The Apathetic Empath

I’ve taken such a long hiatus from the blog. There’s been a lot going on the past few weeks and I’ve let many things slide. Blogging, working out, whatever else hasn’t been of dire necessity. The world moved on.

Now, I’ve gotten the notion to come back here, my husband and baby sleeping peacefully during my restless late night hours, I take pause thinking of how many other families lives have been recently uprooted. How their own late night awakenings may be happening for different reasons. Not the luxury of being a night owl but the pain of a loss, the nightmares that may haunt them. From Orlando’s tragic shootings to the loss of a little boy from my town on vacation–to the multitudes of personal losses that aren’t televised and media spectacled. The quieter tragedies that will at one time befall us all as price for being human–I recognize we may all be awake right now.

I have a problem with empathy. These stories (maybe) touch all of us (hopefully) in deeply moving ways, but I  know that that’s not true. I know in the wake of others hopelessness, we still battle over guns, or their religion or their lifestyle–offering thoughts and prayers and not much else. We still blame parents-hoping to create a false sense of security by telling ourselves WE could do THAT better. The seemingly endless grids of faces we’ve accumulated over the past several years as the victim toll climbs higher, becomes more familiar, so we take it for granted. Oh, the 9 blacks, that’s right. The 49 gay club ones. Oh, yeah the 20 kids. Man, it’s been that long already? We scroll past to a meme, to something less painful, something more current, relevant.

Thoughts and prayers. Thoughts and prayers. article-vics-all-0614-gthmb

I don’t stop there. Do you? I google their families, I look up their facebook posts, I go through their pictures, I imagine their mothers weeping, I think of their last breaths. I wonder if they thought like me. I think about the transition from human to corpse. I think about them as babies–sometimes they are babies. I think about the horrible things people say online so removed from the experience of face to face confrontation. Screens and keys and miles between and you can say the worst things to and about a person. I think about their hearts, their innermost thoughts, the dreams they had, the things that died with them. The things that would die with me. I am that person. I tell myself we are the same. I put my child’s face, my husbands face, my brothers face on them and then I dig in from there.

This is paralyzing.

I CRY almost everyday thinking about this. Ultimately about strangers. Some days, I can’t get out of bed. I don’t want to face the world, I’m scared of it and sad for it and grateful for it all at once. I freeze up and my emotions go on ice for those around me because I’ve given everything I have to the grief of others I experience in my own body. There is no real control over this, other than shutting everything out. It’s the only way I can separate the feelings I’m experiencing for myself from those I am experiencing for others.

This doesn’t translate well in my personal life.

I’m short-tempered, impatient, easily annoyed. The empathy I have for the world I can’t have for my own husband when he is sick, when we are arguing. When my baby whines, I kiss him and then I tell him to “knock it off.”  I don’t have any feelings toward my dog.. I have been cold, at times, to the people I hold the closest. Perhaps, and I don’t know for sure, but maybe to defend my heart from anything that may actually shatter it.

After my grandfathers passed away, years ago,  I pulled away from my family, I didn’t want to be close to them anymore, that I may have to face loss of another member. If I shut down around my husband, if I close off, I can’t be hurt, I can’t be touched. The same with friends. Iciness as a coverup for the fire of feelings I can never actually get away from. The closer something may be to me, the more I approach it with an apathetic lens. The “safer” I am, the more it can hurt.

Shine, though.

Can’t get away from that one. He makes everything about living more worth it and more terrifying, and I HAVE to put myself in those other shoes to remain completely grateful and humble to have him with me.

This is nothing more than a small revelation and like all the other ones, I am blessed to have the time to explore it. I want to practice what I preach and be more vulnerable with the people in my life, approach them with an open being instead of self-serving the ME, afraid of being affected. I also want others to realize the butterfly effect of losing so many fellow humans at once, here, (everywhere) affects us all, whether we scroll past their pictures, know their names or not.

Off probably crying,



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