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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Damage My Calm

When I tell people that I’m an introvert, I always get the same response, “You? No.”

First off, introvert is not synonymous with shy.  Because we have difficulty in some kinds of social situations, we often appear shy.  Most introverts are gregarious and friendly.  They enjoy going out and having fun with other people.  However, introversion does tend to make one a bit more sensitive to external stimulus.

Years ago I read a book called “The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You” by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D.  The headline attracted me but it was this question on the back that made me purchase and read it.

Do you have a keen imagination and vivid dreams?  Is time alone each day as essential to you as food and water?  Are you “too shy” or “too sensitive” according to others?  Do noise and confusion quickly overwhelm you?  If your answers are yes, you may be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).

I can answer yes to all of that and more.  It was such a relief to learn that I was not alone.  And that I wasn’t a freak.

I’ve always been a bit different from my family.  I learned to read at an early age and had more intellectual curiosity than most.  I was the only one cursed with motion sickness.  No one ever really got how miserable it could get for me until I actually threw up all over the back seat of the car.

Certain sights and sounds throw me off to the extent that I have trouble functioning until they end.  I HATE perfume so much that sometimes I want to flee its very presence (or punch the person in the throat who’s wearing it).  I have to prepare myself for events that will involve crowds and noise.  And I’m one of the lucky ones.  I’ve met people who’ve had it a lot worse than me.

I don’t remember it being this loud, bright and anxious when I was kid. Everything seems to be ramping up and I don’t know when it will stop.

You can’t go anywhere that plays music because it always seems to be at eardrum bleeding levels (even at weddings).  Can’t the music be loud without having to be painful?  Is everyone else deaf?  I’ve had high levels of bass actually affect my breathing in dance clubs.

And don’t get me started on flashing lights and strobe effects.  I saw a movie this weekend and the end credits were done in a most annoying flashing style.  I had to close my eyes until they were over.

I’m trying to be greener and more responsible with my carbon footprint but a simple ride on public transportation can be an absolute assault on my senses.

AAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!

How about this — Next time you go out in public, try and actually be present to the fact that there are other people around you, and you are having an impact on them whether you want to or not.  You don’t need to make other people deaf with the volume of your car stereo.  You don’t need to be smelled in a ten foot radius.  And for gods’ sake, don’t let your child just screech away in small spaces.  That’s like daggers in my brain!

And I’ve been guilty of being an asshole too, in case you think I’ve spent too much time on my soapbox.  I used to be a smoker and now that I’ve quit, I get what a jerk I was with that nasty habit.  I sincerely apologize to all of my non-smoking friends who ever had to endure me.  I can say from experience, payback is a bitch.

 

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Why so bored?

One man’s boredom is another man’s pleasure.

What I think boredom is can be summed up thus — If you’re bored then you’re not really paying attention.

The more open my mind becomes, the less susceptible I am to boredom.  Life is endlessly fascinating and it’s just getting more so.  Everything feels like it’s speeding up and getting more extreme.  What’s there to be bored with?

Consciously or not, you make a choice about everything.  You can choose to enjoy something that is happening or you can choose to be bored by it.  The thing in question has no inherent reactionary impact on you whatsoever, except to the extent that you allow it to.

Boredom can be a way to avoid having to deal with an emotional reaction you’re having to what’s going on.  Or it can be a way to feel above it all.  It’s not a right or wrong thing, but if you find yourself bored more often than not, what’s that say about you?

What about the things that make you angry?  Or the things that make you sad?  If you really can pick and choose how things impact you emotionally, would you keep choosing those knee-jerk emotions to the situations in which they normally arise?

I get pissed off the moment I hit some traffic.  Not because I might be late or I can’t get where I’m going, but just because it’s there.  It’s even worse when I can’t find the source of the traffic beyond just too many fucking cars on the road all at the same time.  There has to be a reason why?!?!

My blood pressure went up from this picture alone.

It does take some effort to re-wire your automatic responses.  We live on auto-pilot for so much of our lives and we don’t even realize it.  Probably why people can actually fall prey to boredom in a time of so much to do.  You’re bored because you aren’t even present to your surroundings.

I have days where I’m flipping through the channels on TV and can’t find one thing that interests me.  That really is my own fucking fault.  I could choose to be interested in America Ninja Warrior or Days of Our Lives if I really chose to be.  But then again, would I really want to?  Computer says no.

“I once thought I had mono for an entire year.  It turned out I was just really bored.” –Wayne Campbell

Dystopian Fantasies

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I watched the new Total Recall movie today, and I was really struck by something.  As I see it, there are generally two forms of imagined dystopian futures that literature and film and other forms of entertainment have put forth.

One is the fascist and bleak view that governments and/or corporations will treat the entire planet like some third world dictatorship with a small elite attempting to subjugate and control the rest of the population with unending wars and limited resources.

1984-style

The other is a complete breakdown of society wherein gangs of armed thugs run rampant over the land taking what they want and killing whoever gets in their way.

Mad Max is in da house

Make no mistake, shit is breaking down.  If you don’t think so, I’d like to know what rock you’ve been living under.

What if there was a third option for life after the shit hits the proverbial fan?  What if, without the constraints and reigns of civilization, people chose en masse to return to a more manageable way of living?  Perhaps something akin to tribal societies or communes/co-ops.

If we don’t end up destroying our ecosystem before our structured way of living begins to breakdown, what if we all just said “fuck it” and let it collapse?  Most people have neither the need nor the desire to have control over other people.  They just want to live their lives.  That’s why the ruling elite have been nicknamed the 1%.  It’s not just about the concentration of wealth.  That’s really how many there are of them.

And yet, they have all the say in how things are run and how stuff is divided up.  If the rest of us could figure out this food, air, water deal, what then would we ever have to fight about?  Not their profit margins, that’s for damn sure.

You don’t fight because it’s in your nature.  You fight because someone has convinced you that it’s your only option.  Someone has created a reality wherein fighting is normal and natural and has always been so.  But if you don’t subscribe to the nonsense that humanity is only a few thousand years old, what were we really like before written history?

Archaeology isn’t the truth or authority on anything.  It’s just a bunch of educated guesses based on minimal evidence and through the eyes of a civilized human being.  They keep revising their opinions about dinosaurs for crying out loud.  You don’t honestly believe they’ve got prehistoric people figured out yet!

I’m always amused by people who think religion or science or any other human system has it all figured out.

The death rattle of our current incarnation of civilization will be a long and protracted one if we continue to cling to this unfair and unsustainable way of living.  Opt out and explore other possibilities while you still have the time.  Those ice caps will eventually quit melting, when they’re all gone, that is.