The Great Big Story Youtube Account Stopped Making Videos and I Don’t Know How to Fill this Empty Void (Alternatively: How do I stop being terrified and sad in a world that’s changing way too quickly??)
*scroll* *click on*
*click out* *scroll* *pull to refresh*
For the 459th time since I’ve opened my eyes today, and possibly the millionth time since quarantine began, I open up the Youtube app to see if there are any new videos that I can watch mindlessly and end up:
a) pondering the meaning of life
b) searching DIY bracelet-making kits on Etsy
c) falling asleep
As usual, I sigh in defeat because once again, it seems like I’ve gone through every music video, asmr, The Ultimate Dodo, best soccer goals of 2012, and Pero Like video ten times over. I’ve pulled to refresh so many times that my thumb has found a way to evade the evils of carpal tunnel. Regardless though, I do it again, just in case something else pops up (much like the way I’ve been opening and closing my refrigerator within 10 minute intervals). This time though, something does catch my eye. It’s an upload from one of my favorite Youtube channels: Great Big Story. This channel explores a variety of traditions, foods, rituals, and landscapes that, when woven together, create a culture. As corny as it sounds, I’ve had the ability to travel to multiple countries and immerse myself in cultures that I would’ve never known about before if it hadn’t been for this channel. And I was able to do all of this sitting on my bed in the comfort of my own home. Anyways, I was hyped up to see a new video, until I read the title:
We’ll miss you
I raised an eyebrow and clicked on it anxiously, waiting to hear the devastating news that I was able to guess from the foreshadowing title. The various narrators began the video as images of Japanese architects, Mexican dirt-bikers, and Iranian rose water farmers flashed across the screen…
“This is Great Big Story, a place to meet the most fascinating people on Earth. And after five years, it’s time for us to close our doors…”
There it was. There’s that news again. Another thing that seemed so stable in my life, gone. I know it shouldn’t be that serious, because it’s just the internet, but I couldn’t help but continuously mumble prolonged “noooooo’s” and feel sad. And I couldn’t help but think, damn, this is the fleeting world we live in now. Things are changing so quickly and we have no way of stopping whatever is thrown our way. I was pushed into a state of existentialism and devastation.
With the outbreak of COVID-19, the fight for racial, gender, and sexulity equality, the call to abolish police and confront police brutality, and so many more issues that are seeking to be acknowledged, it can be difficult to continue living without fear. We’re constantly told to be strong, to get through this together, and to get used to the new normal. But I can’t help but be terrified, and I often dwell on the past, and how things “used to be”. At the beginning of the year, I was so excited that I had finally changed my major after four years of pretending to like something that was not suited for me at all, I planned on visiting family and friends that I hadn’t seen in a long time, and I saved up and bought tickets to see my favorite group multiple times across the country. Each and every one of those plans were shut down completely, with no signs of them coming to fruition in sight. And that 180 degree turn was absolutely terrifying.
The question that I, and possibly other people around the world, am living with right now is: How do I stop being so terrified? When things, and people, are being taken away from us at such a horrifyingly fast pace, how do we prepare ourselves? When underrepresented groups are literally fighting for their lives in a country that masks the suffering of its people with its “greatness”, where do we turn? It’s complicated to even begin finding an answer for it, and honestly I feel like I won’t have one for some time. It feels like I’m harboring an empty void, waiting to fill it with answers that are light years away.
I guess the Great Big Story served as a stand-in for that answer I was, and still am searching for. It’s like a huge allegorical mess alluding to life B.C. (before Corona) and after. It was something that kept me grounded and let me escape from reality for five minutes to venture off into another country that’s so far from home. With its close, I realized that this ability to look away from things is a privilege in itself. Maybe I will get answers, maybe I won’t, and maybe I’m meant to just keep pushing through and survive, because that’s what’s most important right now. For now though, I think it’s okay being terrified of what lies ahead. Maybe this will be the perfect time to create, and listen to others’, Great Big Stories. Until then, Great Big Story Youtube Channel,
I’ll miss you too.
(Here’s a link to the video and their fabulous content.)