10 years ago, before the age of Netflix and Apple TV and all the other magical technological discoveries we take for granted, there was static.
Growing up, the TV in my playroom required what seemed like 10 different steps to correctly turn it on. There were 3 remotes (like what is the point of that?) and if I didn’t turn them on in the correct order, the screen would immediately turn into a chaos of black and white blurs. But the worst part was the noise.
I HATED that noise with a passion.
All I wanted to do was watch Disney channel, not subject my ears to what can only be described as hell on Earth. The mixture of buzzing, screaming, crackling and ringing- it’s like the perfect symphony of horror.
It didn’t take me too long to find the ideal system where I could avoid the static in as little time as possible. I would turn on each of the remotes (in the proper order) and thus cycle through inputs until I arrived at “TV” and settled in to watch Wizards of Waverly Place in peace.
Now that static is mostly a thing of the past (thank GOODNESS), my ears are much happier. It still takes 3 remotes to turn on the TV, (really? I feel like we should definitely have solved that problem a long time ago) but at least we’ve advanced past having to assault our ears in the name of entertainment.
Because I’m weird and like knowing random facts, I went and asked my good friend Wikipedia to explain the purpose of static. Apparently it’s a result of “electronic noise and radiated electromagnetic noise accidentally picked up by the antenna” when no clear signal is received. If you actually know what that means, props to you friend. If you’re like me and read that sentence 4 times in utter confusion… I’ll break it down.
Basically, static happens when the TV picks up too many different inputs and therefore can’t figure out what it’s supposed to show on the screen. I think…
I’m sure by now you’re wondering “Why is she rambling on and on about static?”, “This makes no sense” or “This girl is weird.” Or all three. Or maybe you haven’t actually been paying attention at all. That’s ok too.
So here’s the part where I try to effortlessly transition into how this relates to my life…
As strange as it is, this is honestly exactly how I can best describe where I’m at right now. I am constantly overwhelmed by so many different voices, emotions, beliefs and thoughts that my mind feels like static.
I can’t get a clear picture.
For all I know this might be a completely normal and common human thing, but it’s a new one for me. I’m finding myself unable to answer even the simplest of questions, which of course frustrates me to no end.
“How are you doing?” Um… do you have 4 hours?
“How are you feeling today?” Well right now I think I’m feeling these 5 things, but ask me again in 10 minutes and I’ll most likely be feeling 7 other things.
“What do you need?” I have absolutely no clue.
I seriously hate that last question. So, naturally, my counselor asks me to answer it every. single. time. Sometimes I just fumble around with my words saying things like “support”, “encouragement”, “clarity” or “guidance” because I don’t know what else to say and I’m sure I need those things right?
On my more honest days, I’ll just sit there and say “I don’t know”. Until the silence gets too uncomfortable and then I’ll start rambling again.
As someone with an insatiable desire to know things and adequately respond to people’s questions, not having answers is a really hard place to be in. By not having words or clarity, I’m realizing how hard it is for me to handle uncertainty.
And on top of the ambiguity, it feels like there’s a presidential debate going on in my head all the time. Each voice trying to convince the audience that they’re the one telling the truth. It’s exhausting.
The constant push-pull leaves me with no foundation. I’m at the mercy of whatever thought is the loudest in any given moment. And that is just too much for me sometimes. So I go with “I’m confused and I don’t know”, because it’s easier.
I’m hiding behind the confusion. I’m using uncertainty as a shield to keep all the really unpleasant emotions from getting too much air time. It feels much safer for my feelings to float around with no real form and jumble together, rather than to assume their true form in all their wonder and might.
Pay just enough attention to know what’s up, but not enough to actually deal with them. Seems like a pretty good system to me.
Definitely good for my head, but detrimental to my heart.
That inner, authentic voice feels strange. Thoughts don’t come from the heart, they come from the head! At least that’s what I’ve always known. How can I have such strongly opposing forces present together?
Connecting my emotions with parts of my body is a foreign concept. Those two aspects of myself – mind and body- have always been very separate. Like live on opposite sides of the country separate.
And now it feels like they’ve been shoved together into a one bedroom apartment in the middle of nowhere Iowa (most random state I could think of, sorry Iowa…), forced to cohabitate. It’s awkward and uncomfortable and there’s lots of fumbling around with no direction. Head wants to go back to its roomy house in the hills of SoCal and dive into stress and busyness, while Heart just wants to be noticed. Anything to be noticed. Anything to not feel so alone.
I’m hoping that they’ll start to get along. It will take time, and a lot of it. Much more time than I would want. But maybe one day, far down the road, they’ll learn to work together.
Because I’m really ready for a clear picture.