Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Morning After

So, yeah, I was working through some stuff yesterday, and as usual I broadcast my neuroses to the world, or at least to the eighteen people who read it.

Sometimes I think I should keep this shit to myself, but then I think that's part of the problem. In my head, and unspoken, it festers and it becomes bigger than it really is. When I write about it, I realize it's not as big and scary as I think it is. Maybe that's why I write. I'm working shit out. Should I put it out there for public consumption? I'm not sure. Some people say I write what they're thinking.  If that's true, great.

I really do want to live a more positive life. Some days are wonderful and the stars are in alignment. Other days, I'm a rocket about to go off. We're all surrounded by negativity and struggle with this, I'm sure. Actually, if you're always happy and smiling, I'm suspicious of you anyway. You're either high, in denial, or struggling with something far darker and deeper than I am. My shit is right up front. No offense.

Something I realized last night when I worked with a pretty positive group of people, was that I was also more positive.  I was lighter.  I was the true me.

As I had earlier conversations in the day, I became aware of how heavy I felt. How drained.  Like I was being pushed down and my energy was being sucked out of me.  Ah ha!  Could it be as simple as the company I keep? The stuff I'm absorbing? What a concept!

I just deleted two paragraphs that were right here. I decided maybe I'd keep those thoughts to myself.  After all, you aren't interested in every minute of my journey.  You've got your own.  I'll report back if I learn anything significant.

So long, for now!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Snap, Crackle, POP!

Some days I really don't like me.

I know we're not supposed to say that. We're supposed to love ourselves and all that.  Some days I do.  There are parts of me I adore.  Much of the time.

But some days...

Some days I'm all bound up with anger, worry and fear.  Can I put off an overdue oil change for another week because I can't afford it this week?  Should I pay rent first or the car payment?  If I pay both, I might not have enough money for the water bill.  What's going on with the government this week?  Is there going to be Social Security when I need it?  I can't put anymore money in my 403b without going deeper in debt now.  Will any of it matter with North Korea on the brink of insanity?  Are the terrorists winning?  How in the hell can I get out of bed and face another day at work?

Work!  I spend ninety percent of my work day listening to people bitch to me about something, bitch at me about something, bitch about me.  I'm supposed to have all the answers, make everyone happy, and fix it all with a smile on my face. I do the job of two people since the last round of budget cuts and I'm tired.  Of course I can't say anything or admit I need help or I'll end up a casualty of the next budget cuts.  Been there, done that.

Home. Home is good.  It's my comfort, my oasis, my barricade against the crazy world outside the door. I like home too much. I don't want to leave.  I have anxiety attacks over taking a vacation because it's going to put me out of my home for a week.  That terrifies me.  As much as I need the vacation, I'm stressing over it.  Do I have enough money to really relax?  Will a vacation even help when eventually I'll have to catch up on everything I missed during the week?

Usually, I like myself.  But when all these things are swirling through my brain and getting out of bed seems like a hopeless, and most likely, unnecessary prospect, I long for the happy me.  The one who knows life is short and every day should be cherished.  The one who laughs easily. The one who doesn't yell at the dogs for being dogs.  The one who enjoys his time at home, rather than worrying about everything else.  The one who goes to birthday parties and cookouts.  The one who has dinner with friends. The one who writes and acts in plays.  The one who is kind and believes good will win over evil. The one who isn't so stressed and bent out of shape he's in danger of snapping completely.

Yeah, I really need to learn to let this shit go before the men in white coats come and get me or I end up as the lead story on CNN.  If a reporter calls to interview you about me, please be kind. I had the best intentions.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

There is a New Shade of Yellow for Today's Journalism

I never wanted to be an astronaut. Isn't that one of the things little boys say when they're asked what they wanted to be when they grow up?  That one never appealed to me. I wanted to do other things. I wanted to be an actor, a writer, a cop, or a reporter.  Even at a young age, I had an ingrained desire to tell the truth, uncover lies and help bring justice. It's probably why I never had much confidence in authority figures as well. They were the ones who seemed to be doing the most lying. I lived in the Watergate era.

Somewhere around junior high, I decided I would be a journalist, so I took journalism in high school. Yearbook. Newspaper. I even changed schools in the afternoon so I could attend magnet classes in broadcast journalism.  I was never a fan of on camera work, but I loved to write the news, or report it on the local radio station the school ran.  I wanted to be the next Lou Grant or Woodward and Bernstein. I wanted to go undercover and break the news. I'm sure I had a pretty glamorous vision of it, but it was what I wanted to do.  The plan was to attend Ball State University, as they had an excellent Journalism program, and there was no way I could afford Columbia.

And then it all changed. I don't remember if there was a specific incident, or what, but suddenly journalism seemed to be taking an ugly turn. It was becoming less about telling the truth and more about getting the ratings, or readership. That's back in the day when the newspaper was the primary source of news.

Fast forward far too many years later and look at the shape of the media today. We have conservative news outlets selling their slant. Liberal outlets selling theirs. It seems there's no middle of the ground, "just the facts," news anymore. The five W's and H.  Everyone has an agenda, parent companies to protect, or some slant that makes them biased. We might as well be the Soviet Union, circa 1980, when the government controls the news.  Our controllers are corporations and lobbyists 

I'm sure there are still good journalists out there who haven't thrown up their hands in defeat and have taken up writing stereo instructions as a living, but they can't get heard.  The editors push for more blood, more guts, more sensationalism. "Go ask that parent of the child murdered how they feel," is their new assignment. "Get more pictures of the mangled bodies," the photographers are told.

I don't completely blame the media for the downfall of humanity, but it does make for great ratings.