Sorry I have been largely absent these last couple of weeks. I’ve been an ostrich. My head has been mostly in the sand.
Sometimes the internets can be great fun — I mentioned that last time, about the various rabbit holes and fun paths to follow. It can be full of humour and information and interesting things.
But other times, it is a cesspool of hatred and vileness and moronic behaviour. Like it has been recently. I IMAGINE YOU KNOW WHY THAT IS.
So in those times… I become an ostrich.
My coping mechanism is mostly a means of emotional self-preservation. It’s not that I am unaware, or uninterested, or unfeeling about the state of things. On the contrary, I think I get myself into a state of being hyper-aware, and hyper-interested, and hyper-feeling, about these things.
I always have done. It’s part of my personality. Things in the news when I was a kid, like the hostages at the ’72 Olympics or other highly-charged incidents, really got into my imagination or freaked me out a little. I started discussing world political affairs with adults at the age of three, fer the love of dog. My emotional life was a little bit turbulent bytimes as a child when my mother was ill, and then died, so I had a lot going on under the surface anyway. But I was always that kid who wanted to save all the animals, or felt lack of friends very keenly, or cried at injustice to others. I took it all a little too much to heart.
I still do, honestly. My interior life can still get noisy and turbulent, although I try to conceal it behind a big, loud, brash exterior.
But when these topics come up in discussion, I admit that it seeps through the cracks. Consequently, I have always played politics very, very badly, and I have the unfortunate tendency to say what I think about these matters. At home, it’s fine — I don’t fool anyone. They know me by now. But out in the world? Well, it’s best I don’t.
One thing I have learned about social intercourse: People may ask you for your opinion, but they generally don’t actually want to KNOW, unless it agrees with their own.
So there are times when what is going on in the world is all just too much. To much noise, too much anger, too much whipped-up emotion. And, combined with what’s going on in our lives here at home — regular life stuff, activity, special needs stuff — I start to really feel it.
So, to turn a 60s counterculture phrase on its ear, I turn off and tune out. I become a bit of an ostrich.
So what do I do with myself?
Well, I ignore social media, for a start. I never got involved in BookFace, thankfully, nor will I, so random strangers who feel the compulsion to shout every thought that passes through their heads into the internet void are not contributing to the noise. Which is nice.
I am, however, on Twitter, so I walk away from any but the most innocuous feeds. My kid’s class feed, and some Ontario Special Needs stuff, and the odd apolitical celebrity are about all I see.
(Although this week? Full disclosure: I AM LIVING FOR THE JOE BIDEN/OBAMA MOVING MEMES. So funny. This is the most I have genuinely laughed in weeks. Like, laughing until tears rolled down my face and I was wheezing. I hope they never stop.)
I also avoid my usual news sites, because DUH.
And I have, for the most part, stayed out of my regular haunt, the knitting site I frequent, because there have been so many threads about the state of things recently. Other people are trying to cope with things as best they can, and the nightmare for most just hit a crescendo on election night.
I’ve been torn between my natural news junkie level of interest, which compels me to click on topics and read, and my emotional OMG I CANNOT EVEN ANYMORE WITH THIS STUFF reaction to what I read. So that’s been challenging, and I have really been trying to just step away.
Instead, I have been trying to exercise good self-care. I walk. I cook and bake. I focus on Xmas shopping and planning. I go about our daily routine. I watch some comfort TV. I listen to audio dramas and audiobooks. I read. I play mindless games on the computer. Of course, I knit and crochet.
However, real life doesn’t stop happening, just because you have something tasty in the oven. You can’t avoid the negative or the stressors entirely. You still have adulting to do.
Today, for instance, I had another talk with That Girl’s school resource lead about transferring her to special ed next year. I was not keen on the idea to start with, but it doesn’t really feel like we have a choice. Academically, it would be in her best interests.
But the news today was that her placement will require putting her on a bus, mostly across the city, each day. So not only will she have to change schools, which will upset her, but we will also have to put her on a school bus to go clear across town twice a day. But only for grades four through six, after which we will have to transition her back to her current school. Like nothing happened.
Disrupt her once, to put her into a special ed program, which we will do because it is specialized to her needs and this is important to help her learn best. But then, we will disrupt her again, to bring her right back to “regular” schooling, which is not specialized in any way, which makes me wonder why we are sending her away in the first place if it’s not going to continue on until high school.
As you can see, this really does not sit well with me.
And so, because I have spent enough time crying and worrying and beating myself up over my child for the past two weeks, I reach critical mass and just don’t want to think about it anymore. I need to just NOT, for a while.
Today, that will mean baking, I think. Some zucchini loaves. Maybe pumpkin bread. This ostrich needs cinnamon and nutmeg and tea and homey smells and maybe some happy music playing in the background.
For a little while, anyway.
And Joe Biden memes will also be therapeutic.