Just Keep Scrolling
There’s been a fog in my head for quite some time. Not the kind that tinges every moment with a widescreen filter of a coming of age movie that makes you feel alive. Not the kind that closes you in and makes you feel isolated from everyone else around you. But the kind of fog that stretches your soul ever so slightly away from your body, filling your head with a barrage of thoughts that usually come and go as clouds do. But lately, they haven’t been drifting away.
The strings of letters and demands from my anxiety have mixed into the endless chatter of the news of the world and what will become of our society in the next seven days, stirred into an unappetizing alphabet soup that takes much too long to try to rearrange the letters into coherent thoughts. By the time a sentence is finally formed, it’s gone soggy.
It’s become futile to ask my brain, “When can I have a break, when is it going to stop, when will I have a moment of rest?” It only adds more words to the jumbled mess. Too many clouds, too many letters. Too much sound.
It’s gotten to the point where one minute alone with my thoughts activates the instinctual jolt of panic that alerts my Garmin that my heart rate’s gone up so quickly I must be running on the treadmill. The fog is still there and my mind is still detached from my body even though my fingers still respond to the command: type.
Distract yourself, I say. Focus on one thing that won’t let you get caught up in the fog or slip back into the rising tide of the relentless alphabet soup. Either you float with the fog or sink into the soup. There’s no alternative.
Except to scroll. Constant content, constant stimulation. Fixing my eyes on blue light until it stings because looking away for one second would mean I have to admit to myself that I have to unscramble my thoughts and come to terms with existing within a society that fights so hard to suppress and silence the voices of the marginalized. A society that refuses to grant apologies for the transgressions of its founders. A society that remains committed to pushing people underneath the water without a warning or even a second to breathe in.
It’s so easy to be angry. To scream and sob and give in to the tragic reality that so many people in our society hear the screams and cries for help and still choose to look away. It’s even easier to want to give up. To want to turn down the volume and pretend nothing’s happening outside the blissful little bubble that is your privilege. Because having to shout and demand rights for yourself and the people you love is exhausting.
Because sometimes it seems easier to let yourself be lifted by the fog, tossed into fluidity untethered by your human form that is limited by the darkness of the surrounding world. Sometimes it seems easier to scroll until your eyes shut from utter burnout. Scroll until your mind surrenders to sleep and slowly switches off the lights until you can’t see anything at all. Not the fog, not the soup. Nothing at all.
Part of me knows it will all be there again tomorrow. Part of me knows I have to catch up to the headlines I missed during the night. Drown in the soup or float away with the fog. Neither is better than the other, but you can’t keep scrolling forever.