This February, I’m doing #LoveMe, a challenge designed to help you learn to love yourself! One of my New Year’s resolutions was to be kinder and more gentle to myself, so I’m trying to be as positive as I can possibly be in 2017 and hope that doing this challenge will be good for my mental health and overall well-being. Check out my previous #LoveMe posts here!
Today’s prompt is:
Share something beautiful.
Something beautiful? Something I find very beautiful, and which has helped me to get through bad mental health days, is Lord of the Rings.
I have not reread the books in their entirety since reading them for the first time about four years ago, but I often dip into the series for the purpose of reading a chapter, a paragraph, or even a single line. I rewatch the movies an average of once or twice a year, on the other hand. But I love them both.
I love Tolkien’s way with words. I’ll be the first to admit that his writing can be rather dense, that he really didn’t know when to shut up and stop writing six-page-long descriptions of a mountain, but there are some startlingly beautiful passages too.
I love the character arcs. I love the immense scope of the narrative. I love huge, all-encompassing stories like that, where there’s just so much to lose yourself in. Because lose myself in it I do. And quite happily, too. Gratefully.
I love the cinematography. I love it in all of the movies, but especially in The Fellowship of the Ring because there are some shots that make chills run down my spine in a not-unpleasant way. (Just to get ridiculously specific, the part of this scene from 2:12 to the end of the video is probably my favorite in the entire trilogy. Ahhh, goosebumps all the way.)
I love the music. It’s gorgeous and usually makes me cry.
More than anything, I love the very idea of Middle-earth. I wish I could be there: I’ve talked about that multiple times on this blog, most notably here. I know it’s not real but it feels like it is. I want it to be. I wish I weren’t part of this world, part of this life, but part of Middle-earth instead.
I know Middle-earth isn’t a perfectly safe place; in fact, it is far from it. But it’s different from this place. I would be safe from the things that worry me about this place. I would be far away from all of this. I know it’s not perfect but I still get a feeling of peace when I read about this place and that draws me to it.
And that is why Lord of the Rings is helpful to me on even my worst mental health days, in case you were wondering when and how I was going to circle back around to the topic with which I began this post.
I don’t have time to reread or rewatch it every time I feel down – I’d get nothing else done if I did! – but I can take a small amount of time out of my day to listen to one of the melodies that calms or inspires me. I can find a quote that seems particularly applicable to the state of the world and/or my life. Sometimes I simply visualize a location in Middle-earth, imagine myself wandering through it, and that makes me feel more at peace.
In all fairness, most fantasy books, movies, TV shows, et cetera have the same effect on me. Most stories in general – in any medium – do. Lord of the Rings is special to me, though. It’s what seems to work the best in this regard at this time in my life.
Half a decade ago I probably would have cited Harry Potter as the story that worked the best. I’m not sure what I’ll turn to in the future, but for now Lord of the Rings is my go-to story when I need something beautiful, something that reminds me that there are things worth sticking around for. Worth living for.
…I very nearly ended that particular train of thought/writing with, “That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.” But I didn’t. Because I thought that would be just a little too cheesy. Still. It’s a good quote.
What do you find beautiful? Why?