Sunday, March 12, 2006

No to Yuck?

Do you ever feel like you're resisting the world you're living in? Like you shut your ears to the news, refuse to read the papers, because if you don't know about it, it didn't happen? And doesn't the world have a way of creeping up on you and imposing itself on your notice anyways?

My sister had a "say no to yuck" policy, where if it was bad news (somebody died, somebody fought, something got blown up) she didn't want to know about it. It made her too angry or upset. But eventually, the news would filter through and there she would be experiencing all those emotions she had tried to avoid.

But why should I talk. I'm worse than she is. Much worse.

There's none so blind...

Even when I was working in a newspaper and expected to be up-to-date on all the inane happenings of the world, I resisted, keeping up only with the happenings in my beat (to see who scooped who) and blotting out the rest. I just didn't want to know. Nasty news upset me so much I couldn't sleep at night. So I stuck to my Chicken Soup for the Soul alternate view on life, people being nice to each other and overcoming obstacles.

A typical conversation with my Mom, who devoured the entire newspaper as well as the evening news would be...

"So what do you think of what happened in Chile, ah? Wasn't it terrible?"

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"Oh come on, it was front page news..."

"You think I got nothing better to do than read my crummy newspaper?"

Mom is a simple soul. She could never understand the permutations of my twisted mind. She'd sigh at this point, giving up the idea of an interesting discussion on world events with her supposed journalist daughter, and ask about my health, my taxes, whether I had gone to church that week. If our conversations were monotonous, it wasn't her fault.

Lately I have been trying to let the world creep in. I try to quell the rising anxiety, the panic attacks. It has to even out someplace.

I go shopping and buy three pairs of shoes.

8 comments:

goldennib said...

Ah, Jenn, I know exactly how you feel.

I don't watch the news, don't read the newspaper (one of the few things I don't read) switch the radio station when the world sneaks in. I walk away from conversations about people's ongoing health problems (repeat conversations) or indepth analysises (sp?) of relationship disputes.

I am continuously told that I am avoiding reality, living in the clouds, sticking my head in the sand hoping the world will go away.

None of that is true. If I know of a problem, I want to and try to fix it. If I have no power to do so, I will politely have a conversation about it once or obsorb just enough of the outside world to be informed, but I have never seen the point of wallowing in misery.

How does having insessent discussions without heading towards a solution help?

Andy said...

Not to get too brainy (or nerdy, for that matter), but I think it all comes back to the "observer effect" theory and one of Newton's laws (I forget which). The latter is, "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction." The former is, of course, the belief that the observer always changes what is being observed.

When you put the two together, you come up with my belief that when you observe the world, the world affects you. (That is, you change what you observe, and what you observe has an effect on you--changes you--as well.)

Nerdy, but I think it's true and how the world ultimately works.

Jenn said...

goldennib: I read recently that we should read all this stuff, read it and let it go. I try to stay unattached, but it's difficult. Everything upsets me now, and when I'm busy pretending it doesn't, it actually upsets me all that much more.

Andy: I wish we did affect what we saw. And how.

goldennib said...

I don't think I buy that, Jenn. I have a very vivid imagination and even more vivid dreams. How am I going to let go of the pictures once they get in my mind. I'm pretty good at self-distraction, self-hypnosis, rationalization and all of the other coping mechanisms man is capable of, but if you keep putting it in, it takes too much energy to get it out again. I help where I can, but I can't help every where and I get frustrated when I can't help and angry and sad at what people do to each other. Why should I force myself?

Andy, I absolutely believe every action has an opposite and equal reaction.

I looked up the observer effect and it said that was "there is no phenomenon until it is observed." So I don't think that's the same thing. Based on this, I'm actually doing a good thing by not observing because then it means it didn't really happen, not.

Then the other definition had to do with things or people behaving differently when they are observed or not observed, like in interviews or tests. So I guess this would suggest that people behave better if they know someone is watching. This is ok for a while, but people soon become immune to being watched, like on reality shows.

OK I'll stop now, sorry.

Jenn said...

Have you ever heard of the Panopticon? It was a kind of machine designed so that you go about living your life, in a beautiful glass cage, full of sunlight, always aware that someone may be watching. The thing is, you couldn't see if anyone was watching or not. They got to see you, you didn't get to see them. Apparently they built prisons based on Bentham's Panopticon and it did modify behaviour.

In fact, those words: "If you see something, say something." act as a Panopticon - because even when you are out there, anonymous in a crowd, you never know whose eyes are on you.

OK, sorry for the digression. The method I recommended (letting go) came straight out of the book, The Sedona Method (I think I mentioned somewhere else that I was a self help junkie). The author said, when we were able to know what was happening around, feel all the emotions and let them go, we made progress not only in personal development, but in terms of how we affected the world.

The questions are:

Could you allow yourself to feel what you feel to the hilt?

Could you let it go?

Would you?

When?

And even if you answer no, no, no, no, there is apparently still a shift in your consciousness - Nessa, I would definitely recommend this book.

goldennib said...

I will look for the book. I'm into self-help info too. But if I could learn the things you mentioned and deal with them, that'd be great.

You touch on all of the areas that are involved for me. Growing up, the only emotion we could express (but in very defined ways) was anger. Everything else was keep inside and we pretended they did not exist. I feel things very deeply and regardless of what emotion it is, it is painful to feel it. I'm getting better at dealing with this part. I have accepted you don't die from feeling excessively (this is part of the epiphany I had which I will get back to once I'm no longer so distracted.) But i'd like to know how you get rid of things without taking years to do it and then how do you remain neutral, like the Dali Lama(sp?)

God, i'm rambling lately. I will look up both of the things you mentioned.

Jenn said...

Woo woo. I truly recommend it. It's called The Sedona Method and it's by Hale Dwoskin.

So far, the effects. I feel calmer on the road. To know the enormity of this, you should spend a couple of minutes on our roads....ha ha. We truly are appalling drivers.

Jenn said...

As for not feeling your feelings...you ever notice how when you stifle them, you just keep them hanging around?

Maybe next time you can take out a pen and paper and write:

I'm feeling like crap now. Rejection tastes like sour milk....