Recently, I've been working on preserving my emotional energy for things I really care about. I just don't have the mental "time" anymore to get worked up about stuff the way I used to.
I'm probably getting old. Or less masochistic. Let's pick the one that makes me sound more normal.
Part of this process has been being more selective about the stuff I read, and the conversations I have, especially online. I realized there is just a bunch of stuff I can't talk/read about anymore. Except for right now, when I'm talking about telling you what I can't talk about.
So without further ado, here's some stuff I just don't read anymore.
Disclaimer: All of the things listed here are super important and conversations that need to be had, yada yada yada. By other people. For other people. And maybe even for my future self. Just not my present self. Don't get up in my face because I can't talk about the thing you love anymore, okay? Thanks.
1. Birth stories, articles arguing against epidurals/pro-epidurals, water-births, home births, alien births, FRACKING BIRTH.
I just don't even care anymore. Is your baby here? Is he/she/it healthy? Cool. Hurray for you!
I get that empowering women to control their birth experience and their bodies is really important, and on a large scale way, I advocate for that. I'll vote for people who support a woman's right to determine her reproductive health, I'll support any law/petition/whatever that protects my uterus, I just can't read about it all the time anymore.
I especially can't read anymore of the emotionally charged stuff, the editorials written by doctors condemning midwives as morons, and the sanctimonious writings of home-birthers about how their birth experience is so much more meaningful and special and sacred because they climbed the mountain of birth and you had a c-section. (Does that mean I rode the chair-lift of birth? I don't know. This is why I can't read this bullshit anymore.)
2. Mormon Thought blogs. How much trouble am I going to be for saying this? Oh well. I just can't anymore. Especially post-"pants." I know this sounds hypocritical, because for a long time this was (sort of) a Mormon Thought blog. But I just can't go through the angst of it all anymore. The hyper-patriarchal and institutional temple ceremonies. The inequitable funding between Young Men and Young Women programs. Homophobia. Shitty shitty stuff everywhere that I just can't talk about anymore.
I realized I could spend the rest of my life being really upset about all this, or I could just remove myself from the situation and build a spiritual life that I found personally fulfilling.
Is this an option for everyone? Probably not. Do I think Mormon Thought blogs are really important and valuable in helping people navigate a faith they love and question? Absolutely. But I need a break.
Naturally, I reserve the right to change my mind, because this is my life and I get to make all the choices. But for now, every time a formerly beloved MTB (Mormon Thought Blog) pops up in my reader, I scroll down to the sewing blog with projects I will probably never do, and recipes I will never make.
I don't think this is what the Mormon God intended when he gave us agency. Oh well.
2b. Mormon Thought Facebook Forums/Private Messages.
Everyday there was an emergency. Lots of drama. Lots of social capital being exchanged and sometimes I had enough, and sometimes I came up short. I never knew where I stood in the conversations, and experience taught me that anything I said would be used against me later.
I also don't have the desire to spend 24/7 online just to be the Gretchen Weiners of Mormon Feminism/Activism. (Meaning people liked me when I said/did what they wanted, but not when I proved myself to be a human person capable of error/did what I wanted.)
Obviously, I have lots of personal ties there, and friends, and meaningful relationships. I go to lunch with those people, or talk to them personally. The rest of them can, (and I say this frankly: suck it.)
3. Ethan Frome. My school teaches this book to the Seniors, so I have to pretend to like it/read it in an attempt to support my coworkers. But no longer! I hate this book and everyone in it. It crosses the line from being sad for the sake of realism into a bizarrely mawkish depressing clusterfluck of "I want to kill myself every time I read this novel."
Look, I get it, books aren't required to have happy-endings. I helped create a Sophomore curriculum in which every book featured the death of a sympathetic character. (Tom Robinson! Caesar! Gatsby! Lenny!) But for me, good literature can be sad and beautiful and meaningful and bad literature can be sad and sad and dumb. I hate you, Ethan Frome, and I am tired of hiding it from the world.
(Incidentally, Ethan Frome is one of the major reasons I refuse to teach 12th grade Language Arts. I prefer to stick with Humanities where, according to one student, we "just look at naked statues all day.")
So, there you have it, stuff I won't read anymore, or talk about. Here is a judging space if you require it:
Are you taking a break from anything? Stuff you just won't read/talk about anymore? Let's hear it in the comments.