The Flash Generation

 

the-flash-generation
Photo by NOTSOCLVR

 

I don’t go out much, but recently I’ve been going to a lot of events. At first, I was really nervous, but as I got more comfortable I started to notice things. Like how my friends were spending more time on their phones than actually interacting with each other. It was interesting to see because these were not boring events. These were comedy shows, broadway musicals, concerts, etc. Events where you’re expected to interact.

I’m a shy person, but if I go to a concert, I’m going to dance and have a good time. Each time I looked to my left, I saw my friends snapping photos and recording videos. I was perplexed. Had they just paid $150 per person to stand in a stadium and take pictures?

Don’t get me wrong. I love and appreciate art in all forms. It’s inspiring in so many ways, but, unless you’re a photographer, why are you recording an entire concert? After I got home, I got my answer. They wanted to upload the images to social media.

I got to thinking about the motivation behind this. Were they posting these videos to show everyone a piece of a show they may never see? Is this the way they chronicle their personal memories? Or were they posting in an to effort to invoke jealousy? To let other people know that they were there.

Something tells me it had more to do with proving something to other people than anything. It’s like some people need everyone to know they’re great. They need people to see that they’re out with their friends enjoying a show that they can’t even enjoy because they’re on their phones recording it the whole time.

When did we start needing so much validation; And at what point does it stop?

Full Moon Ritual

Ornelle Chimi Payton
Photo by Ornelle Chimi
This past week has been filled with emotions that I couldn’t sort out. My head was spinning and I was thinking about just giving up on everything. On Friday, I was coming back from the movie theater and noticed the full moon. It was huge and almost looked like a painting. I felt a strange connection but wrote it off as admiration.

Yesterday morning I was on Twitter and saw @MystickxLipstick tweeting about her full moon ritual. I did a little research to find out what a full moon ritual was and found this. You basically meditate, write down your feelings/worries/negative thoughts, and then visualize the problem being healed. Mystic added a step to the original ritual. She recommended burning the paper – thus releasing the pain.

I wasn’t so sure if it would work, but I decided to try it anyway. Once the house was clear I proceeded with the ritual. After watching the paper disintegrate into white ash I got choked up for a second and then nothing. I stood there for a bit before washing the ashes down the drain. Then, I saged the house and went to the couch to write. I got a few words down and immediately felt exhausted. So I took a nap.

I slept like I hadn’t slept in years. It was a deep, sound sleep that lasted four hours. It was odd because I’d slept eight hours the night before, and it was only one o’clock in the afternoon. The sleep just took over me. When I woke up, I felt whole. I wasn’t worried about tomorrow. There was no confusion or pain. All the emotions I’d been battling with were washed away. I felt nothing and my head was clear.

Today, it’s almost like I’m a little drunk. Like the holes in my soul have been closed and I can heal. I feel like I took all the toxicity in my brain and flushed it out. It’s hard to explain, but I’m sure these clearing rituals will become a part of my regular routine.

Gaslighting is Real

Gaslighting
Photographed by Ornelle Chimi

Emotional abuse is a funny thing. It’s the worst kind of abuse, but it’s the hardest to identify. It is invisible and can sometimes make you feel invisible. By nature it makes the victim question their own sanity which takes away from the actual assessment. You don’t know if it’s actually happening or if your mind is playing tricks on you.

As a child, I was emotionally abused, and I swore I’d never enter into another toxic relationship. I was careful to avoid liars and cheaters. People with bad intentions. I’d become an expert at spotting problems in my relationships and digging into them. One thing I wasn’t able to spot was gaslighting. I had no idea this was a thing.

As I was reading this article on XO Jane, I felt the words pinging me right in my chest. For months I’d been saying, “this makes me feel like…,” and he’s been saying, “it’s all in your head.” I didn’t know that was abuse. It seemed like a simple observation, but continuously diminishing your partner’s feelings isn’t an observation. It’s a declaration that you don’t want to hear them. That’s not okay.

There’s nothing loving about telling a person that their feelings aren’t real. It’s not helpful, and it’s not normal. If your friend or partner comes to you and says their unhappy, you should want to understand why and how you can be a part of the solution.

I find it interesting that we can go through life thinking something is normal for so long and then wake up one day like, I’ve been being taken advantage of. How long has this been going on? I guess no one is exempt, even us careful ones.

Understanding Triggers

Understanding Triggers

A big part of controlling manic moments is understanding what causes them. For a long time, I was in denial about my depression and anxiety. I thought it was a string of bad days that were happening because of my environment. To a certain extent that was true, but blaming the outside world didn’t stop the episodes from happening.

I didn’t go get help until my outburst were completely out of control. The day I snapped on a grocery store clerk, I realized I needed professional counseling. I felt terrible for going off on a woman who was just trying to do her job.

Going to therapy helped me realize that I had more control over my actions than I gave myself credit for. I was spazzing on people because of the inner turmoil that I was holding onto. Working on it helped me remove a lot of the negative feelings. I expelled the regrets, sorrow, and pain.

My therapist kept asking “how does that make you feel” and “why do you feel that way.” Those were two of the most powerful questions anyone had ever asked me. They forced me to confront the feelings and then dig for the reason why it was happening. Why it was triggering this violent response.

Therapy put me in a good place for a while, but recently I’ve noticed the anger has come back. The triggers seem to be new though. It’s putting me in a dark place, and I know this coming season will be filled with meditation sessions, salt baths, and writing.

I sometimes wish I could just be unbothered, but I’ve realized that’s not my path. For some reason I’ve been given these trials, and my hope is that one day I can wake up happy. Not complacent, or content. Not tired, or needy. Just happy.