Like a street light in the dark – Twin Peaks saved my life

Dear reader. Allow me to get a little personal here for just a moment.

Twin Peaks is very special to me. It’s the type of fiction that has the ability to become more than just a TV series within my own mind. It creates so many thoughts, interest in new subjects and it truly works as a kind of “good-hearted tulpa” for my mind.

Self-portrait as Laura Palmer (2014) from my art project 365 Masquerades
Self-portrait as Laura Palmer (2014) from my art project 365 Masquerades

I wasn’t one of those who saw the original run. In 1990, I was 9 years old. I played the violin, went to art classes after school and acted in the first real stage drama of my life; A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. With 260 people on stage, it was a huge experience, and I continued to act (and paint) for many years. The violin was eventually traded for a guitar, but the interest in art, drama and narrative sticks to this day.

A few years later, Twin Peaks aired in Sweden again. I heard people talk about it, thinking it was ”just another TV series” like Dallas (or whatever else was in my frame of reference whenever I thought of a TV series). They’re all soap operas, right? But I couldn’t escape the passion that I saw and heard when my friends talked about this TV series in particular. There was something else there.

One night, I joined some of my friends for a movie evening. I don’t remember who’s place we were at. I don’t remember exactly when it was or who was there. But I do remember very well the VHS movie that was rented: Fire Walk With Me. I was mesmerized by what I saw and I wanted to see more. I wanted Twin Peaks in my life. Someone lent me a bag full of video cassettes with extremely bad copies of the Twin Peaks episodes, and I pressed play.

I watched and watched, and I watched. After school, on the weekends. I was absorbed by the series and its originality, I realized at the same time that I had already seen the movie that had spoiled for me the Big Mystery: Who killed Laura Palmer? It’s been around 20 years since this realization, and I’m not exaggerating when I say this is one of my greatest regrets. For 20 years I’ve wished I could have seen Twin Peaks with an unknowing, ignorant mind to experience the murder mystery unfold before my eyes, piece by piece.

I’ve been a Twin Peaks über-nerd since then. It’s been getting even worse with each year, especially after the internet made it possible to watch the series over and over and over easier. I tried to count how many times I’ve seen the whole thing and I think it is around 17. Some episodes I’ve probably seen more than 30 times or more.

I’ve got a Black Lodge wall at home. I’ve made Owl Cave rings and I wear my own almost every day. My skin has plenty of Twin Peaks tattoos. I made a Little Man From Another Place doll and dressed up as the Black Lodge with a Glastonbury Grove headpiece for a Twin Peaks party. I won the trivia contest that night. My friends know the one thing that I’m truly passionate about and what I have a ridiculous amount of knowledge about – Twin Peaks.

Gisela with her face painted like the black lodge
Image courtesy of Gisela

Self-portrait as The Black Lodge (2014). Another one from my art project 365 Masquerades

I’ve had a tough couple of last years, fighting both physical and mental unhealth, and mostly doing so by myself. Cursed with having walking around with a broken foot for 14 months, a cancer evaluation (I didn’t have it), getting diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and being evaluated and diagnosed with anxiety and ADHD as an adult (after having had the latter all my life without support). I’ve been fighting pretty hard to stay on my feet (or foot). My clinical depression has been with me for even longer than Twin Peaks has, and it’s always a rollercoaster. This year it’s been pretty severe, and the struggle to function and live while coping with it all – while working full time – has been… tough, frankly.

Everyone needs something to look forward to. And I’ve had Twin Peaks, The Return. Like a street light in the distance, it’s been there in the dark. And since May 22, it’s been shining constantly, no matter how thick the darkness has been around the two of us. I kept close to the source of light, and thanks to the beautiful online community that the street light has offered, I’ve found myself to be amongst others. Other people sharing the same passion and love for Twin Peaks as I do, to take along on the wild and wonderful ride that has been The Return.

And this time I got to follow along without already knowing some of the answers. That in itself is such an incredible thing for me. This time, I’ve had company, even if I’ve watched all but one part of The Return alone. Sharing my passions and thoughts for this series, I find myself at the near end of The Return being a Twin Peaks columnist for the site 25 Years Later. I’m exchanging thoughts with others, creating Twin Peaks things and art at home and I even make reaction videos on Youtube (where my latest video currently have an unbelievable 17 662 views). I’m not the least afraid to show my honest reactions, tears and laughter or whatever it might be online, because the feelings that Twin Peaks creates in me are mine. These feelings make me feel alive.

From the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you, Mark Frost and David Lynch. THANK YOU.

Dougie Cooper and Lady Jackpots with message from Gisela saying thanks to Lynch and Frost for Twin Peaks
Image courtesy of Gisela

From my soul I want to thank each one of you, online strangers out there, for participating in your own ways in this journey that has been such a light in my life, especially this summer. Thank you.

From my spirit and mind I want to say thank you to everyone who ever read my theories and thoughts or watched and commented on my videos. Thank you.

Twin Peaks is an amazing, beautiful, wonderful and strange piece of art. Twin Peaks has saved my life this year. It’s as simple as that.

Now let us all enjoy the last two hours of Twin Peaks, The Return.

/ Gisela (6:02 local time on September 3, 2017)

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Written by Gisela Fleischer

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