It happened yesterday. Among friends, sharing a meal around a holiday table, the conversation came up about neighbors.
Fucking neighbors, right? Especially the ones who live above you. The ones who keep odd hours in old buildings.
I mean, there are sounds of the city and there are sounds of the fucking city. I sat there and listened to someone who simply had to be right about their ongoing battle with their upstairs neighbor. Incident, incident, incident. I nodded. I heard myself in his story. I empathized.
God knows, did I empathize.
And then the time came where I had a choice: to engage or unplug.
For a moment, I shared my own tale of woe, stemming from the upstairs neighbor who liked to awaken at 4AM for a trip to the gym. She also felt 4AM was a fine time to don hard-soled shoes and make her fucking bed (which was right above MY fucking bed) in a building with no subfloors and original hardwood flooring from 1934.
And then I stopped. Because telling that story doesn’t make me feel good.
I asked myself: “How do I feel when I tell this story?”
Just…exhausted. It took energy AWAY from me to tell it.
So I stopped. And I decided it was time to play Cards Against Humanity for the people in my party house.
The easiest thing in the world is to find ourselves caught-up in the whirlwind of someone else’s bullshit, and it’s a dark, dark game we play every day.
Sometimes, it’s a way to connect. You hear someone bitching and you want to establish a connection with that person and you’re all OMG ME TOO RIIIIITE?!!
Others, it’s just a default we’re not used to activating, because YES, ALL THE FUCKERY AND WHY IS THERE THIS FUCKERY!? EVERYONE IS WRONG AND WE ARE RIGHT RARRRRRARRARARARARARAAARRR.
And then there’s that person in line with you. The person you don’t know. The one wearing the scarf you really want to judge (just did) and the purchasing choices you find questionable (Vienna sausages and Vaseline and a copy of US Weekly). And then HE starts bitching and you choose to tune him out.
THAT, right there. THAT IS MAGIC.
Because you actively made a choice to tell yourself that Sausage Vaseline Pop Culture Dude wasn’t going to harsh your vibe.
And it’s high time we figured out what it was going to take to skip out on the majority of life’s bitching and find the light.
There’s a lot more light in the world each day than we choose to let in. And here’s the bitch of it: Conversations with friends, family and acquaintances with whom we have a shared connection are the biggest offenders when it comes to drawing the blinds on the light.
Because (insert name) always has some bitching to do about Starbucks. His job. Aunt Mary. The fucking neighbors. Property taxes. Clients who pay invoices late. Not getting the gig. Being _____ when the world wants ____.
I could go on and on.
But those people, because of our connection with them, can draw us into the dark and we’re ready and willing to sit there with them as soon as their thoughts…
The thoughts that don’t make us FEEL GOOD…
Shut the blinds and shut out the light.
So the next time you find yourself lured into a negative conversation — go ahead and dive in.
Go towards the dark. But ask yourself, “How does having this conversation make me FEEL?”
If the pit of your stomach turns. If it feels HEAVY. If you keep finding more and more negative shit to spew. If you’re not getting anywhere…
Notice that. Own it. Accept it. Say OH MY GOD THANK CHOCOLATE! THIS FEELS SHITTY!
And now you have the choice: Continue the conversation in darkness, or hit the eject button and go back towards what makes you feel light.
Because the light is there. And it’s easier to talk about the dark shit.
But imagine what life could FEEL like if we were able to recognize how the conversations we find ourselves in every day.
Because I’m betting that most of them don’t make you feel good. Or LIGHT.
And isn’t it time you chose to have conversations that put you in the light, helped you stay in the light, and brought more light into your life?
Of course, life can be shitty. The last thing I want you to do is be dishonest about how you’re feeling in an effort to stay in the light. Lies just sound light when they’re really super fucking heavy to carry around all the time and let’s be honest — THIS IS FINE EVERYTHING IS FINE is a lie and doesn’t look good on anyone.
But even when life is dark, you can be honest about it — about the specific things that make you feel dark — and speak to those instead of life in general.
Don’t get sucked into the LIFE IS DARK bullshit. Especially other people’s beliefs that life is dark.
Because it’s not. And I’m betting there’s just a cloud moving overhead. Just don’t be the one throwing up the clouds.
Don’t get sucked into other people’s bullshit. And don’t be the one who sucks other people into yours.
Say: EVERYTHING IS SHITTY.
(George Michael died yesterday and while this is sad, everything is NOT shitty. This is a lie. Fuck you, 2016, but still — everything is NOT shitty.)
Instead, tell the truth: I came out to the parking lot and someone had dinged my driver side door. This feels shitty!
(This is shitty and honest and not a lie. This is a specific thing that happened.)
Be specific. Be honest. Because bullshit, if nothing else, is exceptionally vague so as to claim the most souls possible for its dark, depressing mission.