For the whole morning, I’ve been trying to snap out of “it”. It being my demeanor when I get in a conflict funk. When I feel the discontent of winter in every ounce of my body. When I want to laugh and be fun, but I didn’t sleep well last night, and I just can’t get myself to push past the aches in my neck and the pains in my heart’s roots. They are defining my day, no matter how much I wish they weren’t.
That’s how I learned the hard way that you can’t tell someone with anxiety, or really anyone, to just snap out of it.
I’m on a “diet” called Whole 30, trying to do a better job of monitoring what I eat. If you read my Marie Kondo blog, you know I’m on a “purge”, getting rid of the stuff that has cluttered my home and life.
But I still feel stuffed.
Today, I’m stuffed with information about the injustices in our world and in lives of people I love. I’ve reached my limit. My ingestion of news, podcasts, stories, and conversations have all been surrounded in such ugliness and challenge the last week, and like a glutton, I’ve gulped down way more than I can actually handle.
I’ve been trying to actively listen and participate in the #MeToo Movement. Some friends and I attended Tarana Burke’s talk at the U of M last Friday (Feb. 16th). I listened to the podcast Hidden Brain: “Why Now?” I have been praying for friends and strangers who have personal experience with sexual trauma and abuse.
I’ve been trying to actively listen and participate in the conversation on gun reform. I’ve over-consumed images, quotes, stories, videos, all sort of media on both sides: testimonies from survivors and suffering parents, memes for all sorts of positions, articles supporting the NRA, posts about shutting down the NRA. And I have been praying here too, for the friends and strangers who have personal experience with gun trauma and abuse.
I think I have to return to my sphere of influence again. Sometimes I get greedy in the sense that I really, truly believe everything I think is right. I evangelize my perspectives like God has endorsed every single one. And I’m working hard to seek multiple perspectives, locate multiple stakeholders for each issue, and critically think.
Back to the idea of being stuffed, I just am. I think I have a high tolerance for learning about uncomfortable topics, but I can’t swallow anything else. I’m human. I’m tired. I’m working on some of my own stuff. And I’m trying.
I can’t give what I don’t have.
Life has been so dark lately, especially with the frigid temperatures and lack of sunshine. So, I’m intentionally choosing to go on an “information diet” for the next few weeks. To really let everything I have excessively read and learned actually break down and absorb in my ability to form worldviews.
So much of me feels this is a cop-out and an example of my white privilege: checking out when it gets too hard. People in subordinate groups, like the women and men survivors who have to say #MeToo and the families affected by gun violence, don’t get this luxury. And I think that’s why I pushed myself so hard to keep reading, clicking, starting dialogues, and learning.
But now it’s time to take a step back and let it all digest so that I can actually be compelled to productive action. I think I feel like a couch potato because I have “over-eaten” so much information.
I’m going to try to do a better job of monitoring my information intake and to purge the unhealthy thoughts that have cluttered my brain space that keep me paralyzed from movement.