Three years ago, I hit rock bottom. I was only starting to recover from the death of my father, who had passed away from cancer, when my mother was also diagnosed with the Big C. The mere concept that I would eventually lose TWO parents to cancer was paralyzing. I simply didn’t know what to do with myself.
Professionally, I had just begun my first job after a year of unemployment (and self-loathing). I began working as a writer in an advertising agency, where I found myself creating stories for brands I had absolutely zero attachment to. Between my unsatisfying job and the harrowing sadness that was my mother’s cancer, every aspect of my life began to suffocate me. The future looked grim, and enormously lonely. So I got proactive, and decided to combine my two lifelong passions: television and writing.
TV has been my escape for as long as I can remember. When I immerse myself in a show that I love, everything but the story and the characters fade away. For 40 glorious minutes, I detach from reality and I forget the misery. So one particularly busy afternoon at work, I chose to clear my head by starting up a little blog: Nad’s Reviews. I’d always been fascinated by reading in-depth analysis of my favorite shows, so I promised myself that I would write down a few lines after every episode of TV that I’d watch – and trust me, I watched a lot of shows.
So there I was, writing about things I actually cared about and using the writing skills that I had been carefully honing my entire life – it was BEAUTIFUL. In fact, it gave me a reason to wake up in the morning. I’d go to work, finish my assignments, and reward myself upon my return by watching… but more importantly by writing about my favorite shows. I began by writing an average of three lines about every episode, and soon enough, I began producing fully-fledged essays. What storylines worked? Which didn’t? What dialogue stood out, and what masterful twist did I absolutely NOT see coming. I cherished every bit of it.
Later that year, my mother’s illness intensified. Weekly chemo visits piled up, and we soon found ourselves living in the hospital for what soon became the most traumatic period of my life. I don’t think I can fathom anything worse than watching a parent wither away before your eyes. At night, my older brother and I would often take shifts watching over our beloved mother. The small hospital room, the relentlessly-beeping IV, nurses going in and out, … the cycle was endless, and it was a stretch of heartbreaking sorrow that I wouldn’t wish on anybody. But through it all, I kept writing.
A few months later, my mother passed away after an incredibly brave three-year battle with cancer. Still… I never stopped writing. In the year following my mother’s passing, I dedicated even more of my time to Nad’s Reviews. What began as a mini-journal for myself, grew remarkably fast. People actually looked forward to reading what I had to say about their latest television obsessions (not to mention the odd restaurant review or two). Their enthusiasm pushed me forward, and reinvigorated my spirit. Today, an average of 3000 people visit Nad’s Reviews on a daily basis, a far cry from the six readers I had when I first started out. The site has filled a void in my life. It’s helped me heal. It’s helped me grow. And it’s given me a purpose.
Grieving and coming to terms with my mother’s passing was, and is still not, easy. My shows and my words continue to offer me refuge, a silent escape from the horror that’s been my life. Yes I have my family (what’s left of them at least), and an extremely supportive circle of friends. But what of those moments when I’m alone? When all I have are my thoughts, my memories, and the pain that has yet to fully heal? Well, I have my blog and I have my shows. And on most days, that feels like enough.