I have the ability to pretty much shut off emotions when I want, which is most of the time, since emotions seem to cause exponentially more problems than they solve. Because of this, most of the time I’m moving through the world, I’m pretty indifferent to the things I see. Most of it is easily dismissed as an “S.E.P.” (Somebody Else’s Problem). And as a result of that, I’m forever hearing the voices of people who may be with me at the time, usually female, wondering aloud and disapprovingly how I can be so cold and callous and uncaring about whatever human tragedy it is that we’re not slowing down and stopping to get involved in. If you can tune that out, this “emotional muting” is an incredibly handy skill to have at certain times, like when your immediately family and the treacherous motherfuckers whom allege to love you betray you, or you know, if you have to really go the extra mile in the revenge department at some point. And an added bonus is that it doesn’t just shut off emotions as a filter for the external world…it applies across the board, to internal thoughts as well. This is quite helpful in dealing with seemingly insurmountable problems without a bunch of useless “why me,” feeling-sorry-for-myself pointlessness mucking up the thought process.
It is very much a wall, though, this emotional muting: it’s either up or it’s not. It’s very much like the shields on space ships in science fiction: they’re perfectly effective when they’re up, but if a friendly is going to land on your ship, you have to lower the shields for them to get to you. And so it is with this. If all of a sudden I choose to let someone in, I have to take the shield down entirely. So for the last several weeks, I’ve noticed this sort of weightiness everywhere I go. I’ve been growing increasingly aware of the suffering all around us, every day. Wait…that’s not entirely accurate. I’m always aware of the suffering, it just doesn’t connect with any emotional response in my mind (thanks, shield!). So I see things but I don’t feel anything about them. But now, with the shields down, apparently they are able to connect. I was standing in an office today that has a relationship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, so there are these framed profiles all over the office with a sick child’s picture, their first name, the illness they have, and finally what their wish is. So I’m waiting for a rather dim person to figure something out, and I’m looking at these goddamn profiles, and I almost fell apart. It was so weird. And I hated it. I couldn’t stay there…I had to leave. As I slammed the door the only thought in my mind was, “Why the fuck hasn’t anyone taken that poor little 7-year-old Lillian with leukemia to fucking Hawaii yet?”
This will not do. I find these emotions to be very…inconvenient. Certainly unhelpful. Time to put the shield back up. Hopefully everyone who’s supposed to be on this side of them is when they again slam shut.
N.P.: “Kashmir” – Ofra Haza