Am I paranoid — or just prepared? How true crime made me more alert.

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Being a true crime “fan” is complicated because you’re often wrestling with consuming it as a form of entertainment and as a form of self preservation — a quasi-survival guide — from those who often didn’t make it themselves.

Every new Netflix docuseries, competing Hulu show, and behind-the-scenes companion podcast sobers me to the dark realities of the world and drives my sense of hypervigilance — for better or for worse. If you look hard enough, anything can look like the scene of a crime.

For me, managing that paranoia means writing things down even if it means curating a bizarre collection of notes of (potential) significance‌. Ultimately, the bit of anxiety that simmers in me is tolerable if it means keeping a victims memory alive, bringing awareness to unsolved cases or collecting evidence that might come in handy in the future.

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