As I was poring over some of the blogs participating in #NetPositiveBlog, this line grabbed me by the hand and drew me in:
Lately I’m finding it incredibly jarring to scroll through a feed that sandwiches some of life’s tragic news in the middle of silly memes, jokes, and advertisements.
Isn’t that the truth? After dinner last night, I scrolled through page after page of doctors sharing their #ThisISmyLane stories and pictures, utterly sickened. Thinking things like - do my brother and his wife need help teaching their kids how to respond if they find a gun lying in the open at a friend’s house? (One of the doctors is a pediatrician who asks kids as young as 6 what they would do if that happened - and the answers are NOT optimistic.) We installed trigger locks on my husband’s weapons; do we need to pull them out and show the kids what safety measures look like?
The long list of tweets ended, and I handed my phone to my husband to share the grief. By the time he had finished reading it, we stared at each other, wordless and failing to understand why adequate control and safety is so difficult. Two status updates later was a video of a chicken wearing pants - hilariously silly and completely awkward.
I remember reading Brené Brown quoting someone (I’ve been unable to find the reference - I’m sure it will turn up soon) in her work on vulnerability and numbing. The gist of the quote is that we numb our own feelings so often and so thoroughly, that it takes an escalating amount of outside stimulus to fill that well again. Modern TV, in particular, makes me think of this - somehow, TV plotlines went from Buffy to Agents of Shield while I wasn’t looking - and if you’ve watched both of those shows, you’ll know what I mean. We hide from our own vulnerability and fear until we find ourselves desperate to feel ANYthing, watching deeply disturbing scenes just for a hit of raw emotion, comfortable in the knowledge that we can turn the screen off. Likewise, switching from mass death and devastation to something lighthearted…. it’s jarring and I suspect it’s not good for us.
How to play along
Because safety is a core value for me, I am asking that comments in this space avoid all the ugly things: shame, blame, judgement. I am asking that disagreement and discussion be polite, respectful, generous, and open to vulnerability.
Because community is healthy behavior, I welcome you to comment, to share your thoughts and responses and discuss this with empathy with me and with each other.