayla’s like thinking so hard I wish y’all could see
Link Keller 12:24
I have another one Jim from our flag means death. non binary royalty. Again, haven’t actually had to use this in my real life because I don’t meet new people. But if I were to try and explain non binary in an accessible mediated way, Jim would be my go to, especially the scene where after Jim’s truth has been revealed, and the rest of the crew is like what do we do now? Like what what’s the vibe what and Jim’s like, nothing’s changed. I’m just Jim. And everybody’s like, Yeah, okay. And are just on board with it. It’s so great. I love it so much. I love Jim. God. I wish we had a release date for the next season. AHH
Kayla Devorak 13:23
Been waitin’ a while,
Josué Cardona 13:27
wait a minute. What is the actor’s name?
Link Keller 13:33
Vico Ortiz. Which, like I like the character to explain non binary identities, but also the real person who is very openly queer and fantastic. And I love them very deeply. And also, they have become my like fashion goals. Because I think they look so sharp. And I’m very jealous
Josué Cardona 14:07
I fully support like building up a catalog. You never know when you’re going to need those scenes. You never know when you’re gonna
Link Keller 14:13
Yeah, kinda. Yeah. I’m trying to think what,
Kayla Devorak 14:18
for when you meet a stranger
Link Keller 14:20
for when that maybe eventually happens? Um, no, I mean, like, one of the things I struggle with, as far as non binary representation goes is like there’s not zero like there are characters that are canonically non binary, and it’s within the context of the show. A lot of the times they are non human characters, we get a lot of Shapeshifter aliens. I can’t double trouble that’s not their name. The shapeshifting character from she-ra and the princesses of power, who I did really like that character, but it feeds into the same thing where it’s like A lot of nine non binary characters will be you know, robots, androids, shapeshifters, some sort of humanoid alien, creature, non human. And so one of the things that is special about Jim is like, is this show about pirates? Like there is some fantastical elements, but ultimately it is within our existence. And so is like that that is a regular human person. That’s like me, it me! it me!!
Josué Cardona 15:33
What is okay, I don’t know why I can’t remember this. well because ADHD, probably why? There’s a word for when you get put on the spot, and you have difficulty explaining something. And I’ve heard it thrown around recently,
Link Keller 15:50
Josué Cardona 15:51
No. I was trying to google it now and I cannot find it. Actually, let me ask GPT real quick.
Kayla Devorak 16:05
I’m sure they’ll know. They might lie to you.
Josué Cardona 16:08
They might Yeah, but at least I’ll feel better.
Link Keller 16:10
I’ll tell you the truth, but they will make up fake resources.
Kayla Devorak 16:15
Josué Cardona 16:19
They’re calling it expressive aphasia. I
Kayla Devorak 16:23
Josué Cardona 16:25
Maybe. Is there another? Oh, ah,
Kayla Devorak 16:33
that’s, that’s very interesting.
Link Keller 16:36
That sounds like less like explaining something and more just like hearing expression of your own emotional state.
Josué Cardona 16:43
I found it okay. No, it gave me it gave me the answer. Eventually. I alexithymia. That’s the one I’m thinking likes the term anemia, a term used to describe difficulty in identifying and describing emotions, which can sometimes be interpreted as difficulty in explaining one’s internal state. That’s the word I was thinking of.
Link Keller 16:59
Josué Cardona 16:59
Thanks, Chat GPT. So I feel like this is very relevant for anybody who, who has alexithymia. And I’ve been thinking about that term a lot lately, because I’ve seen I’ve been observing and my job, where sometimes, like, I get put on the spot, and suddenly, I’m like, blehgbleghblagh. And I see it happening among other people as well. And I’m like, man, like, maybe put it in writing. Because like, when to put on the spot. It’s hard. It’s hard to explain stuff. And, and I mean, I’ve been like that since I was a kid. That’s why I love this idea of being able to say ‘it me’ that that’s it. That’s how I feel. That’s the thing.
Link Keller 17:33
Josué Cardona 17:34
Now, with clients, I used to have this experience a lot, because I would have them either play something or watch something, or read something in session. So to see someone be like, Okay, I know, yeah, let’s just read some comic books. You don’t want to talk today. No problem, you know, if anything comes up, let me know. And then to have somebody say, like, Batman and Robin, like, that’s like me and my dad, or like, oh, that Green Lantern series where he’s like, he he’s being shown different versions of himself across different universes. That’s how I feel. Because when I’m at different houses, I have to be a completely different person. And, and I don’t like that. It’s like, Oh, okay. And it was just basically, it came up for them because of media. It’s like, that’s it. It me. That’s the name of the episode it me.
Link Keller 18:23
Josué Cardona 18:23
It could be. Yeah. So I used to see that all the time. And I think I think it just something so powerful to just let it happen. Instead of I mean, you can kind of set it up, right? Like, you could do it in a way where you were like, okay, all right, Link is my client today. See, maybe our flag means death, maybe, maybe I can show one of these episodes. Maybe it’ll resonate, you know, but and, and that works to, like, you know, let me know, is this how you feel? But even better than then when you kind of set it up that way? Or see how you do feel, I think is also the opposite, where it’s where you’re like, oh, that made me feel terrible. Like I hate that scene. I hate that so much.
Link Keller 19:16
Josué Cardona 19:16
Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why is it that you’re feeling that way? Because that’s the opposite of me. I would never do that. That’s the That’s the opposite of what I would do. That’s the opposite of how I feel.
Link Keller 19:27
That’s a representation of the shadow work I’ve been avoiding.
Kayla Devorak 19:32
Link Keller 19:33
no, thank you. ‘it me’ but with a really sad face.
Josué Cardona 19:40
Does it happen that you that you’re watching something and you just get so pissed for that reason? Because like, you would never know.
Kayla Devorak 19:46
oh Yeah, yeah.
Link Keller 19:47
Josué Cardona 19:48
Any examples recently,
Kayla Devorak 19:50
any any examples recently?
Josué Cardona 19:51
Yeah. Are you I mean, ever?
Kayla Devorak 19:54
Well, Alex from Supergirl drives me up the wall. I just finished Supergirl. So I think actually messaged Lara was like, I really do not like Alex like I just, she’s just
Josué Cardona 20:09
was Lara okay with that?
Kayla Devorak 20:10
Link Keller 20:12
Josué Cardona 20:12
I didn’t think that would go well
Kayla Devorak 20:22
I mean, I suppose you could use the relationship between Lena Lena Luthor and super girl as, as a reflection of somebody, like, if they’re in a interesting friendship friendship with their best friend. That’s a whole interesting dynamic that you could potentially use as people try to navigate complicated feelings towards their best friends.
Josué Cardona 20:53
Yeah, this is why I’ve, this is one of the reasons why I, I mean, I don’t read a lot of fiction, but now that I’m reading more fiction, I’m pushing myself to read romance and friends to lovers and all this kind of stuff, because I’m like, I never never I don’t I don’t want to, I don’t want to I don’t want to deal with that. Outside of my general life, and I’m like, Okay, let’s see. That’s why like this book this tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow, is, is all about that. It’s about these two kids who meet and like, they, they, I think that they’re best friends. And they start making video games together.
Kayla Devorak 21:29
Josué Cardona 21:29
And yeah. And so I don’t know. That’s all I know about it. But I was I was intrigued. I heard it was pretty good. Book Talk recommended it. So you know,
Kayla Devorak 21:39
speaking of books, there’s, there’s a series that I really like, magic of the lost there’s supposed to be like a trilogy. So the first two books are out the unbroken and the faithless. But in the unbroken. There’s this saying that they’re not like, so there’s, it’s rooted in like, colonialism. And the oppressor, you know, being had the kind of having a revolution and like being kicked out of the land that they are occupying. But they don’t the, the people, the indigenous people to, to the land, don’t actively talk about, like, I don’t really talk about the revolution, right? Instead, they say, be the rain, because it’s also a really dry area, it’s kind of modeled after Morocco. And so when you think about it, right, like, they’re communicating something, like be the rain, be be the hope for the next tomorrow, or that there will be you’re not going to suffocate under these, these people anymore. And it becomes like a mantra throughout, like the whole book. And then at the end, like, there’s a whole big scene, where they’re, like, be the rain. Which I think is interesting when we think about it. When for me, when, when I first read it, I was like, Yeah, that makes sense. I feel that I have been there. I get that as somebody who participated in the 2020 protests here in Minneapolis. So I think it was a really pivotal first time reading it. But I think you can use it in relation to a lot of things.
Josué Cardona 23:37
So like, what was it? Like for you, then when you read it? Did you like what what were your feelings?
Kayla Devorak 23:42
Yeah, we you know, so it was like kind of, like, you know, take it like, reading it the first time. I was like, yeah, that felt that feels like how I felt in those moments. Participating in those in those protests and being down there with everybody else who were showing up because enough was enough for them. Right? In the same way that it was kind of playing out in a in a similar way. In this book, right. But but instead of you know, that, you know, they had to be like sneaky so they didn’t get in trouble. Right. So they came up with a different kind of saying and I think when you wait for rain, in a drought, but you can be the rain, right? Like you can be that change.
Josué Cardona 24:37
Yeah. This This reminds me like there’s a big difference between watching something and getting a trigger, right or getting activated by something because it reminds you of a traumatic time. Like this could have been something like that right for you.
Kayla Devorak 24:57
Josué Cardona 24:58
But in this case, it seems like It was more like, Fuck yeah. Right.
Kayla Devorak 25:02
Josué Cardona 25:02
Like that’s, that’s, that’s that’s what it was like, right? It wasn’t it wasn’t a reminder of a bad day. It was a, it sounds like it was a reminder, or it was representative of it resonated with you because it represented your how you felt at that time. The parts that were like the reasons why you were there the reasons why you made it. Yeah. Yeah,
Kayla Devorak 25:15
Josué Cardona 25:22
There’s a huge difference. triggered by something you’re like, no trauma and get away from.
Kayla Devorak 25:36
Josué Cardona 25:37
And just being like, Huh, that’s a good representation. At that time.
Kayla Devorak 25:43
It was like, validating, in a way. Yeah. Which is interesting for like a book of, excuse me, a fiction, like, a fictional book to be able to produce. Yeah, in you.
Josué Cardona 25:58
Where’s your be the rain tattoo?
Kayla Devorak 26:01
I don’t have that I do have a sticker though. Because I pre ordered, I pre ordered the second book. And part of pre ordering the second book was the author, she sent out stickers. And that was one of the stickers.
Josué Cardona 26:17
Now, do you like I hope we’ve we’ve painted a clear picture for listeners of like, what, you know, the concept of what we’re saying, just basically using media as a representation of something that you know, of your feelings are of a particular experience. And so do you all find it easier to or do you resonate more with with scenes like that? When it’s in a book in a comic book in a, in a movie, in uh, and we’ll get to this in a bit. But also, I want to connect this to d&d, and like, being able to create those those moments, right, where you like, Oh, this is familiar. I think I’m gonna, I’m gonna play. I think I know how this plays out. I’m gonna play it this way.
Kayla Devorak 27:03
I’ve seen this film before.
Josué Cardona 27:05
yeah yeah yeah. And I will be the rain. Yeah. So is there a particular medium that you find that you resonate, or you have more of those moments of resonance?
Kayla Devorak 27:21
I’m not always the most active like show watcher. So like, I mean, I think I consciously paid attention to maybe 45% of Super Girl. And like, had it on in the background as I was like, reading or whatever. So I was like, I’m not always like, super engaged in the stories that I’m seeing on TV. Which is a different experience for reading. For me reading is much more immersive. Yeah. And kind of always has been like I can take basically get really visual with it. And I think I find reading something that’s like really pivotal or like, impactful to, at times be more meaningful for me than seeing it on TV, though. I have had moments where I’ve been like, Oh, shit. Like, there is a very, there’s a very distinct reason I don’t like Alex, and it’s more trauma based than anything. I think she’s too much of a cop. And I have a real hard time with those characters who just run in. guns blazing. Don’t ask questions. Want to be super rigid?
Josué Cardona 28:37
It is a cop show.
Kayla Devorak 28:38
It is a procedural? You’re right. Yes.
Josué Cardona 28:40
Yeah. Yeah. And also, it’s like, what is the agency called?
Link Keller 28:45
Kayla Devorak 28:46
DoE? It is. It’s shield. Like
Josué Cardona 28:52
Kayla Devorak 28:55
Yeah, it’s the it’s called the DEO, listen, I only watched
Josué Cardona 28:59
this is the
Kayla Devorak 28:59
I only watched Supergirl for Lena Luthor, and Supergirl.
Link Keller 29:03
Kayla Devorak 29:03
For the subtext. That’s really all I did watch it.
Link Keller 29:07
I think I think for me, I agree in that books. Like I think I think part of it is like, purely the medium, right? Is that in books, you are just reading and engaging your minds in that way. You’re not seeing pictures, you’re not hearing music. You’re just the book and your brain gets to fill in what it what it wants from there. And so I think it’s easier for us to apply that to ourselves because it’s not tied to a person who exists has form takes up physical space when you’re watching, you know, TV shows, even animated stuff is like, obviously I’ve had a lot of really impactful movie moments and TV show moments. But I think just just the aspect of like, I can be like, well, that person is like me, but because they don’t look like me. There’s just a little bit of a distance there. But with books, it’s you can be a little bit more loosey goosey with it. Obviously, that’s contextualized some books are very obvious about who their characters are. And it’s like, well, that’s definitely not me. But because you’re not seeing somebody say those things is like you can be all like that was said to me, for me. I think comics are sort of in between, because like books, they have more space for us to just sort of imagine and fill in the, in the gutters and stuff. But again, because there is already like a character design applied to it, sometimes it makes the just adds a little bit of distance. And I think it that means it’s still a good tool for using to connect with people. Partly because of that little bit of distance. If you, for example, what happened to me this weekend is I brought up the locked tomb, and I was very excited about it. And the person was like, oh, yeah, I started reading that book. And I returned it immediately, because I hate the way that it’s written. And I’m just like, I’m glad I practice Geek Therapy all the time, because I’m not taking that personally. A couple of years ago, that might really hurt my feelings.
Josué Cardona 31:16
She just yucked your yum. Not deliberately,
Link Keller 31:21
I don’t think she realized like I brought it up sort of nonchalantly, so I don’t think she realized she was yucking a big yum for me so much is just like, oh, you mentioned a book. I don’t like that.
Josué Cardona 31:33
Link Keller 31:34
But But yeah, I think having that little bit of space did make it a little bit easier if you don’t get the reaction that you’re hoping for. Maybe it won’t be personalized and hurtful. or less so.
Kayla Devorak 31:50
Such a disappointment. It isn’t. It’s written differently. But it’s a really fantastic book.
Link Keller 31:57
I mean, the reasoning she gave us she didn’t she doesn’t like sci fi written in present tense. I don’t have beef with that I can understand why somebody might it’s not your style, it’s not to your taste, obviously you bounced off of it, because that’s the way that it’s written. So, um, I get it. But yes, it was obvious. I’m using book example here. So it doesn’t really fit with what I was just saying. But that’s fine. You guys get it. The point being is like, it gives you a little bit of space. I like the idea of I mean, God, I do need therapy. But if I if I were to get a new therapist, I would probably put together like a PowerPoint to just explain, you know, my basic background and everything. And I would I would absolutely fill it up with like gifs and shit from from shows that I like and quotes from books that I like to be like, here. I’m trying to I’m trying to paint you a picture about who I am as a person.
Josué Cardona 32:58
That’s interesting for me, because I think you’re partially because I have aphantasia I can’t picture anything that I’m reading in a book. So since I can’t visualize
Kayla Devorak 33:06
I’m so sorry.
Link Keller 33:08
That’s so cool. Yeah, I think this is great. This is great for the conversation.
Kayla Devorak 33:11
It’s great. But I I
Link Keller 33:14
I’m sorry for you.
Kayla Devorak 33:15
I’m sorry. That you the visual. I mean, that’s that’s partly why I like books is because I can it’s like a whole thing.
Link Keller 33:24
You get your own little movie experience.
Kayla Devorak 33:26
That’s right. Yeah.
Josué Cardona 33:28
It’s I can’t do that. Um, for me, there’s nothing like super expressive anime. Or, or a movie, right? Where like, somebody’s just sobbing are like, like, someone’s acting, right? Like, I appreciate it so much. And it really helps me be like, Oh, that’s a feeling. That’s the feeling that I’ve got. Because I can’t, I can’t draw for shit. I can’t picture it in my mind. So to be able, that’s why it’s so important for me to like, oh, that picture it was it’s been captured right there that process from serious to sad or to happy or whatever. That is, is so so helpful for me. And I don’t know there’s something also like the dynamic nature of it. And, for example, my I think I’ve done a good job in helping my own therapist understand how I’m thinking. So one time she was like, oh, Josué, I get the feeling that your brain is like, she goes, have you ever seen the movie eraser? I was like, like Arnold Schwarzenegger and, and Vanessa Williams. She’s like, Yeah, that was like, Yeah, that’s a deep cut but Yeah, I’ve seen it. She’s like, do you remember there was a scene where he throws a bomb, and the bomb jumps up into the air, and it breaks up into a bunch of little bombs. Right? And I was like, yeah, like a scatter bomb. She’s like, yes, like, you seem so scattered right now. Like your brain. It’s like, it’s like, like a bomb from eraser. So, so, right. She’s like, it goes like, this is going in all directions. I was like, Yeah, So now whenever I’m like kind of scattered in a session like will refer to that eraser bomb and like I know exactly what it is. And I have that, you know, like I can the movie version of like flying all over the place on many different directions. And it’s it’s things like that right like yeah, no, absolutely. That’s my brain. That’s my brain right now. Thank you. Thank you for the visual. It’s been
Link Keller 35:22
Josué Cardona 35:23
and super helpful. Yeah, yes,
Kayla Devorak 35:24
Josué Cardona 35:25
Link Keller 35:26
I do. I do think that that talking about your aphantasia, I do think that that is really important to touch on for us, because, you know, a lot of therapists and educators and social workers listen to us. And I think that that’s really important to recognize is like, yes, using media to connect with people is really important, valuable works well. It does require understanding the person who you are talking to, like, if you keep quoting poetry at someone who’s like, I don’t read poems, I don’t see the imagery in my head. I don’t feel it the way that you feel it, you’re just gonna be hitting, hitting a brick wall. And so finding the thing that that they do connect to, is really important.
Josué Cardona 36:17
Yeah, also have a type of face blindness, right? Which is like prosopagnosia. And that one, it’s like, I can’t even draw my emotions. You know? Like, I can only do emojis.
Link Keller 36:31
See, talking about that makes me wish that Lara was here because she watches all of the medical procedurals. But I think that that that would be a good thing for this topic. Is that there? Like there are examples of, you know, rare diseases and disorders that show up, you know, on scrubs and Grey’s Anatomy and Chicago, 911, or whatever. And people get to be like, did you watch that episode? Because they talked about that disease that I have, like, isn’t that cool?
Kayla Devorak 37:00
Oh, yeah. I mean, it’s a great example. Yeah. My wife is has heterotaxy. And
Josué Cardona 37:06
what is heterotaxy?
Kayla Devorak 37:08
Great question. So
Josué Cardona 37:11
which episode should I watch?
Kayla Devorak 37:12
I think you can see it, I think you can see it on ER, and Grey’s Anatomy. But basically, it’s when body parts are mixed up. Like, I think one of the episodes in like, er, the heart was like, on the opposite side of the body. They were like, oh, it’s not working. In in her case, like, it’s different, really, for everyone. But in her case, it caused her to have half a heart. So and then, like, other kinds of organ stuff. But like the, like, people don’t really know about it. Right? Like, it’s it’s rare. And she’s like, one of the oldest living
Link Keller 37:49
Kayla Devorak 37:49
with her condition. And but I think we I remember watching, we were watching like, er, Grey’s Anatomy once she’s like, Oh, yeah. That’s me. Like, you can’t find his heart. on the wrong side. You know? Yeah, yeah.
Josué Cardona 38:08
That reminds me shit.
Kayla Devorak 38:11
That’s actually what I tell when I will tell people I will be like, Yeah, you know, like, you ever watch Grey’s Anatomy and like, there’s like an episode where it comes up, and they’re like, oh, yeah, okay.
Josué Cardona 38:23
Okay. There was a, there was a show that I watched. I can’t remember what it was right now. But where there was a mother with bipolar disorder. And they showed it from the kids perspective, how the mom was just so tired some days, you know, like how she was, she was so excited, and was able to, to, I don’t know, like, be so fun, right. And then after a couple of weeks, like she she’d slow down and then be unable to get out of bed. And I remember being it being the first time where I was like, that’s exactly what it was like to live with my mom. Like, that was my experience. That’s exactly what it was like for me. And to be able to see it that way. Like, I don’t think I’ve ever had really the the ability to describe it. And I still don’t, as well as that show, was able to demonstrate it. And I remember it was in mythic quest about other Have you seen mythic quest? Yes. So remember the show? So it’s the it’s the flashback episode when he’s he’s thinking when his mom takes him to the paint store. Yep. Right. And then afterwards, right, she’s she’s in bed, and she doesn’t want to get up and she’s just like crying and like that scene in that show. That shows I think that shows great.
Kayla Devorak 39:39
that show’s fantastic Yeah
Josué Cardona 39:42
And so that episode in particular, I was like, That’s it. That’s that was my childhood. That’s what my it was my experience, and it was my mom’s experience. And I had never I feel like I was never able to describe it. And I’d never seen it before, other than the version that I lived through. That shit’s powerful.
Kayla Devorak 40:01
Oh, absolutely. Yeah.
Josué Cardona 40:02
And helpful. Very helpful.
Link Keller 40:07
Yeah, I think it’s like it’s powerful in like the internalized experience of getting to see an aspect of you reflected
Kayla Devorak 40:15
Link Keller 40:16
And then the secondary benefit is being able to use that as a way to explain to other people. Or like you, you said earlier Josué is using it as shorthand for which that’s media, baby, Is it is it is the way to communicate. And and so it is a way to communicate how our internal experience is. Yeah. Fantastic.
Josué Cardona 40:42
Link Keller 40:43
I thought of another example, but it’s not about me.
Josué Cardona 40:48
Link Keller 40:49
I mean, I guess, anyways, the show fleabag, which I love so much. Such a great show, it’s two seasons, highly recommend it, it is worth it. The second
Josué Cardona 41:00
I started watching it, I immediately sent it back to the store.
Link Keller 41:03
No!!! that’s heartbreaking. But after, you know, without getting like into the nitty gritty details, the first season ends with this big blow up between the main character fleabag and her sister. And then the second season starts and fleabag has, they haven’t reestablished their relationship, but fleabag has gotten better within her own life. And she goes to this dinner with her dad, and soon to be step mother, and sister and the sisters husband and, and the priest,
Josué Cardona 41:42
and the priest
Link Keller 41:42
and the priest, we love the priest. But they have this relationship dynamic within the family where the fleabag fleabag is the fleabag of the family, and everybody treats her like that, and she expects to be treated that way. But in this new setting, they’re all coming back together, there’s this moment where you’re like, Oh, the family is gonna notice how much fleabag has changed and improved, and someone’s gonna comment on it and like, be like, That’s great. We love that for you know, they reinforced the old, just sort of abusive relationship interactions that they all have with each other. And I used that as a way to explain to a friend that it’s like this feeling of when you go home. And you’re like, I feel like I’m a teenager again, my parents won’t stop treating me like I’m a teenager. And then I react to that as though I am a teenager. And I don’t know what to do with this. And I was like, have you seen fleabag just be able to like, look, look this it’s not just you, this is the thing that happens where people like, you have a baseline understanding of the way people interact within this group. And so you follow the script that applies to it, even when, obviously, people grow and change and, and our relationships grow and change. And so it’s like, the flexibility should be there. But it’s not always there. And sometimes people just fall back on their old habits. And it can be so frustrating, and exhausting. And then the way that you know, that scene in fleabag ends up shaking out is fleabag does something really, really powerful and selfless for her sister, but in a way that fulfills all of the expectations that all of her family already has of her. So it’s this really great, like two steps forward one step back moment for her, but because we have seen that she’s had some sort of growth, we’re hoping there’s like you see it too, right? fleabag Do you see it? It’s not like, Oh, you’re gonna be okay, baby. And she was and she was okay. It’s a good show. Everybody should watch it.
Kayla Devorak 43:55
That’s a perfect example of family systems.
Link Keller 44:00
Kayla Devorak 44:00
When you when you leave a system, right? That system is going to equalize and continue to do its doing while you’re off doing your own thing and changing as a person. And which is why when we go home, we feel that way, right? Because we’re reinserting into a system that isn’t necessarily changing. It’s just finding a new way to equalize without you actively in the system all the time.
Josué Cardona 44:26
Question I like it’s like, you know, what TV family is your family
Josué Cardona 44:31
oh man you should make that a whole thing
Josué Cardona 44:32
that question is very insightful. I know. I know. That’s actually should be a topic that I’ll set it aside so we can talk about it another day. Kayla, you did mention before the example of be the rain and how it was, like validating and I think I think that’s a part of it that we haven’t really talked about, but I just want to reference that That also applies to the fleabag example, where maybe you’ve you’ve, you didn’t, it’s not just helpful because it helps you express something that is hard for you. But also sometimes you think nobody else has experienced this. And just by the act of existing in a story you you believe, possibly you see it as like, Oh, I’m not alone in the world. Someone cooked this up. There’s probably other people who either have lived through this and possibly even feel the same way about about watching this as I do. Yeah. Kayla, you said you had one more example?
Kayla Devorak 45:34
Yeah, I was thinking about the Guardians of the Galaxy video game. I don’t know if either of you played it
Josué Cardona 45:43
the Telltale one?
Link Keller 45:43
I haven’t. But I’ve been struggling to think of what game examples
Josué Cardona 45:47
were the next one.
Kayla Devorak 45:47
So this, I think it resonated really well with me. It’s really just about grief, and loss. And like, so. What is his name? The one that wears the mask? Peter Quill? Yeah.
Josué Cardona 46:06
Kayla Devorak 46:07
Guardians of the Galaxy. Like, he’s my least favorite character,
Link Keller 46:10
you’re like the one that wears the mask in my brain is like, phantom of the opera. that’s not what we’re talking about
Link Keller 46:16
he’s my least favorite
Josué Cardona 46:17
Kayla Devorak 46:18
So to be fair, but so it parallels right. So he, the whole thing is kind of like, it’s almost like a mind. Mind flayer is like, gone in and like they’re, they’re kind of like, making them think that they can change what’s happened. And what has happened is Peter Quill lost his mom. And he could do anything to stop it. And then in this same kind of parallel, this daughter of one of his exes, or whatever, like her mom also died, but then it can you kind of get like, sucked into this weird, like process of like, this kid is trying to undo it or trying to change it and tried to make it not that. And I think it’s a really great representation of like, the way we can move through grief, right, and how we can get stuck. And so instead of haven’t really talked about it, you can like, just immerse yourself in this game and be like, feel those feelings without actually having to like, talk about it, right?
Link Keller 47:25
Kayla Devorak 47:26
it’s, uh, I actually really liked the game. I thought the story was pretty great. And the mechanics were good. And I was like, man, we really all of us are just really working through grief was like,
Link Keller 47:41
Kayla Devorak 47:42
I think at that time, it was like the sixth or seventh game I played that, like one of the core things was like, Grief. Man, all right, well, that’s okay.
Link Keller 47:51
These game devs are going through it, right? Yeah. Yeah, I was struggling to think of a game example. I couldn’t really pull anything very specific. But I do keep thinking about what remains of Edith Finch, which is one of my all time favorite games very much about death and grief. I’ve absolutely used it as a conversation starters of like, these are the different family members and how they dealt with the grief of losing, you know, their partners, their children, etc. Parents, and so on, and reflecting that back, you know, onto the person I’m talking about the game with or, as was generally the case, forcing them to play. You have to play this game. It’s important. And just being like, Okay, well, who do you Who do you feel most? Like? Do you feel like Edie, do you feel like Edie’s daughter? Like, how Who are you relating to and their relationship with this monument to grief? is like, delicious conversation stuff. But yeah, games, I think games are on the like, harder ins, to pull this this kind of, relating to off. Because so many game experiences are are by player right is like you and I, we can play we can all three play Mass Effect and have emotional reactions to the things that happen in Mass Effect are not necessarily the same, because the way that we play is different. And the shepherd that we made is different, and that sort of stuff. So it’s like a little bit harder to get there. But obviously, there are games that are very narrative focused character heavy, those are a little bit easier to point to. Yeah,
Josué Cardona 49:40
yeah. Yeah, depends.
Link Keller 49:44
It turns out the medium is the message and it depends. It depends what media you are talking about, and how you’ll relate to it, and how it will impact you. I do find it hilarious that we are having this conversation and none of us says has brought up music because I feel like music is such a big one for people to be like, this music is my heart song. It this one lyric is like the I’m gonna get it tattooed on me because that’s that it me! it me!!
Josué Cardona 50:18
So So I liked that you mentioned this because I thought about it, but I left it off to the side. So I believe it so so but I’ve kept bringing up the word resonance, right? Like that’s when I when I teach GT that’s, that’s exactly. It’s all about that resonating with the media. We have a music podcast that I’ve never it’s one, I think it’s one of the best things, at least I’ve ever made. And we haven’t published a single episode. But the name of the show is resonance, because I think that music is the most powerful piece of that because it feels like a separate conversation when it comes to music. Because music is it doesn’t even have to have lyrics. Like, and you can still feel something right and it resonates with you. And music can tie to like you can be listening to a piece of music while you were having an experience and then that that music is tied forever with that. And it’s it’s a it’s like it’s harder to explain. And it’s not exactly it’s definitely related. Oh, yeah. But this is more like narrative. Right that I think we’re what we’re what we’re referring to here. And something
Link Keller 51:29
we will we will be doing a Barbie episode but the the Billy Eilish song that she wrote for the Barbie movie that lately has been like, Oh, that one’s hittin’. But we’ll save that for the Barbie episode, which we will be doing
Kayla Devorak 51:45
Spotify, Spotify has these playlists. So one is called like, it’s like, the sound. It’s like a movie soundtrack. But it’s if your life was a movie. So it kind of like it’s specific to you. So like, if it’s actually, it slaps, it’s so good.
Link Keller 52:06
Kayla Devorak 52:07
then they also have a villain mode playlist. And and I don’t know if that one is different, or if it’s the same for everyone. But one of the songs on there on mine. It’s called labor. And listen this song. I was listening to it at work
Link Keller 52:23
oh, I know what song you’re talking about
Kayla Devorak 52:24
I was listening to it at work the other day. And I was like, this is like, this is what it’s like to be a woman. I feel this. Like deeply. It was good.
Link Keller 52:39
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Nothing, nothing like being on a road trip with some friends. And you’re just putting on some classic tunes to sing along with and then that song comes on. And everybody is like rage scream crying. Like, yeah, we’re all really going through it, huh?
Kayla Devorak 52:58
I’ll send it, you can listen to it, Josué. But that,
Josué Cardona 53:01
Kayla Devorak 53:01
that kind of reminds me Avery Adler made. I think that’s how you say her last name. Anyways, she made a tabletop role playing game based around music. And actually, it’s a lot of fun. And I actually used it in therapy sessions in like one on one sessions with clients. But basically each person at the table like makes a playlist like add songs or makes basically everybody like makes a playlist. And then you kind of build out who your characters are. And then you play scenes like with the music and stuff. It’s pretty cool. I’ll oh my gosh,
Josué Cardona 53:43
Kayla Devorak 53:43
I gotta look up the, It’s called ribbon drive. I’d be happy we can. We can play it on GTA once it gets revived.
Josué Cardona 53:53
Oh, yeah. Geek Therapy adventures coming back. Whoo whoo.
Link Keller 53:58
Josué Cardona 53:59
Coming soon to have a podcast feed near you.
Kayla Devorak 54:01
Like an interesting way to do music. And, you know,
Josué Cardona 54:04
Kayla Devorak 54:06
Link Keller 54:07
And it’s perfect for you because you make playlists for your characters anyway.
Kayla Devorak 54:11
I do, I do. Yes, I do. Thank you. It’s I think they are really helpful for me. And my most recent d&d character, without even knowing it, I made a rather apt on playlists without even realizing it.
Link Keller 54:31
Josué Cardona 54:33
You mentioned something earlier about grief and how it started popping up all over the place. So I asked chat GPT what that thing is called when, you know, when like, what’s that phenomenon when you start seeing something all over the place?
Link Keller 54:45
Josué Cardona 54:45
says it’s called the Well, no, not exactly. And this sounds right to me the Baader Meinhof phenomenon. Oh, yes, this, right. The frequency illusion right of like, Oh, I’m experiencing grief. And now I see grief stories all over the place. And I don’t know, I think I think that’s a that’s, that’s an interesting part of this as well. Because you can revisit the same piece of media a different time and depending on what you’re experiencing, you might see it very differently, or just interpret something completely differently. Not just because we’re seeing a different version of the story like right like, like with a game, but just because you’re in a completely different place right now.
Kayla Devorak 54:52
That is true.
Josué Cardona 54:52
But I do like this idea of stuff having soundtracks like obviously movies have soundtracks and TV shows have soundtracks. I love that but I do like these connected soundtracks. I remember the the Scott Pilgrim books, the the author, he has a list the he has a soundtrack that goes with every book. That to him, like represents. Yeah, it’s like a recommended playlist while you’re reading each of the books. And I like stuff like that a lot. Someday, the resonance podcast, we’ll see the light of day. Someday.
Link Keller 56:04
Until then, I’ll keep sending you all the cool music tiktoks i see
Josué Cardona 56:08
Yes, yes. I think that’s it. For this topic. Any closing thoughts? Kayla?
Kayla Devorak 56:14
Josué Cardona 56:16
any closing thoughts Link?
Link Keller 56:18
Um, yeah, I don’t know. I think this was a good conversation. And I’m excited to hear what our listeners use as their shorthand explanations.
Josué Cardona 56:35
Link Keller 56:35
through examples and clips. some lines, monologues, you know, whatever.
Kayla Devorak 56:43
Link Keller 56:44
I’m excited. I’m excited. Little, little Shakespeare for fun. Yeah, there’s some good stuff in there.
Kayla Devorak 56:50
Link Keller 56:51
It’s pretty good. I think I think the are you into Do you bite your thumb? I do. Not at you sir. But I do. I think about that all the time.
Josué Cardona 57:05
Well, thank you all for listening. Thank you chat GPT for the help. Yeah, please share your versions of these experiences, either your own or clients or friends, family. That’d be great. Share them in the community spaces links to those are in the show notes. Thanks again for listening. Remember to geek out to do good. And we’ll be back next week
Link Keller 57:32
Josué Cardona 57:32
Geek Therapy is a 501 C three nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world a better place through geek culture. To learn more about our mission and become a supporter, visit geek therapy.org
Transcribed by https://otter.ai and Link Keller
Characters / Media
- Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
- The Masquerade series by Seth Dickinson
- David / Schitt’s Creek
- Jim / Our Flag Means Death
- Double Trouble / She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
- Batman and Robin
- Green Lantern
- Alex / Supergirl
- Magic of the Lost series by C. L. Clark
- Eraser (1996)
- Grey’s Anatomy
- Chicago P.D. / Chicago Med / Chicago Fire
- Mythic Quest
- Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (video game)
- What Remains of Edith Finch (video game)
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Themes / Topics
* Baader-Meinhof phenomenon
* Cultural representation
* Difficult emotions
* Finding Oneself/Identity Development
* LGBT Issues
* Making new friends
* Mental Health Services
* Coming of age/Getting older
* Coming Out
* Health (Physical)
* Loss (other than death)
* New Life Event (New Rules)
Links / Social Media
Check out the GT Network: network.geektherapy.com
GT Forum: forum.geektherapy.org
GT Discord: geektherapy.com/discord
GT Facebook Group: facebook.com/groups/geektherapy
Join the Conversation!
What as a piece of media that gave you the “It me!!” experience?