I would be 100% lying if I said this global pandemic hasn’t triggered some serious Armageddon fears from my former life as a JW. Countless scriptures were drilled into our little baby brains and we regurgitated them as soon as we could talk–or sign, in my case.
A bit jealous
I envy my husband. Nothing fazes him in the least. If he does worry about something, it doesn’t show.
When I asked if he was worried, scared, or had god-awful night terrors about the current state of the world, he shrugged and said, “no, not really. We’ll get past this and there will just be ‘new normals’ afterward.” Then, he briefly griped about how the word ‘essential’ really felt like ‘expendable’ to him, and it was nothing more than a nicer way to say he was, “a sacrifice to the economy gods.” But that’s his narrative, not mine.
My narrative, is something I’ve been working on for over twenty years. And it’s hard, yo.
When Ronnie said he wasn’t worried or scared, I was a bit miffed at first. I even told him he had the emotions of a brick wall–he is an ISTP, after all. Then I told myself, “he didn’t grow up the way you did, Beck. He doesn’t recite scriptures from his youth because he wasn’t spoon-fed any. He’s not waiting for fireballs to be sling-shot from heaven, that’s you.”
When that hit me I got jealous. Jealous of him and any who didn’t experience that constant apocalyptic fear pumping through their veins. Lucky cult-free bastards.
I’ve been out of the cult for a total of twenty-four combined years. I left the second time in 2005, so one might think, “it’s been fifteen years since leaving again, lighten up.” I wish I could but something always triggers the panic. And I’ve spent a considerable amount of time trying to pinpoint the source of my hidden hysteria during this pandemic.
where is it coming from?
Well, I noticed something: the more time I spent online, and in various social media rooms, the more my heart raced; my trigger finger was ready to snap back. I could sometimes feel the blood rushing through my veins and that’s not healthy–not for someone still living with secret paranoia.
Social media has been a tricky fish for me–almost like a cult itself. I totally get wanting to connect; it’s a very convenient way to correspond without everyone around the globe having your number. And I love people. I do. Maybe it doesn’t seem that way because even before the lockdowns, I kept to myself. I can assure you it was for the sake of my energy level, and my need to recharge. It’s not that I dislike folks, that I’m anti-social, or even socially awkward. What I am is soul social. If no one’s sharing anything of real substance, I’m Casper. Poof! Checked out.
And for me, seeing the conspiracy theories–and mixed messages–floating around was enough to send me into cardiac arrest. I had to figure a way protect myself and the creativity I’ve given birth to as of late; mindlessly floating around online stifles inspiration.
I decided to move my social media apps into a folder, inside of another folder on my phone. Then I set screen time limits for myself. Know what? I ignored those barriers. And I saw just how many hours I spent bouncing between different platforms. Clicking and closing, clicking and closing, clicking and closing. Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. Blood boiling. Mini heart attack. Quick!–look for something happy. It was sickening. And I’m the only one who’s able to change it.
I’ve never been one who weans easily; I’m all in or all out. A basic, cold-turkey bitch. So, I chose out for the sake of my mental health. I still have accounts, just not apps. And you can still reach me here, in my own little dark corner of the universe. (The email works and I do respond)!
A deadly game of telephone
In last month’s blog, I briefly mentioned how an old photo of my friend Jeremy–taken during Houston’s Hurricane Harvey in 2017–was used on television (in the Bay Area) showcasing the current global situation.
Since then, it’s blown up on social media and been shared time and time again. Some people think it was intentionally planted because of his political leanings. (Whut?) Other folks said he wasn’t a real person. (I talk to him several times a week. I can assure you, he’s very real). Some flat out insulted and cursed him…you get the picture.
My point: when I saw these strangers insulting my friend and calling him a liar, I realized that social media, as convenient as it is, is also a dangerous game of telephone. One person has a message. They share it; somewhere along the way, the message is misconstrued and the mob emerges with pitchforks in hand. It’s tragic, really. And sadly, every one of us has been guilty of it at one time or another. I don’t believe it’s because we’re all maliciously waiting for a chance to poke someone with our own personal morality stick, I think it’s just what media platforms have now become.
All this isolation and free time is pretty common for an introvert like me; lockdowns, stay-at-home, or shelter-in-place orders haven’t affected much beside my wallet, really. I will say, I do miss the choice to be soul social, or not. I feel forced into recharge mode indefinitely, and I won’t lie–it’s fucking with me a bit.
I’ve been using this extra alone time (as much as I can get since hubby is now also home 24/7…we’re fine…really *send help*) for more self reflection. I’m going inward–more than usual–and trying to see this ‘personal winter season’ as a time to read books I’ve often passed by on my shelf, journal, sit at the lake by our house…and I gotta say, the dogs are getting some serious walks in and they’re not complaining.
I cleaned out the closets in my house, and my soul, only keeping what’s important. I’ve discovered…it ain’t much. I’m a simple girl, never needed much. My whole life, I’ve been the type of person who purges frequently; if I’m not using it, I won’t keep it. I’m trying to keep things simple, basic.
I don’t know about you but I’d love to get back. Back to a time the world didn’t need all this…extra stuff. Back to basic. Back to books. Back to writing. Back to gardening. Back to dreaming. Back to me.
Back to you.