About four nights a week, I write news copy for a radio wire company. It's a perfect second job, because I can do it on the couch in my socks, I like writing, and it provides some extra dolla bills, or as I like to call it, "avoiding creditor stalkings as a result of our trip to Ireland." I love the writing, but since I've been going at it pretty hard over the past couple of months, I'm starting to feel a little...weary.
Because YOU GUYS ARE WEIRD.
You tried to teach your 9-year-old to drive and she wrecked your car into a Waffle House? You robbed a convenience store and cops found you because you left a trail of candy wrappers all the way to your house? You sewed your son's butt-cheeks together so that he would "stop having" Crohn's disease? I don't know what to do with you. How do we exist in the same world? Do you know what I do that's weird? I can't go to bed if the cap is off my toothpaste. That's the world between you and me.
So there's a new news story going around that I had the extreme misfortune of reading about on Sunday. It's absolutely, awe-inspiringly horrifying. As I was reading it, I could hear myself saying "Maria. YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO UN-SEE THIS." But I read on, and I was right, I can't un-see it, and now it's haunting me. (Remember this? This is a real problem, ok?)
All jokes aside, I'm not lying when I say this story has been causing me stress. Like, physically and emotionally. It won't leave me alone. I talked to a friend yesterday about it, and what she said made me think of the below clip. And this clip is relevant because of what Joseph Gordon-Leavitt is saying, not because of the pensive and omg totes gorg glance of Leo towards the end, but if you need to re-watch it a couple of times to make sure you get that part then so be it.
Unlike Mr. Richpants here who gets super old in limbo yet NO ONE SHAVES HIS HORRIBLE BEARD (actually, that's kind of another one of those images that haunts me), I am trying to learn the discipline of controlling my mind. As in, I want to be able to bend spoons and change the TV channel to TLC just by looking at the remote. KIDDING! AHA! Really what I mean is, I want to get better at saying "Maria. You don't have to think about this. Here, think about unicorns."
That's kind of a new concept to me. I remember a few years ago talking about Celine Dion (a daily conversation topic, get ok with it) with a friend, and my friend said "Ugh. I don't listen to sad music anymore, because it makes me sad." And I thought, geniunely - what a novel idea! I guess we don't have to listen to/read/watch things that could make us sad, or angry, or scared.
That's why I have never seen Marley and Me, and I kind of avoid Mumford & Sons, and I will never read "The Secret Life of Bees" again, even though it's a favorite. If I don't want to be melancholy, then I won't be and you can't make me. Not even you, Joseph Gordon-Leavitt aka kid from Angels in the Outfield who unfortunately grew out of his chubby face.
And that doesn't make me weak. Actually, it makes me feel pretty empowered. No one is gettin' into this brain space unless I say OK. Or unless you're Bob Harper, because I want you to be my mentor.
So when terrible news stories and tragic things start to creep into my psyche I'm going to start going somewhere else, deliberately. Right now, this song has become my go-to. I don't really know why, other than the fact that I was listening to it in the car when I first decided that I could be in charge of my brain.
"We take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ." - 1 Corinthians 10:5.
Be in charge! Just don't think about elephants. Hee hee ha ha ho ho.