Thursday, March 6, 2014

Right Now

There’s so much going on in the world outside of where I am, that it just makes me want to hide further inside myself. It’s hard to put my finger on but there’s a familiar feeling that I get when I encounter it. My chest tightens ever so slightly. It’s a form of stress in its purest, most poisonous form. It’s hard to turn anywhere without a constant flurry of negativity and I can’t deal with it anymore. I used to take the bait, I used to let myself feel the self-righteous, indignant rage and any perceived injustice, even if it wasn’t directed at me. Maybe it’s just that I’m getting older, but I don’t feel the need to stand in the center of the storm anymore.

It’s everywhere. Maybe not everywhere, maybe that’s a misstatement, but I spend a lot of time online and I feel like it’s constantly crashing down from all corners of the Internet. There’s constant political volleying and bickering (OH GOD THE BICKERING), there are international spats, there are awful trends and hateful vitriol (maybe that’s redundant) and people issuing cowardly and anonymous death threats through twitter and other public forms to anyone they don’t like, anyone who dares disagree with them. Everything is out of balance. There’s rampant shaming of everyone by the media for every perceived infraction – slut-shaming, fat-shaming, everything-shaming – and everyone is a critic, even when people are trying to do good. But if everyone isn’t perfectly PC or accommodating to anyone, they get attacked. (And maybe I’ve been reading too many feminist websites, so it just seems that way, but damn, it makes me never want to speak a word in public ever again because everyone is offended by everything. Not saying some of that offense isn’t justified, because some of it totally is, but… I think there are some people just looking for stuff to get upset about.) I don’t know why everyone is constantly picking fights just to fight. Everyone is so angry. Everyone is looking for someone to take their anger out on. I think everyone has totally lost sight of the meaning of “respect” – they wouldn’t treat people like that in real life, at least I damn well hope not. Maybe I’m naïve, an optimist, whatever. I’d rather be a dreamer than an asshole.

The world feels like it is out of control. More than usual. 

All the clickbait content machines and the shoddy journalism that nobody fact-checks, sensationalist reporting at its finest. And even if someone does do research and come out with a retraction or correction later, it doesn’t matter, because that first impact of falsehood is what was spread and nobody is going to pay attention to it. Good luck getting correct information to spread as much as the false ones. It won’t. There are some sites that have taken to writing weekly columns about what particular viral stories that week are complete and utter bullshit; facebook has turned into one big email forwarding chain circa the mid 1990s. I’m not sure Snopes can keep up fast enough. It’s so easy to react without looking into it. It’s exhausting. Because blatantly wrong information is one of my biggest peeves (I have a lot of peeves, and the majority of them seem to be communication related) and I so want to fix everything and push out all the counter-information but it’s impossible so I have to sit on my hands and look the other way. Cat videos, mostly. Anything funny. The people that create funny content for the Internet are the people that save me from giving up on humanity.

So I’m turning inward, more than I have before, because my little corner of the world is safer. I’m much happier not giving a shit about what’s happening in the world because I’m being fed so much false information that it’s all probably a lie anyway. Everything is blown out of proportion and I can’t trust any of it. I used to write thoughtful (or ragey) posts about issues and events and things that I was passionate about. But I can’t, anymore. It’s too much. It causes me a lot of stress and angst. The world breaks my heart over and over again. So instead of being overwhelmed by All The Things, I am going to return this space to where it started. I’m going to write about me again. My life, my thoughts, my observations. It might be boring as hell, but I like being able to capture snapshots of my life. That’s why I take so many pictures, too. Maybe I’m searching for some meaning in all the chaos, preserving the bits where everything seemed to make sense. I don’t spend an awful lot of time looking back, necessarily, but everywhere I’ve been is part of where I am and where I’m going. It’s all part of the same road.

At any rate, I'm giving myself permission to ignore the world when it gets to be too much. I'm giving myself permission not to have to weigh in with my opinion. The world doesn't need it. There are plenty of others. But that doesn't mean that the world doesn't need my voice - maybe it does, it probably doesn't - it's just one of many, but everyone's is at least a little bit important. We all view the world through a different lens; maybe we captured something someone else didn't notice, or something they wished they would have but they ran out of film that day. (or, errr, ran out of room on their memory card. As it were.)

A phrase I stumbled across recently was that of common humanity – meaning that whatever is happening to us, good or bad, whatever we are feeling… someone else is feeling it too. So maybe if I can wrangle my thoughts and feelings into words, maybe someone will find something to relate to. They say blogging is dead (they also said rock & roll was dead, and that’s not true), and I have felt the decline of the heyday, but that’s fine. I was never in it to make a career of it, I could never siphon my whole soul into it, no matter how much I wanted to. Trying to keep up was a chore and having too many to-do items on my list was overwhelming. I’m tired of letting myself be overwhelmed by my own doing. But I do miss it. I miss writing, in general. It's always the first thing to go when I get busy or stressed or tired. No more, I say! No more! 



Kelly L said...

I highly recommend tuning out all the yapping. It's hard at first because you feel like you're out of the loop, but once the world around you grows peaceful again you realize that that loop is just a bunch of insignificant crap. Listen to the world news once a day or so, and that's all you really need to hear.

Kelly L said...

I second Steph. Confession: I quit following your (Kelly's) facebook feed a LONG time ago because I got sick of all the stuff you're talking about. You're not the only one that I quit following, but I felt the WORST about pulling you off of my feed.

Here's the deal: what's happening in YOUR bubble? I think that's what I've decided is the most important. Yes, other things are happening in the world, but it seems that paying attention has a very negative effect on you. I think you have the right idea by NOT paying attention. I'm with Steph on checking in every once in a while, and maybe choose a different news source (NPR would be my choice) so that the journalism is a bit better and a little less pointed.

Myself? I actively don't pay attention to media. I quit reading blogs daily and check in maybe once a week, and skim over things I think might be triggers (like that whole thing a few weeks ago about the biggest loser winner ... who cares?!).

If you find yourself being triggered, ask yourself some questions: 1) Is this affecting me personally in a negative way — today? 2) Do I have time to deal with commentary that is going to happen if I participate? 3) How will I feel if somebody argues against me? 4) Does paying attention to this make me feel ... icky?

I've found by not participating in reading social media and paying attention to news items that I'm much less stressed about life in general. I don't have time for that shit, and neither do you. Give it a try. :)

Kelly L said...

Also, I consider myself fortunate for being so busy that this was very easy to cut out of my life. Maybe pick up another hobby so that gives you less time to care about other stuff that doesn't really have an effect on you. (also I need to look up affect vs. effect. shitty writers have made me forget which is which!).

Kelly L said...

This is exactly how I've felt for a long time. Years, even. I actually told Dan the other day that I was thinking about deleting my Facebook account because I'm getting to a point where I can't deal with all of the articles about how terrible people are, all the time. I just want to be happy, and to do that, I need to focus on things that make me happy. And those things do not coincide, unfortunately, with the things others want me to see or think about.