Sunday Night Brain Dump

Good evening

I have many thoughts but having trouble articulating any of them for public consumption. Do you ever get like that? So here's the dump. I have no idea what is about to spew forth. Feel free not to read. Really.

Been pondering, thinking and stewing more then usual of late. Over all sorts of things. The meaning of life and so forth. And people.

People are complex beings, are they not? Very few are all bad. Very few are all good. I like to think most lean heavily toward the good though. I'm always deeply disappointed to find someone who apparently doesn't. It freaks me out, shakes me up. Y'know? I don't think I will ever be so jaded that I don't find overt inhumanity jarring. I'm not talking genocide even. I'm just talking about a disregard for the feelings and well-being of others. People who are casual about, or completely indifferent to how their actions may hurt someone else. People who are ruthless about getting what they want, furthering their agenda. Ruthlessness freaks me out. I don't get it. You don't have to be a business mogul for the opportunity to be ruthless either. I see ruthlessness at the checkout line all the time.

Here's something else. Not entirely unrelated.

I was talking about integrity with my girls at church today. I teach 16-18 year olds. We had a good chat. Their lives are super complicated. Remember when you were growing up and you went to school and there was all that drama? It was stressful. And then you'd come home and if you wanted to talk to your friends about the drama you would have to tie up the one home phone line, and every now and again your mom would come onto the line and tell you that you had to get off in 2 minutes or else. If you wanted any privacy you'd have to pull the phone into your room. Which meant that the cord stretched across the bathroom door and then your little brother would come running down the hall needing to pee really really badly. And he'd trip over the cord. And crying would ensue. And screaming (from your mom) would ensue. And you'd have to hurriedly hang up. And that would be that for the drama that day. If you really wanted to extend it you could spend the rest of the day writing notes to your friends to distribute the next day. But sometimes after you slept on it you'd figure out that the note you wrote was lame so you'd throw it out and write another one during that super boring double period of Afrikaans.

Ok so maybe it wasn't exactly like this for you. Since I grew up in South Africa and in all likelihood you did not. Maybe it was Spanish class for you. However you get my drift? The time and opportunity for drama was limited. Which meant you could decompress and hang out with your family and get a small and regular dose of perspective.

These kids live in a world where for many of them the drama has constant access to them. And because the drama never stops, and nobody has time to reconsider what they might want to say in response to someone who said something mean, it amps up in a hurry and it can get really, really ugly and convoluted. Some of them are getting the drama texts at 3am. They must be one big ball of raw nerve endings. I'd be twitching.

Seriously. I can't imagine. Combine that with the angst and hormones and millions of life changing decisions that have to be made during that phase of life. And then the 24/7 drama. Without the life experience perspective to deal with it. How do they do it? Really?

It's tough, man. I could not handle drama texts at 3am at the ripe old age of 33! I could not handle drama texts at 3pm to be honest. I could not handle being constantly connected to the world at large. I know many people my age are cell phone junkies. I could not hack it. I have a cell phone for emergencies only. My kids' school and my husband have the phone number. It is pay as you go. $10 lasts me a while. Am I alone in not wanting to be in touch with the world 24/7? In being positively phobic about not having some time to be alone. By myself? Unreachable to everyone but my family?

Sometimes I think so.

So back to honesty and integrity. Our conversation took us to the fact that integrity includes being true to you. Being true to your need to disconnect, to take a break from the drama of others so that you can figure out who you are and what God is trying to tell you. I worry that there is not enough quiet, contemplative, alone time. I know God meant for us to have it. Regularly. All this makes it hard to filter in the stuff coming from God. That's scary.

Some of these girls told me that they desperately long for peace and extrication from the drama . They are severely burned out but they see no way out. It's a hot mess is what it is.

Anyone out there suffering from interaction/social overload? What do you plan to do about it?

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Bethany said...

I crave silence. I have no idea how "your" girls can handle that constant interaction. I'm in the "I'd have a twitch" club.
As for how I find time to decompress, I find I haven't mastered that yet. With two small children I don't even pee alone, but I'm lucky b/c my husband can take over when I need time alone and I lock myself in my room (if it's cold outside) or take a walk ALONE.
I'm not sure that kind of thing would really help the girls you are talking about. Turning the phone off for a couple of hours would probably help, but I'm guessing that's just not an option. :)
Sorry this is incredibly long.

~ Keara said...

I never really thought about the teen drama thing of today in the context that you presented it, but you are completely right and oh, man--hot mess is right! I think maybe looking forward for my own kids, I need to teach them as they are growing up, to turn the ringer off on their phones, check email later, learn to walk away mentally from the drama.

Recently, I had a situation where I had to walk away from an IRL friend and a group of people that I had become friends with online for a while. There was some drama involved and I took some time to back away. Ultimately, I discovered I could block my access to the two offenders' Tweets and forum posts at the site where we all met. It is like those two people don't even exist anymore, which is funny because I know they are there and participating but it has been so freeing not to deal with their drama anymore. As for the IRL friend, we had to have a long talk after Christmas about some issues we had and we've been able to come to some resolutions. I'm a big advocate of walking away, sleeping on it and silent contemplation. I find that knee-jerk reactions are always a mistake and reactions made after thinking about it are always more sensible.

OK, enough of my rambling.

julia said...

I dread this time for my grand children. There is enough drama in life without adding in the electronic kind. The last few years I was teaching was when the kids started the sexting, myspace lies, etc.... It was really sad that 6th graders were participating in this kind of stuff. When I was in 6th grade I was still embarrassed that I needed to wear a bra and was just beginning to really notice boys, etc....
I feel for these kids. I work with 12 - 15 yr. olds at my church.

Leah Rubin said...

I think you've identified something really important. I agree that we need some time to disconnect and listen to our inner voices, review our own thoughts, and reinforce our value sets. Too much noise coming at us makes it impossible to do that... Your girls worry me... I guess that's the way our lives have become, and it doesn't seem good to me.

{april kennedy} said...

First of all I love the phrase "hot mess"!

Second, I leave my cell phone at home on purpose sometimes just to get away from it. I get the whole "why have a cell phone if you aren't going to take it with you?" from the hubs often to which I respond...."just wanted to have some me time while I was out."

And third, I am so glad I read this post, even though you told us not to!

Jill said...

How very, very timely. I have gone through this time and again with D and J. D being the age you are addressing will be the one I will talk about. It ends up being very simple. Cut it to the core of the issue. I tell her if she has a problem with someone or vice versa, talk to them. Don't let all of the little drama queens get involved because that is when the stress ratchets up a few notches. If that doesn't work than ignore them. Nothing bothers someone more than completely ignoring them especially when they are going out of there way to cause stress and drama in your life. It is also amazing how if you look calm outwardly it can help calm you inwardly...from me to you chicky-poo.

Devon said...

Yep, I needed this today. It seems like my life is 24-7 drama...we have a new night nurse who is DRIVING. ME. INSANE. And of course, I have to rehash and rehash everything over and leaves me with nothing more than a muddled head and a lessened ability to feel the spirit. Part of my New Year's resolutions was to drop the drama from my life...guess I need to get to it, eh?

Thanks for this...I needed it.

Peterson Family said...

I know that sometimes I need a break from everything and I could not even imagine being a teenager today. Teenagers crave drama and it will find them. It would be so overwhelming! Yikes!

Thanks for stopping by my SITS day!

2busy said...

These girls just need to pull the plug for a while and just disconnect. But, they don't know how, never lived without the constant stimuli....I think they might shrivel and die. I see it here amongst my boys...

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nyn said...

I too get discouraged by people and the entire situation you described. When I need quiet from the world and all its chatter, I just stay away from it, don't answer the phone, don't check e-mail, don't write blogs, don't check fb and all the other things that are supposed to keep us "connected". It is really good for me to have the time with my own thoughts. Generally when I let things get quiet the best solutions to problems present themselves. I appreciate so much this entry. As usual Kirsty, you are right on the money.