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17 July 2014

July 20, 2014

I decided it’s about time I refocus on putting my writing out there. I haven’t written a blog since I finished graduate school, over two years ago. Shameful. I still write in my composition notebooks daily, but lately it’s become more documentation than spiritual and existential reflection. I uprooted myself (again) a little over a year ago and moved 3,000 miles away from family and friends. This past year has seen more depressive episodes, occurring more deeply, than ever before. I know my family exists as a pillar of strength and support for me, so have assumed the increased frequency of depressive episodes are the result of detaching myself from this support system. I’ve blamed my lack of inspired writing on my depression – the lack of creativity. I haven’t been motivated to just write. I’ve tried to make myself just write, to varying levels of success. Recently I was reminded of the fact that I used to blog. I used to put my writing out there. The bad. The good. The silly. The inspired. So, I thought, let’s do that again. And, here we are. Here we go again….

I don’t like the direction I feel society is moving in. I do not fully desire to disengage and create my own little island of like minded beauties (although I did speak to doing this at lunch today). Diversity is one of the most beautiful aspects of humanity. One of the quotes I connect most strongly with is, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to my death your right to say it”. I want to engage with people who frustrate me and view the world differently – as it pushes and deepens my beliefs and understanding of them. Strengthens my resolve. Of course, I say this within the bounds of – you can do and believe and say whatever you please as long as your belief systems and life does not impede on another’s right to live the life they desire and believe it. I can only be so tolerant. I do not tolerate beliefs that stem from fear. But I do see, in my ever optimistic soul, the opportunity to engage with those who come from fear based realities to gain awareness and break down their walls. I have no reason for optimism, but I have realized when it comes to my life, hope and optimism rule the day.

My blogs are so long because of all these tangents I stem off into. I think it’s humorous that I started stating I don’t like the direction society is going in while I sit typing this up on my phone while at a bar. I’m visiting a dear friend at her night job and there are a handful of individuals sitting at the bar of this intimate restaurant (consists of a posh bar and one small, currently occupied table), she’s busy and I thought: no better time to start blogging than the now! (I came from meditation)

Back on point, Whitney! So, society!!!

Eye contact. How increasingly rare and intimate an act. Everyone is glued to their phones. We are more connected, instantaneously, than at any other point in the history of the world, yet – I would argue – we very well may be more disconnected from other human beings than at any other point in history and its only getting worse. My go to is always the check out at the food store (if you still go to an actual individual – I find it a fascinating tell whether or not someone chooses the human option for check out or the electronic). Unless you’re going to Trader Joe’s where friendly banter (“How’s your day going?” Fuck! What can I say that is original?! “Fine”) is a part of the job requirement, you’ll be hard pressed to find actual eye contact and, God forbid, verbal engagement. And when you do find it, it’s usually not genuine. And when it carries on too long, everyone else in line huffs and puffs at the hold up in their very, very important lives. This isn’t exaggerated. I’ve spent years studying this. But this is more an American trend than any other country I’ve been to. Which I find fascinating (disclaimer: fascinating is one of my absolutely favorite words in writing. Goes back to Lester Bang’s 1979 review of Astral Weeks for Stranded).

Where are the eyes? Fixated on phones (as I typed that the woman next to me asked my friend, “Excuse me? Do you have an iPhone charger by chance?” Now her and the fella she is on a date with…sounds like a second date…are talking about the horrors of cellphones dying). Or lost on some technological devise (one of my most beloved materialistic pleasures are my wireless Beats, I get it). We don’t look at one another anymore. We don’t talk to one another. We fear those we do not know. Or, sigh, maybe we are just disinterested.

I talk to evvvvvveryone and annnnnnnyone. I’d say most of the time it’s positive, although there are plenty of times I am met with coldness and shuffle away feeling incredibly awkward (isn’t it interesting that my interpretation of someone else’s coldness is to presume myself awkward?). I crave human engagement more than any other urge I experience. I want to meet and get to know everyone. I want to know why people are as they are. I want to know their humanity, not just see it or intellectually comprehend it. And I want to take that knowledge and impress it on others. See! We are all so amazing and so beautiful and so, so profoundly fragile. So, please let us be kind. Oh so kind and gentle toward one another. Make eye contact and embrace every single beautiful and amazing soul you walk past or sit next to or go to bed to. Connect and choose to view from love and let go of our fears.

And put your damn phones down – face down! I am….

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 23, 2014 2:56 am

    Fascinating article.

    This reminded me of a few things I read lately, pertaining to some of these ideas.

    From an article, “Put down the Phone” in this months issue of Entrepreneur magazine…

    “Whenever people are in a situation where theyre both trying to track a social interaction they’re engaged in and track something with their cell phones, they’re engaged in a divided-attention task. What this means is that they’ll do both these things more poorly than if they did one of them. There’s always a cost for the person enegaged in this multitasking. Its going to disrupt their ability to track the conversation and their ability to use their cell phone for other tasks.” – Ira Hyman, Western WA University cognitive psyhchologist and professor.

    It goes on to talk about how we don’t have a proper etiquette in society when it comes to using these devices in social situations…the younger crowd doesn’t have a problem, but the older crowd isn’t into it.

    A book I recently read, Notes to Myself by Hugh Prather had the following quote.

    “One thing has become quite clear: All acquaintances are passing. Therefore I want to make the most of every contact. I want to quickly get close to the people I meet because my experience has shown we won’t be together long.”


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