It's um, been an eventful week.
Yeah. That's a nice way of putting it.
All things considered, I'm a pretty sensitive person. Someone says something about me, I read into it like crazy. If there's an altercation happening nearby, I avoid it like a grenade's about to detonate. I don't do super well when surrounded by negativity.
Enter: The Election with his buddy, The Internet.
*Cue dramatic music.*
So I'm on Facebook and I'm on Twitter and I'm on Youtube and I'm being constantly assaulted from all sides with bile and the occasional desperate plea for compassion and decide I need to turn away for a while.
Not from the whole of the internet - clearly, I'm on it now.
What I've decided to "turn away" is my attention.
Essentially, what that means is when I've been seeing something that causes a strong reaction in me, I scroll away or otherwise do my best to ignore it. I acknowledge what I saw was there, but oh man, I gotta move on or else I'll start picking at that scab on my stomach lining again and then oh shit it's the flood of acid pouring out of me dammit now I feel like crapski.
Wish I could say I've just been doing this online, but really, I've been doing it in real life too.
I don't like that I'm doing this, but the only way I've been able to function properly is by compartmentalizing bad stuff and then shoving it away into some dark corner of my brain and trying to ignore the fact that it's rattling and making a lot of noise.
Forcing myself not to deal with unpleasantness. Healthy? I'm not sure.
Is it a matter of awareness or lying to myself? I don't think so. I think I'm very aware of what's going on around me and I admit that I don't like what I see, but if I start letting myself go down those trains of thought, things get really dark really fast to the point I get paralyzed and start to question why I bother doing anything.
Mundane example of my thought process: Driving to work.
- Driving on the highway.
- See homeless man with sign. He looks real bad and sunburned.
- Crosses my mind to stop and give him a little something, but I'm going by so fast and I don't want to be late to work and other things other things other things.
- Just going to ignore him even though seeing someone in such straits makes me sad and guilty, acutely aware of my privileges and how I don't feel like I deserve them.
- Why am I so special anyway? What have I done differently to deserve this life?
- I'm a coward.
- Back to driving.
- Gosh there sure are a lot of cars.
- Wow. Lots of exhaust.
- Oh man, the environment is crumbling.
- Humans are a pox on the world.
- The rest of the planet would be so much better off without us.
- Why do I participate in something I know is harmful to the world?
- Why do I eat meat? Buy cheap clothing? Burn fossil fuels?
- Why do anything if everything I do contributes to the suffering of others?
- My conscience isn't clean. I admit it, at least, but it makes me uncomfortable.
- I ask myself why I bother continuing trying to achieve selfish artistic fulfillment.
- Anxiety. Guilt. Doubt.
I wish I were exaggerating, but these are the leaps my mind makes if I allow it to wander. This is not an uncommon thing for me.
So I have to force myself to ignore it. Push the thoughts away. Otherwise, I lock up and can't do a damn thing until the feelings pass.
It's not a lack of awareness. It's being hyper-aware and sensitive to my own personal role in what I see around me. Then choosing not to deal with the tsunami I unwittingly unleashed in my brain.