Homecoming, Hunger, and Empathy

 

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The Magic Kingdom towards the end of my vacation

Morning Pages 11.8.16 6:07am

Hello everyone.

I’m not entirely sure how many of you were reading my morning pages, but if you did, then you may have noticed that I haven’t published anything in quite some time. As you might have noticed, I’ve been on vacation in Orlando over the past week or so.

I don’t have anything remarkable to report to you about this. Yes, I did enjoy myself, and it was worth it. I do have a few pictures you can find on my social media, but I tried keeping off the internet for the majority of my stay there.

Now that the vacation is over, I’ll be resuming my morning pages.

Just as I tried to avoid social media, I also tried to avoid having any panic attacks or mental breakdowns. It worked for the most part. I did, however, think about quite a few things in between days there. Now that I’m home, maybe I’ll write about a couple of them.

Hunger

No, I’m not talking about food. In this case, I mean more of a creative hunger. In case you don’t know this about me, I do love to create. I try to dabble in as many mediums as possible. I draw, sculpt, bake, write, and many other small things that my YouTube viewers have no idea that I do. The problem is, I do them briefly, and in secret, and nothing really comes from it. Sure, I slowly refine my skills, but no one ever sees what I create. Sure, everyone gets to see my YouTube channel, but some part of me seems to be burning to show people what else I’m capable of. I’m not saying I need to go out and completely reinvent myself. I just want to create something that I can be proud of, make an ass out of myself by putting it out into the world, and seeing what happens. It doesn’t need to gain the same following as I have on YouTube, but I DO want people to know what I can do.

As a child, my head was always buried in a book. Sometimes a textbook, sometimes a sketchbook, sometimes a work of fiction. Long story short, my mind was always somewhere else on some little adventure. If not those, then I would definitely be listening to music, wishing I could create something as amazing as what I was hearing.

Unfortunately, this feeling of inspiration went away as time went by. Why? Maybe it was reality hitting me, or depression. Whatever the reason, it just stopped. When things got turbulent in life, my creative sprint was reduced to more of a crawl. I could still create whatever I wanted, but I was rarely in the mindset to do so. I did take on jobs that would require me to draw daily, but even then, there was something missing.

Anyway, I have no idea why I feel it again. I just know that I want to use as much of my time on this planet as possible for creating and sharing. I have been doing some side projects over the last several weeks, and I’m making sure to work slow and steady. Now that I’m back home, I can start working on them again. Hopefully, if things work out, you’ll be able to see what I’ve been working on.

Empathy

This is the part that might come out messy, so please bear with me. I was back at my hotel room one night during my vacation, and I started to think about empathy. As I said, I tried to not have any mental breakdowns. I obviously wasn’t entirely successful. I sat there, thinking about what it would be like if a stranger found me in the state I was in. Sure, that person might offer sympathy, but empathy seems completely out of the question.

I think people tend to confuse sympathy and empathy. When I say empathy, I’m talking about being able to come down to someone’s level, in an attempt to relate to them in a genuine way. The “putting yourself in their shoes” thing. Sympathy, while not a necessarily a negative thing, is different. It’s more like long distance empathy, where your hands are off. Both have a time and place, but sympathy seems to be how people avoid the vulnerability of empathy. Coming down to someone’s level means letting your guard down and opening yourself up to possibly getting hurt. Sympathy allows us to keep our compassion at an arm’s length.

What’s even worse than sympathy at a time where empathy is needed, is when people resort to the “suck it up” speech. Yes, this is that one time where you felt on the verge of breaking, had the guts to open up to someone about it, and all they could offer you was a cold bit of advice on how to shape the fuck up. And before I say anything more, I AM guilty of this. We are all guilty of this. We all get to a point where we don’t have the strength to empathize, and instead get frustrated and try to jump to solutions. Solutions that we had no business creating. Talking, when we should have been listening.

Of course, there is a difference between showing compassion, and enabling someone to be destructive. I think it’s important to take a step back and ask yourself what situation you have in front of you. Is your friend/sister/brother/gf/bf just looking for a bit of support, or are they about to self destruct? Either way, the “suck it up” method NEVER works. No, I am not saying to treat everyone like a special little snowflake. Yes, there are times where people need to be told how it is in a “tough love” sort of way, but many of us tend to sway too much to the “tough” and forget the “love” part. You’re upset at their behavior because you care about them, right? Don’t forget that, and never let go of it.

I refuse to point fingers at any generation, technology, media, and so on, for our lack of empathy.  Many will argue that our cold nature stems from our dependence on technology. In an online world, it’s much easier to get into a fight with someone than it is to have a calm, normal talk about everyday shit. Trust me, I know. I see hundreds of angry/hate comments on a daily basis. Online, it’s easy to assume the worst about people, especially since they aren’t right in front of you. You can’t see past the screen name and little avatar that represents this entire human being. That asshole you argued with on YouTube might be a grandfather for all you know. He/she could even be a 12-year-old like we all assume. Who knows? Either way, I promise that if you met this person in real life, he/she may not seem so bad anymore. Heck, you may even relate to this person quite a bit. Again, I’m not going to blame technology here. The same thing applies to that asshat you almost crashed into this morning, or that person screaming away into his phone at his ex-wife. Can you relate to them in any way?

I’ve thought about this a lot, and we humans are all much more alike than we are different. It won’t kill us to acknowledge that sometimes, and show a little empathy to our neighbors when they need it.

Final thoughts: Holy shit, my room is a mess. Time to clean.

Have a great day.

-Reign

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