Jordan Peele recently emerged as one of America’s leading comedy voices on the issue of race in white spaces with his latest film Get Out. But while the horror-thriller continues to cast an ironic feel on many of the same issues, those of us who’ve seen the film still can’t seem to shake some of the focal points of the movie from our minds months after leaving the theater.
One aspect of the film or should I say metaphor/phrase that has commonly been used in my vocabulary since it’s February release was the “sunken place”, and how it carried such a significant undertone in Black America.
As defined by Peele himself:
The “sunken place” has since become an expression of frustration for people of color who feel more marginalized than ever, especially in the current age of Trump. Not only has the “sunken place” been used as a metaphor for oppression and silence amongst minorities, but it has also been used to express the continuous L’s that black people take every day whether we realize it or not.
From personal experiences to me, the sunken place can also be defined as “a mental or emotional state of conscious impairment”, no this is not a dark hole filled with drunken nights and meaningless sex, but a place where you literally become incapable of making logical decisions based on factors in your life that you may feel as though you have no direct control over.
In the film, Chris, played by Daniel Kaluuya enters the sunken place once Missy Armitage (Catherine Keener) exploits the psychological trauma that he faced as a child with the help of a tea cup and silver spoon. Proceeding to ask questions that leave Chris vulnerable and unable to move, Armitage then says ““Now, you are in the sunken place.”
By merely focusing on the pain of his past, and not the current moment in time. conscious impairment quickly took place leaving Chris trapped in the webs of his own mind.
After watching the film and engaging in countless conversations about its meaning and vibes, I concluded that the sunken place is hella real and that we all need to GET THE HELL OUT of it!
It is important to mention that being in the sunken place does not literally mean that someone has to hypnotize you in order for you to get there, but instead, it is the thoughts, actions, and decisions that one makes or steers away from that will leave you “stuck on stupid” to say the least.
“Sunken situations” as I like to call it are real as well, and too many times we fall victim of our circumstances and get consumed by the idea that there is no way out. In some instances, people who suffer from severe mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and mental disorders never truly come out of the sunken place thus resulting in a long list of problems that they can not deal with alone.
However, for those of us who are completely capable of making cognitive decisions, sunken situations are predicaments that we find ourselves in when shit gets a little too real.
Some examples include:
- Staying at a job that you no longer enjoy, but are too afraid to start a new venture or career path.
- Continuing to make the same mistakes throughout life, but expecting different results
- Minding everyone else’s business, but not handling your own
- Only acknowledging the failures of others and/or yourself
- Remaining in an unhealthy relationship both physically, mentally and spiritually
- Looking for validation from other’s, and not within
- Not being financially stable, but continuing to add additional liabilities (car notes, credit cards, etc)
- Blatantly ignoring your “life’s purpose”
Of course, there could be more situations added to this list, but those are just a few examples as to how quickly we can and most certainly have entered the sunken place without fully understanding how we got there in the first place.
Is there a way out of the sunken place?
I am a firm believer that nothing happens by chance. For every action, there is a reaction and sometimes people forget that for various reasons. Any situation that you may have encountered or gone through, you didn’t get there by luck or the lack thereof. The choices we make today, tomorrow or next week is a streamline of event’s that may alter our thought processes and actions for years to come.
With that being said, it is 100% possible to get out of the sunken place once or if you come to terms with how you got there in the first place. Just by reevaluating your life and accessing where you went wrong is the first step to clearing the cobwebs out of your mind.
The funny thing about life is that there is no correct way to go about things. None of us was given a manual on how life works, shit if we did, we wouldn’t be in the sunken place to being with! The key to getting out is simple, focus on the things that are important to you and stick with it! You can’t look back at the “should of, could of, or would of’s” hoping to change what happened in the past.
That’s exactly how Chris got caught slipping for those few brief moments as ol girl Missy tapped her tea cup.