Distraction

Ugh. It’s 10:17pm and I should have been in bed an hour ago. I’m not done putting Christmas away and I’ve been on Facebook for far too long.

I’ve been feeling really distracted and scattered lately – too many things on the “to do” list and too many interactions I want to have (challenging elitist thinking on social media, standing up for the causes I believe in), and then of course there are the obligatory job commitments. 

I’ve known for a while that I want to blog more and do more intentional things like read, write, and play my guitar. I’ve tried on a number of occasions to delete my Facebook app or even limit my time spent on it. Each time, though, I get sucked back in. 

But today was the last straw. A friend posted something promoting Kevin O’Leary and I challenged her, commenting that I would be more supportive of the PC Party if they had a different leader. Her response was that I likely wouldn’t like her thoughts on the matter – so we left it at that. After days of reading and reposting Trump articles and the preaching against his craziness and that of his followers, I have become emotionally exhausted even thinking of the possibility of someone supporting these tyrants. 

It reminds me of this meme I shared a few weeks back:

And that’s exactly it. I’m tired of the ugliness of this world and the people in it (many of them people of faith who fuel the bigotry and hatred with their judgmental ways). 

Being an empath, it is very important that I first preserve myself if I am to be of any support to anyone else. To me, this means disconnecting from my Facebook attachment. I wouldn’t say I have a full-blown addiction to the social media platform, but I’d say that it’s definitely my worst form of distraction. The social media platform has done many good things for me: it has allowed me to advertise my business for free, to connect with family all over the world, and it has taught me valuable lessons about intersectionality and community. It has also, sadly, caused me a lot of heartache and sadness and frustration as my brain struggles to keep my feelings in check and refrain from speaking when I shouldn’t. I allow myself to get sucked into the vortex too easily and I am way too willing to waste an hour interacting online rather than taking down my Christmas decorations. šŸ˜‰

So, here I am, getting back to being intentional. When I am feeling a need to discuss or vent, I have decided to do it here (and thus meet my goal of writing again). When I’m feeling a need to connect, I will chat with my Twitter peeps, and I’m hoping that by disconnecting from checking how many likes that last post received or what comments people had on today’s rant then I will be more able to focus on my list of tasks and feel better about getting myself organized at home.

This was a long time coming and I’m already ecstatic that I’m doing this. Stay tuned for updates on my struggles and the positive outcome of this commitment. 

Brutal Honesty

Today I hate my life. Sounds dramatic…I know. Emotional, over the top, a bit excessive…yes, yes, and yes. But you know what? It’s the reality of my experience lately. This is depression.

Have you ever been “stuck”? …on a thought, a feeling, or in a place in life? Have you ever felt so overwhelmed with negativity that you are literally immobilized with sadness? Have you ever wondered if people would actually notice if you were gone?

I think about it a lot. I often think about the fact that if it weren’t for my own exhausting efforts to connect with and reach out to others, I would probably never hear from anyone. In fact, I’ve actually put this theory to the test and have found it to be true.

We are such an independent, individualistic society. And while to some degree I find myself relatively confident in my independence because of my introverted personality, I am also very “relational” and find myself needing to connect with others for a sense of community. I love relationships, learning from others, supporting and encouraging those who need it and sharing a laugh at the world’s craziness.

But let me ask you something: How often do you express genuine gratitude to those people around you? How often do you check in on people – friends, family, even acquaintances on Facebook. How often do you freely offer a hug, a genuine smile, or a helping hand? It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own world, rushing from one activity to the next, focused on your personal obligations, never considering how you can contribute positively to the world around you.

This is definitely where I’m at today…feeling like an island in a big nasty world. As I went about my day of errands and activities today, thinking about all of the things on my “to do” list, I was suddenly struck by an incredible emotional fatigue. I am tired of life, tired of the rat-race, tired of trying, tired of keeping face. The energy it takes to live life just seems like an overwhelming burden right now. I made it to band this morning, played for two exhausting hours, remembered to stop at the market and grocery store for food, and now I’m at home curled up with a warm blanket and my kitty.

In a world so interconnected with social media and instant communication, life-tracking with “check-in’s” and insta-photos, I think we are so used to people broadcasting their thoughts, feelings, and daily activities that we have lost our empathic ability to inquisitively and actively care about those around us. It makes me think about a really specific example from my concert band practice on Saturdays.

During our coffee break time, I have noticed that there are always a fringe group of members who line the benches or stand quietly against the wall. Then the other 75% mingle freely in the middle, enjoying the snacks and refreshments, debriefing the week between practices. During these times, there is a lovely retired gentleman in the band who regularly makes sure to check in on me. We carry on a genuine exchange of experiences and ideas, thoughts and reflections. It’s really nice. And I see it as a true example of community and well-developed social skills.

This is what I miss. I miss the connections of family and friends who actually give a shit (pardon my French)…people who miss you when you’re gone or when they don’t hear from you…people who actually wonder how you’re doing and what they can do to help you. It’s like people don’t have time to care about others these days because they are so wrapped up in their own stuff.

I rarely hear a genuine “how are you?” anymore – with the intent to listen and not just respond. In much the same way, I have even found myself apologizing for who I am or how I feel simply to appease those around me (knowing that everything I do and say seems to draw an “annoyed” response). My personal feelings don’t matter. But my-oh-my…if I don’t consider the position of someone else at certain moments, do I ever hear about it!!

In a world that supposedly values objectivism, we are losing our innate human ability to sense and respond to emotions. They are not acknowledged or valued or understood. Given this fact, then, I find we are becoming more and more disconnected as a society, and less and less capable of communicating with or relating to those around us.

No wonder I am in such a dark place today.

…this is my life…