I'm sure I don't have to introduce the recent tragedies surrounding us. They're everywhere. Both the events and news of it.
When something of this caliber happens, it paralyzes me. I feel as if whatever happened to these strangers happened to me or my family. It gets hard to breathe, to speak, to function. I cope by retreating away for as long as life will allow me to.
Universal pain is personal pain. And I already have a habit of taking things personally.
Now, I'm a fan of digital media, probably more so than the average person. Without it, I would be jobless. And even if I wasn't a fan, the reality is that everything (quite literally, everything) we experience in the flesh does, and increasingly will, occupy a space in the digital world.
The boundary between our skin and our screen is becoming more and more blurred.
But the dangerous part about this is how skewed our real-reality can become due to the nature in which our counterpart-reality – the digital realm – allows us to pick and choose the information we acquire and digest.
Life is sacred, and the loss of anyone's stops my world. Yet headlines for content covering it lies adjacent to news of the latest iOS updates and recommendations for sunglasses. My friends' tweets about their prayers are buried between dozens of others complaining about work. Dedicated Instagram posts captioned "#PrayFor__" are sandwiched between photos of them getting drunk.
I'm not saying that anyone's intent is dismissible. Actually, this is all completely natural – our lives are combinations of tragedy and comedy, of the fantastic and the mundane. Of course our posts will depict that. Even newspapers with the most jaw-droppingly unfortunate front-page stories still end with the comics.
So yes. The more frivolous things (in the bigger picture) are still a part of life and do deserve a space in our timelines / dashboards / feeds.
But it is just so strange to me.
the way we can so easily scroll through.
What we know – we think about,
what we think about – we feel,
and what we feel – become our actions.
I'm not trying to sound like I'm a modern anthro-sociologist.. but it just feels like something is broken.
With all this hate, prejudice, tragedy, loss – and the rampant spreading of that information, you would think that there would've been some progress for our humanity. That we would've learned. That we'd have found ways to love and accept.
In some ways we have. But in more obvious, dangerous ways, we have not. Something in our society is seriously broken, and continues to break.
Anyone can tell you that I'm a talker. I'm a highkey social media slut and just generally shamelessly vocal. But when something is really, really important to me, I shut the fuck up about it.
In turn, people think I'm "crazy," or at the least, theatrical about things that don't matter. Because they don't know the people I've lost. They don't know the medical complications I've had. I grieve quietly, so they think I'm just a drama queen. Even my coworkers, even my closest friends.
But that's okay with me, because I'd rather preserve something of that weight as my own. Some things, even bad things, are too precious to share.
So, like I said, it's strange.
It's strange to see these headlines side-by-side, inadvertently putting the importance of its contents on the same playing field. It's strange to know how quickly our generation moves through news and prefers it that way. It's strange how, laying in bed at night, I can be exposed to life/death situations – or I can choose to watch 100 Snapchat stories of what my friends ate for lunch – all through the same device, using the same platform. One swipe to the left, massacre. One to the right, sunglasses.
Do you gravitate towards things that matter, even if they hurt,
or things that are temporarily, but instantly entertaining?
What's broken isn't the way we're reading information, nor the way this gives birth to good intentions to better ourselves and the world.
What's broken is the way we're manifesting that intention.
We say so much but our voice gets drowned out in all the noise.
The reason I compartmentalize to this extent is because my heart needs that time to absorb things as much as it can. Or else, I feel like I'm living a lie.
Confronting painful issues and starting to heal is a process that only I have control over.
And it's the only way I can preserve my own humanity without hating the world around me. Without becoming angry, fearful, vengeful – just as poisonous as the very people I'm angry with.
It's how I protect myself.
There are a million reasons we can all be shitty people and perpetuate the things shitty people do. Or we can try to escape that labyrinth of senseless misfortune.
It's so easy to post something. To talk. Even to pray.
But the crux of the issue is how we live. Not how we preach.
What I'm advocating for is living with more mindfulness, away from the noise.
Mindfulness – the alignment between thoughts and actions. It's the only way good intentions can be translated into good actions.
Love is so powerful, but doesn't stand a fighting chance if you're neglectful in its practice. Stop saying "I love you," and go love.
Love is a verb. Do it to everyone. Every living thing. Every leaf, gust of wind, every sound, sensation, and smell. Love the earth like a damn hippie. Love yourself like you're Kanye.
Love loudly, love quietly. Love with pride, without ego.
Learn to forgive without closure. Learn to give without expectation.
If you miss someone, go see them.
If you appreciate someone, tell them.
Love, and do.
Love, and do.