I spend more hours than I would like to admit watching Netflix.
Actually, I don’t even watch TV—I listen to it.
I have learned something about myself: I do not like to be alone with my thoughts.
Please do not confuse that with a fear of being alone. I love to be alone. I love having my space all to myself without the sounds of another person breathing nearby or doing the dishes or humming to their headphones.
I love to be alone.
But I don’t do so great in the silence.
In the silence I am required to engage with my emotions and process what’s going on in my life and just generally feel. And right now I just can’t deal with the feeling part of life.
It wasn’t always like this.
I used to crave the silence. I used to love working out my feelings. I spent every evening journaling for nearly ten years. I even wrote song lyrics in the quiet spaces.
But now it is all just too much.
Now the feelings don’t show up one at a time in a single-file line waiting for me to categorize them.
Now they show up like a Black Friday sales mob. They are fist-fighting for a chance to be heard. They are screaming at me for keeping the doors locked for too long. They charge at me from places so far back that the only way to survive is to sedate them.
But I don’t drink and I don’t smoke weed.
Instead, I binge-watch Netflix or listen to podcasts or play every single song Death Cab has ever made. I let the noise distract my feelings into compliance.
That is, until the show I’m watching or the music in the background forces me to engage my feelings anyway.
Sometimes the movies that make me cry don’t really resonate with my own story, but the tears they bring pull with them memories I ought to have cried over many times. Other times I hear my own story in podcasts and song lyrics and I am yanked into that fist-fighting mob of emotions.
Movies with absent or selfish characters force me to reconcile my feelings of abandonment. Songs about messy break-ups and half-way apologies ask me to look into the face of people I have loved and left or loved and lost. All my efforts to sedate my feelings are lost, because art is meant to make humanity feel.
I might need a better numbing agent.