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In recent years, I've rarely posted about any big, serious news. This isn't because I'm hiding my head in the sand, or because I have no opinion. There usually are plenty of things I could say about the earth-shaking, generally horrifying news events, and in past years I tried voicing such thoughts about them on this very journal and elsewhere. I didn't like the results. Too much upheaval, too much debate, too much misunderstanding. At least, too much for my temperament.

I consider it a wonderful thing that some people do have the temperament to go out there and shout at their governments to change things, or to write one impassioned essay after another to shake up people's complacent thoughts. That's vital to the world and I wouldn't have it any other way.

But I'm not cut out to be one of those people. And here, I expressed it best in a just-for-myself journal entry from this past May (just before deleting my main Facebook account, in fact):

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My sensitive soul may be overstimulated by the barrage of world crises in the internet and radio these days. Even just the Facebook friends and their woes from around the world are a bit too much for me and add to my anxiety. So, rather than shutting out the world, I could draw in my focus to the world immediately surrounding me. Honestly I think that's all humans are equipped to handle anyway. I was picturing my childhood, cozy rainy days in Corvallis where our household had nothing to do except gaze out at the quiet rain and read books and have meals together. We weren't expected to keep in touch with a hundred people's lives all day, or read the news more than once a day (in the paper). Nor were most other people throughout most of history. And I daresay anxiety, or at least overscheduling, was rather less widespread than it is now.

So yes: less World Wide Web. Less news. I can be the quiet type of semi-hermit who creates a gentle, beautiful haven of calm in this chaotic world, and shelters her family and friends in it. Those people aren't lesser-than compared to the globally-striding heroes. They rock in their quiet way and they are necessary. I know I treasure them, so I'm happy to be one. And in any case, it sure reduced my anxiety levels today when I turned my perspective to look at myself this way, and resolved to draw in my focus and do what I can in a smaller way rather than trying to care about more than I can handle.

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So, though I may occasionally still get fired up enough about something big to write a post about it, what you can usually count on around here (and around my web presence in general) is that haven of calm. I want people to feel safe around me. To feel thoughtful and interested, but without any yelling. To get more impassioned about fandom than anything else. (Which, really, is minefield enough.) So happy holidays, and here, browse my shelves of books and have a cup of tea.

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Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Dean Mayes
Dec. 14th, 2015 07:54 pm (UTC)
I wholeheartedly agree with you Molly and it's something that I'm (trying) doing myself - withdrawing from the constant barrage of news and information. It has become so pervasive in our culture and so "in your face" that, I think, we've lost the ability to reflect on it. I know I have. The Queen said in her Christmas message last year (I think) that we should reflect more and that is the challenge in this hyper-news filled world. So I tend not to listen to, or follow the news. Rather, I listen to a number of podcasts which simply reflect on the news or current events in a way that really does take a lot of the steam out of them. It's also nice to listen to conversation - that's something that I think we've lost in this modern world. The art of conversation.

Thank you for posting this Mol. It's a timely reflection indeed.
mollyringle
Dec. 14th, 2015 09:58 pm (UTC)
Amen! I think by realizing that you could do with a step back from the frenetic pace of news and posts, you're already ahead of most people. It's no coincidence that people have this new phobia called "FOMO" (fear of missing out) these days, which, it seems to me, basically boils down to worrying that you might not see some "important" post. I used to have that hardcore, but I don't anymore, and life seems to have so much more space and peace now.

I decidedly prefer getting the news from methods other than someone flipping out about it in real time on social media. NPR's "Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me" may be my favorite source at the moment, since they manage to make jokes about it there. :) Podcasts in general can be awesome that way, and there are some really cool ones out there.

Keep at the peace!
CentAvePub
Dec. 14th, 2015 08:57 pm (UTC)
I think this is such a good post and reflects a lot of how I feel. I too have a very sensitive soul, so much that I'm unable to watch what I know are good films or read good books because their subject matter will affect me to the point of soul-wrenching distraction. Past acquaintances have also accused me of being an ostrich because I wouldn't watch Schindler's List or other like films. I know damn well what happened then. I just can't stand to see it, because I honestly won't sleep well for weeks after - the visual of torture embedded on my hyper sensitive brain forever.

Anyway, reflection is far more important, as is action. We read this stuff so much that perhaps our brains are fooled into thinking we already "do" something about it. When in fact, the Red Cross could just simply use some money instead of a tweet. Or the ALS Association could use some volunteer work instead of a bucket of ice over someone's head. Or perhaps reflecting on what kinds of racism we perpetuate in our own lives, rather than re-hashtagging some comment.

Thanks again for reminding me I'm not alone in my quest to ignore much of what is out there.
mollyringle
Dec. 14th, 2015 10:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Michelle!
Ha, I know what you mean about those types of movies and books. I've long wondered why an Oscar nomination for Best Picture seemingly indicates tremendous amounts of trauma. I used to watch some of those (I did see Schindler's List, for instance), and usually end up saying, "Wow, that was amazingly well done, and I'm never, ever going to watch it again."

And yes, far more useful to think about being the change you want to see in the world, as the famous quotation goes!

There's a book called The Highly Sensitive Person that I keep meaning to read, because I'm sure it would describe me uncannily well, and maybe give me coping strategies for this world. :)
sweet_jane
Dec. 14th, 2015 11:32 pm (UTC)
So much of social media is just pointless negativity. I often think of the Yeats line about how "the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." Your idea of creating a haven of calm around you is just beautiful. The world really does need more of this.
mollyringle
Dec. 15th, 2015 04:52 pm (UTC)
"Pointless negativity" does describe it all too well. And repetition of the same negativity too many times. Yes, Yeats seemed to be predicting the internet! Or at least, people have always been like that in some fashion. :) May you enjoy a haven of calm in your world as well!
Rich Mulvey
Dec. 15th, 2015 08:54 pm (UTC)
I was speaking the other day with someone about how so many people appear to believe that every subject must be approached in a strident, aggressive, unyielding manner lest others think that they lack the courage of their convictions. If you don't agree with them or honestly, don't really care, then you're the problem because you must care about ALL the things.

Maybe there was a time when people acted like that only in situations that were truly important, but now that it's the standard approach to any issue, large or small, it accomplishes nothing but to force others to tune them out so as to retain a modicum of peace and sanity.

A toast to quiet days with books, hot chocolate, and no WiFi. :-)


mollyringle
Dec. 16th, 2015 05:07 pm (UTC)
Oh jeez, that "you must care and you must be strident or you're the problem" attitude gives me flashbacks to college. Sounds just like all those newly righteous students riling up their peers. One of many reasons college rubbed me the wrong way at times, in fact.

Being calm and sane in one's expression of an opinion makes one much more approachable, I would think. But hey, it takes all kinds, and so forth. :)

Hope you guys are getting lots of books and chocolate even before the gifts are opened!
archaeologist_d
Dec. 19th, 2015 11:44 pm (UTC)
Each of us has to deal with the world in their own way. Whatever makes you happy and feeling good about the world is cool.
mollyringle
Dec. 20th, 2015 09:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you! As long as it follows the "First, do no harm" rule and all that, I guess... Hope you have a peaceful and pleasant holiday season! :)
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )