When the World is Dragging You Down

I’ve always struggled with not feeling too deeply.  Whether it is in my relationships with others, or how I perceive the world around me, I don’t just go in a little.

Whoever or whatever may be with me, gets all of me.  I attach easily.  I feel things quickly.  My propensity for fear and living through it may have increased over the last 3 years, but I still love and feel for people with a bold intensity.

As such, I’ve likewise never been very good at distancing myself from more negative things that are out of my control, or may not have any direct impact on me.  Perhaps this is why, after teaching, advocating has been a second passion of mine.  I quickly get riled up when I see injustices done to others; while I’m easily sparked in these instances, I don’t have the greatest track record for dealing with them effectively or in a forward moving motion.

For me, rather, I tend to get stuck on the hurt, and I hold onto it.  It’s not a matter of holding grudges or lacking in forgiveness.  I think for me I am always incredulous and in disbelief when people say the things they do, or do the things they do to others.  I have a hard time acknowledging that some of the messy stuff that happens actually happens.  Call me naive, but I still like to believe that everyone is inherently kind and good.

Sometimes that simple logic doesn’t always hold, and when it does break, I find myself in a pool of disappointment and despondency.  It takes a while for this pool to collect substance, but given time and a series of unpleasant events, it fills up fast enough.  Before I know it I am treading water in the deep end and the sides of the pool seem out of reach.

This past weekend, I was witness to some senseless bullying of a good friend of mine.  My friend had reached out with reason and fairness to another individual in an attempt to find some middle ground, and was immediately greeted back with insults and threats.  This exchange continued over the course of the weekend, and by late Sunday afternoon, I had entered into full rant mode where I was fully immersed in the not so great part of being human.  The side where we tear strips off of others.  The side where we can’t see past our own noses and accept our share of responsibility.    The side where we cut each other, with words for no other reason than to bring a person down a peg or two.  To control things.  To have things go our way.

I’m all about control, and have been for as long as I can remember.  It’s why I developed an eating disorder years ago.  It’s why I like to plan things out and know what’s coming.  It’s why my struggle over the last few weeks in my new teaching position has been so frustrating.  I want to control.  While it isn’t so much a need to have control over others as it is a desire to be perfect, it still ends up effecting those around me and those I come into contact with.

I guess I regard my need for control as most harmful and detrimental to myself.  I know how hard I can be on myself to make everything just so.  I know how I will engage in destructive self-talk which only results in cutting down who I am as a person.

I don’t lash out at others though.  It’s something I don’t have the ability to do.

As a result, when I see others lash out at those around them, while I don’t necessarily understand why, I feel it deeply.  I take it on.

And it bums me out.  I am able to brush stuff like this off for so long, before I’m in that pool, flailing madly.

When this happens, I tend to disconnect.  I lose a bit of hope each time it happens.   I grow more quiet.  I curl up in a corner.

With all of the goings on of the last year especially, from more personal events to larger scale world events, I have found my belief that we are all inherently good and kind to have suffered some damage.

After this last weekend and what I witnessed there, the shooting in Las Vegas was the last straw.  I woke up yesterday feeling numb and restless with little energy.  I trudged around in my pyjamas for most of the morning not really sure what to do with myself, before I took myself out for a long walk around lunch.  I know getting outside often does me a world of good, and while it didn’t fix everything I was feeling yesterday, it certainly helped.

I’m beginning to realize that I need to be far more mindful too, of the information I consume.  I’ve been an avid CBC radio fan for years, having grown up with it in the background of my childhood, but I am finding it more and more difficult to tune out the half-hour news updates.  While I want to be present and be aware of what is going on in the world, I feel as though I’ve been saturated too heavily with all of the hardships, events and natural disasters that seem to have taken up regular occurrences over the summer.

Perhaps in an effort to counter the over-saturation of news, I have found myself more often turning to various forms of social media in an attempt to numb things out.  Get lost in stories that don’t involve me.  Look at lives that aren’t mine.

I’ve absorbed too much bad stuff, and I have tried to counter it with fluff.  I think in large part, that’s why I ended up wandering around in my pyjamas not sure what to do with myself, for most of the morning yesterday.  I’d had enough.

It can be challenging to break out of these somewhat mindless habits.  When I wake up the first thing I do, is turn on CBC radio.  I read the news on line.  I scroll through various feeds.  I read silly, vapid articles.  While I absorb all of this, to an extent, I do it mindlessly and without intention.

I realize I haven’t been filling my soul very well.  I’ve been going through the motions of what I have done for years, without realizing the impact it collectively has had on me.  It’s been a bit like sticking to a diet of rice cakes and ice cream-the first eaten as it’s termed “healthy” and the latter eaten to fill a void.

I keep up with the news because it’s what responsible adults do.   The news is my rice cake.  I then gorge on social media, pop-culture and fluff to try to counter the often hard to swallow goings on in the world today.

Rinse and repeat.

I think I’m done with that now.

With Love,

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Olivia Shaw

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I personally think this is a great habit to be done with! 😉