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Just Passing Through
 Post subject: My very personal Silent Hill experience

Missing since: 27 Aug 2012
Notes left: 13
Hello fellow Silent Hill fans,

I haven't played any Silent Hill game in a while, yet I do feel a strange connection to the games and that place sometimes. This is what started yesterday again.
Today I felt the strong urge to write down some of my thoughts, if only for myself. Still, while it might not be interesting for most of you, I thought it wouldn't harm anybody if I wrote it down here instead of letting it dissappear in the depths of some drawer never to be opened again.
I'm sure many people here can somehow personally relate to the concepts of Silent Hill, so maybe some of you can understand. I would also like to stress that I'm not whoreing for attention, I'm just sharing.

So...where does this feeling come from?
I'm one of those people that rely on a "strange" safe harbor to calm down when everything else is in turmoil. For me, melancholy does just that. Some might think it's a bad feeling, for it often strengthens the negative views one has got. I think though that it is a state of mind that lets you detach yourself, together with your worries and strife, from the pressures of daily life. It is something that calms negativity and shields oneself against exaggerated emotional responses. This is where the whole concept of Silent Hill comes in for me, but I'll come to that later.

I'm a scarred man, both in a psychological and in a somatic way. I'd been in therapy for years, trying to overcome my inner darkness. There is progress to be seen and I think I'm going the right way, but I'm often stumbling. I've been through times where Silent Hill was everywhere for me, like the bitter truth behind the shiny surface glued onto the faces and facades of people and buildings. Like the distance between me and my environment, the alternate psychological dimension I was dwelling in. I remember myself listening to one of Akira Yamaokas soundscapes while on a train, watching the world like my eyes were just a window for me to take a peek outside. While this might sound quite depressive for some, I can't stress enough that there's more to that than sadness. Comfort!

Silent Hill draws in people that are scarred and are carrying their own heavy burden. It is also just as detached from daily life, and this is one of the key components that makes it so fascinating for me: this completely detached process of confrontation and reflection. I think there is not enough time for that in or between our daily routines. Of course Silent Hill is filled with horror, but for me the biggest horror is carrying around the things that weigh me down while still having to function in the way society expects me to do. It makes me feel like I'm melting, so I need that time, despite many people not showing much understanding for this need. I'm talking about maybe 2 or 3 hours of beautiful isolation regularly. Combine this urge with career pressure and the emotional attachment and time investment of a long-term relationship and the melting pot of polar opposites is complete. It is hard to get all these things working and those needs satisfied without sacrifices, sometimes it's not possible at all.

Whenever I feel this way I come back to Silent Hill, at least emotionally. Sometimes I even grab one of the games because of those emotions. It holds a grotesque beauty some cannot see that is different from your usual horror flick. To me it's a place of contemplation. It's similar to the alternate reality I've been hiding in when I felt overwhelmed and exhausted, isolated and alone. And while some might think this is just a cage that holds back and confronts oneself with horrors, it sometimes is also the only place where peace of mind can be achieved. This applies to many Silent Hill stories too, I think.

In a way, it helped me teach myself one vital lesson I need to accept: The aforementioned inner darkness is a part of me, and not necessarily something I need to fight. I have to let it out once in a while to clean up the mess life leaves behind. Whether the sun is shining or the rainclouds cover the whole sky, I can return to that place. I can just put in the game disc and get in that mood... or I might listen to some Yamaoka and take a walk outside. And it helps, it doesn't matter where I am. It creates my own dimension, with everything painted in grey, with ashes and rain falling from the apocalyptic sky, me standing amidst these ruins in the middle of the street, taking a deep breath of the peace-bringing isolation I often long for.



(If you've read that far, you've made it ;) I think I could write on and on for hours, but I'll leave it as it is right now.)

EDIT: Oh and of course I'm interested in anybody elses experience concerning his/her life.


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Gravedigger
 Post subject: Re: My very personal Silent Hill experience
     
         
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Missing since: 31 Aug 2010
Notes left: 467
Last seen at: Marioland
It' s a feeling Charles Baudelaire coined as "the spleen", though he wasn' t the first to convey it in literacy. I' d be very surprised to learn that Team Silent never heard of it. I don' t replay the games for the sole purpose of silent melancholic introspection (which I too am prone to wallow in quite regularly), but they do have that effect on me.


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Just Passing Through
 Post subject: Re: My very personal Silent Hill experience

Missing since: 27 Aug 2012
Notes left: 13
Thanks, I'll look that up.

Is being prone to that a burden to you, or does it offer some sort of relief too?
It's nice to hear someone else having a similar experience even if you don't play them for that purpose.


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Gravedigger
 Post subject: Re: My very personal Silent Hill experience
     
         
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Missing since: 31 Aug 2010
Notes left: 467
Last seen at: Marioland
Well, it' s cathartic. It only becomes a problem if my environment doesn' t allow me to isolate myself for a while.

It doesn' t solve my problems, but it allows me to move on and focus on something else entirely once I' m done. I wouldn' t define myself as spiritual in the least, I' m not even sure that word actually means something, so for me this is more of a practical way to sort my emotions out.


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Just Passing Through
 Post subject: Re: My very personal Silent Hill experience

Missing since: 27 Aug 2012
Notes left: 13
Catharsis, I was looking for that word. Sounds as if you're experiencing the same problem with your environment as I do.

I don't think all problems can be completely solved, especially if they're of psychological nature. Sometimes you just have to cope with it and that's exactly where it helps.
"Spiritual" always sounds so esotheric or religious to me. Maybe I am a spiritual person, but I wouldn't say that about myself, because I'm neither of these. However, I wouldn't say that this is just a means to cope with problems. More often than not it's a beautiful way to spend my time.


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My Bestsellers Clerk
 Post subject: Re: My very personal Silent Hill experience
     
         
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Missing since: 25 Jan 2010
Notes left: 444
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Last edited by Yoshata on 14 Nov 2017, edited 1 time in total.

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Historical Society Historian
 Post subject: Re: My very personal Silent Hill experience
     
         
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Missing since: 12 Feb 2009
Notes left: 7987
Last seen at: Nowhere
Everyone needs a time for themselves. But when you spend years alone only as a living corpse melting with society, but outside it's real radius, things tend to turn bad.

Sometimes the ones that are to blame for our actions are not even ourselves, but the others. Some are born that way, but others become a sort of catatonic monster thanks to our beloved human kind.

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Just Passing Through
 Post subject: Re: My very personal Silent Hill experience

Missing since: 27 Aug 2012
Notes left: 13
@ Yoshata
Thanks for your reply. It's nice to hear you can feel what I'm saying. Some people might think that a horror game like Silent Hill must be purely stressful, but I don't think so.

@ Mephisto
It sounds a bit black and whiteish the way you put it, but I guess you didn't mean it this way. I think there are people who need way more time than others. In fact I know it is that way since I know many people that feel differently and even think I'm kinda "weird" there. Actually I don't even know a single person that wanders around aimlessly for hours, like I do, and thinks that isolating oneself for a great amount of time is "fun" or "relaxing" in any way. Still I wouldn't say that this makes me catatonic, and it's not just something bad either.

Also there are people living by themselves by free choice: recluses. They enjoy being by themselves, they choose to live close to Nature and be independent. You can always put a generalization on how human beings want to live, but you will always find someone that contradicts this generalization.

There are people who are outcasts because they didn't find a connection with people in their environment, or they've experienced too much hate. I think this is a difficult topic, and I feel like I'm one of those people. Still, I do have a girlfriend and some close friends nowadays, but part of me is still a loner. Maybe I have always been this way or maybe my experiences changed me into this direction, I really can't tell. And not only for the bad, like I said. It is something that often makes me feel stronger and lets me experience things a different way. It is something I rely on, the joy of experiencing my surroundings and my deepest thoughts without being dependant on anybody. The feeling that this melancholic joy (oh, what a paradox) can't be taken away from me. It is one of the most beautiful things that I feel and felt in my entire life.


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Just Passing Through
 Post subject: Re: My very personal Silent Hill experience
     
         
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Missing since: 07 Aug 2009
Notes left: 51
That's pretty interesting. I think my connection to Silent Hill could be considered similar. I grew up an outcast and had only a few friends (fellow nerds) all through school. I always found Silent Hill to be an escape, even with all the horror. For some reason I feel at home there. The lack of people or society was and is welcoming. If I was actually drawn to the town for some reason, the experience would be more hellish considering a person's version of Silent Hill is based on their inner darkness. In spite of that, I would welcome the experience because I would be in control of my destiny, rather than being forced through the tubes of society.

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