Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What's Going On?

Last week, What's Up by 4 Non Blondes came on my MP3 as I was driving home. As I let out my rather pitiful rendition of the song, I thought, What is going on? No, seriously. I glanced over to the car next to me and saw a couple in a full throttle fight, like screaming match. The only reason I couldn't hear them was because I was too busy sing-shouting, "And I scream at the top of my lungs WHAT'S GOING ON?"

Hindsight, this kind of seemed like an appropriate time and place for the song. Needless to say, I was tempted to roll down my window and actually shout at them. Driving is not the time or place to have an argument. For one, it's dangerous. As you all very well know, I am all about being a badass, but I prefer not taking my own life or anyone else's while participating in badassery. 

The thing is, I've had these moments before, but none quite so face slappy. On a daily basis, I look at the world and think, what the bleeping bleep?! (Those are swears of the eff variety.) Once upon a time, it wasn't so bad. People's anger and hurt and pain and grief didn't used to run me over. This was a long time ago - you know, before Facebook - but now, everyday, I see all this discontentment and rage.  

There isn't much to do but inhale and exhale. And try to show a little love. 

But sometimes...well, sometimes it's hard. 

Sometimes people are so unloveable. They are pissed off at everyone and their mother. They are dirty (and not in the good way), but filthy and piggish. Argumentative. Sad. Depressing. Ignorant. Judgemental. Determined to ruin other people's days. Stubborn. Hostile. Passive aggressive. Deceitful.  

Even more so, people are distracted. 

I've been there. Obsessed with belongings and acquiring, trying to figure out the things that will make me happy. A new camera, a fancy laptop, a house, a boat, a vintage car, trips all over the world. But all along I knew happiness came from within. It was never in possessions. My sadness was directly linked to not liking who I was and what I was doing.     

More so than anything else, our own actions hold us back. It isn't anyone else's fault. Responsibility isn't such a fickle creature. If you need distractions to keep you away from your own company then maybe it's time to take a serious look at what it is your doing. Who you are as a person. And what exactly you're putting into the world.  

Two weekends ago, I found myself out to lunch with a few people, one of them a good friend. Now, I love my friend. He's funny, gentle, silly and essentially, at the core of him, a wonderful person. It's why I was there. To see him, to spend time with him. But there I was, watching the conversation go around the table, listening to the stories they had to tell, completely detached from the whole situation. I was simply watching. And underneath the ill-thought-out jokes and barbed comments about other people, I heard pain and anger and confusion. I heard sadness. 

Except, none of them were to blame. The divorces, annoyance with their ex-girlfriends, the horrible girls they met on on-line dating sites, lack of money, troubles with their bosses, anger with their co-workers, irritation with their friends. None of it was their fault. None of them had done anything wrong. It was everyone else. And I thought, what's going on?

Ever since I was a little girl I've felt like I don't belong here. Like I've done this before. A hundred times. And doing it again just seems silly. Repetitive. Similar to Groundhog Day with Bill Murray, except different because I don't actually remember the other moments I woke up. There's just this unrelenting feeling - I've been here before. 

Like I'm a spectator. 

There have always been these moments, like the one above, where I'm out with a group of people and I find myself floating outside the experience. Not living it. Only watching it. And I'm listening to the conversation, seeing the horsing around, the laughter, people enjoying the moment...and there I am, taking it all in, and witnessing a different situation all together. I see people who are completely un-self-aware, ones who are terrified of being alone, desperate to get bigger and better belongings in the hopes they will be happier. People who are determined not to take responsibility for their own unhappiness and so eager to distract themselves away from who they are and what they are doing. 

I know it seems like I am exaggerating. You might be thinking there can't possibly be that many unhappy people in this crazy world. But there are. Every single day millions of people's Facebook statuses confirm it. And then there are the news articles, phone calls, cynical comments, blogs and vlogs and interactions with other people that send the message viral. On top of that, more and more people are being diagnosed with depression and are on Prozac or Lexapro. It's beginning to look like most people aren't happy. 

And these people that aren't happy want someone to fix them. Anyone. They want to be handed a cheque, a house, a new car - and they think it will change their lives. But quick fixes do not exist. And self reflection is hard. 

To see the person we show the world is one of the most difficult things to do, especially when it is so far off from the person we want to be. It's hard to take a step back and realize you aren't the vivacious, engaging, hilarious creature you once thought you were. To assess your life and take note of all the hurt you've caused, not only to others, but to yourself, is time consuming and heartbreaking.  

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be." 

Every day we make a decision. We wake up and decide who we are going to be. If we don't like the person we've been - whether it is a liar, cheater, misery spreader, negative Nancy, smoker, ball of anger - we must decide to change. That's the first step. Deciding. Once we decide to better ourselves, then we can actually start the processes. It might be long. It might be tedious. But it is so worth it. 

Yesterday is done, but who are you going to be today, or tomorrow? A cheater is a cheater until they decide to be faithful. A liar is a liar until they decide to be honest. And a misery spreader is only a misery spreader until they decide to shine some light on other people. Then they can move on to step two. Execution.  

It's not easy. Heck, most things in life worth doing rarely are. But it is within our power to be the people we want to be. Our happiness, health, peace of mind, lightness of heart, are all things we are in control of. They are ours to keep and change. Not anyone else's. And we need to take responsibility for ourselves and say, "Yeah, I'm not happy, but I'm going to be...here's my plan."  

There is a bright side to all this unhappiness and that is...

People are generally good. I honestly believe that. Despite the cheating, lying, and stubbornness, at the core of their being, humans are good. They want to do good. They want to help. The problem is, they feel they need a chance to shine, which unfortunately usually comes out only when a tragedy hits. What people don't realize is that there is a chance to shine every single day. Every time you get up. Every time you see someone. Hell, every time you update your Facebook status or comment on someone else's.

Drop the anger and hate. Stop complaining. 

Spread some love.

Do it for yourself. And so I can stop asking, what's going on?


Anonymous said...

Snarling is great. It's good to let off steam. The secret is learning how to use negative emotions as a trigger to get back into that better feeling place.

Suppressing feelings of any kind and using any form of tool beit mental or physical will only force them into a place where they transform into something else destructive.

Complaining when there is a need is absolutely necessary, otherwise we would be walked all over by arseholes.....xxx

Exmoorjane said...

Yeah, I get the spectator thing, big time. Always have.
Re the shouting people though, I dunno. I suppose at least it means they care...you don't scream and yell if you don't care...do you? You just lapse into silence.
Jobo has a good point about suppression - it bites back. But whining negativity? Yeah, that sucks out loud.

Anonymous said...

@jane: Let it flow.....you know? lol