CW: Sexual abuse
When I was a child, I collected various pop culture icons to create an alternate reality for myself called the Happy Place. It was somewhere I could go whenever the real world became too much, which was frequent. Where the Wild Things Are, The Dark Crystal, Nirvana, The Beatles, Tommy, Super Mario Bros., The Maxx, and The Legend of Zelda were all pieces of media I used to build a fantasy world that made more sense than the real world.
I pretended I was in Hyrule fighting monsters in order to save the princess. I imagined I was in the Pac-Man maze walking through the halls of school on my way to class. I sat on the couch with my Ren and Stimpy plush dolls and pretended I was watching The Muddy Mudskipper Show with them. Living in the Happy Place was the only way I could make it through my grandmother’s violent temper and the kids bullying me daily at school.
As I got older, I realized many of the people who created the works that went into my Happy Place were extremely problematic. John Lennon was abusive to his first wife and eldest son. David Bowie had sex with a thirteen-year-old girl. More recently, I found out the creator of Ren and Stimpy, John Kricfalusi, is an alleged sexual predator.
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