Homeland

Posted on 01.06.13 to Personal by Joan

I recently devoured the TV series ‘Homeland’ during the Christmas break. I’ve heard many good things about the show and it’s won a few Emmys. I downloaded the series off iTunes for many months now, and strangely enough, despite all the good I heard about it, it took me a while before I felt compelled to start watching it.

(My friend and I actually came up with a theory about it back then, that how as viewers, we are naturally keen to watch beautiful people, in beautiful sets. While shows like ‘The Office’ and ‘Homeland’ have excellent writing, it doesn’t have the power punch of the super gorgeous ‘A’ listers, impeccably stylish clothes and designer homes, a la ‘Desperate Housewives’ or ‘Sex And The City’.)

Anyway, back to ‘Homeland’. I only started truly enjoying the show mid-season, when the plot picked up pace. Why this series rates as one of my favourites though, is that it opens our eyes to another layer of society, wherein a group of people exist solely to make sure that we live in a safe world.

This group of people make it their life’s mission to remove all threats to us, while we go about our merry ways with our daily lives. Trips to the supermarket. Dropping the kids off at school. Taking the dog for a walk.

All this would not have been possible without this secret group of people who have their lives consumed with protecting national safety. I don’t know what the set-up is like here in Singapore, I can only imagine it being similar. And while I don’t envy being in that position of constant heightened alert, I am very thankful that these people exist.

On a personal level, the show hit a very intimate note with me. (Warning: spoiler alert ahead! Don’t read on if you don’t want to know parts of the storyline of the show.)

Claire Danes plays a very intuitive and aggressive go-getter CIA agent, who would do anything to get the job done, the truth out. She suffers from bi-polar disorder too. Towards the end of the series, she was misunderstood as a crazy person who speaks rubbish, when she actually very much saw and spoke the truth. She actually unknowingly saved the Vice President from a suicide bomber. But no one listened, no one believed. Everyone persecuted her.

I completely relate to her frustration at seeing the truth, while the world couldn’t (or wouldn’t). It could also be because she did not convey her messages in the conventional and socially acceptable way. But hey, whoever said that geniuses were conventional anyway? ;)

Ultimately, because it seemed that she was the only one who could see the truth, she started doubting herself and believing that perhaps, she was indeed, crazy.

That was how I lived for a while now, especially in the past couple of years. I started doubting my reality. Every time I spoke up against something that was wrong, I was made to believe that it was me who misstepped.

All this stopped when I sought for help with a therapist. She equipped me with tools on how to handle being in situations like this. Slowly, my reality became real again. I realised that while it may just be me who can see the truth for now, it did not mean that I was wrong. It just means, and affirms, that I am many steps ahead and that there is nothing wrong with it. I certainly do not put up with nonsense thrown my way now. And, unlike Danes’ character, I do not suffer from bi-polar disorder.

The show was so powerful to me, because I was never able to adequately express how it felt being in that position. And watching it play out right before my very eyes, while sad, I’m glad that people will get an insight to what it’s like to be struggling in that situation.

That was the biggest thing, and probably the best thing, that happened to me in 2012. The fixing, the rebuilding, the restoration of me.


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