Hahaha, did you think this was a joy and gratitude post? Not with Debbie Downer at the wheel.
I’m at my capacity for taking on other’s pain. I can usually carry a lot, and I’m not one to look away. Today though, I’ve found myself looking away.
The good news is that I’ve been working on listening to the “look away” voice. Typically I would shame myself for getting overwhelmed. I would tell myself, “Your pain is nothing compared to this. You are privileged and you owe it to these people to be aware, to empathize, and to support how you can. You do not get the privilege of looking away and living in a bubble.” I do know that I couldn’t retreat into a fully naive bubble. Although, sometimes I feel like I’m engaging in some form of self-sabotage.
There is also this part of me that it mad at myself for being as impacted as I am by Lisa Marie Presley’s death. I know it’s because I’ve been recently immersed in learning about Elvis Presley’s life. But, every time I see an image of her, my heart drops. The pain is piercing. I didn’t know her. I didn’t follow her life and career. So my reaction feels like overreaction. However, her tragic death has been the tipping point. I have to look away.
A few years ago, i heard this idea that humans aren’t built for the level of awareness that the digital age provides. We are built for taking collective action on a local level. If we take in all the world’s ills, we become paralyzed. While I was looking for the source of this idea, i found this NY Times article, but I know it wasn’t where I originally encountered it. This piece also doesn’t exactly explain the idea that resonated with me. Suffice it to say, the human brain hasn’t evolved to be able to filter and prioritize all of the information we have access to, and we live in a constant state of high alert.
Even knowing that, I still feel a responsibility to knowing as much as I can in a broad sense. I seem to have an expectation that my brain has or can evolve to handle this level of awareness. I guess it’s not a surprise that I don’t feel like I am enough when I think I am supposed to accomplish what is beyond my human capacity.
So, okay Debbie, I see you. The world can be too much. We can grieve, and then we can breathe. It’s time do go do something. Anything, really. We don’t have to be stuck in helplessness. And Guilt-Trip Gabby, you back off. We are going to focus on taking action in our immediate environment and letting that be enough.
This is one of #clevercolette’s favorite songs, and I have to say I love it too :)
And here’s a little hope