Project 313 – Post No. 076

There are always good days and bad days.

I seldom never speak or write about bad days. 

What?! You complain all the time!” some of you would say.

Oh, I see the problem now; some of you confuse emotions with feelings. 

OK, I’m about to insult some people (perhaps, many people). If you are a person who tends to confuse the two, you’re likely a person who doesn’t dwell much in introspection and understanding yourself. 

But, before you write me off completely, hear me out.

Me writing an opinion about one thing or another is usually spurred by an emotion; anger. Something I hear might piss me off and that spurs action . . . I write about what pissed me off and why it pissed me off; my justification for being angry.

That anger is likely closely correlated to another emotion; fear. What I don’t explore in my opinion pieces are the underlying feelings driving those emotions; worry, despair, hopelessness, and/or a feeling of dread. Meaning, I don’t explore where those feelings come from. That’s because feelings are about what’s inside us and emotions are reactions to the world outside of ourselves.

Feelings are the root cause of fear and anger and if one lets truly loose on those emotions, then fear and anger bond with the feelings in a self-feeding loop . . . a perpetual motion machine for unhappiness. 

My strategy for putting a wrench in that machine is two-fold.

One, don’t just accept the emotion; I examine it and bound it with realistic limits. My opinion pieces often serve that purpose; I break down the anger and identify what exactly I’m angry/afraid of. (Side note: some people like feeling angry as that lends purpose and/or validation to their feelings, as in “See how deeply I feel about shit? It makes me angry!”)

Two, I formulate a plan of action; a plan that also helps define the limits of the liability I face. Most things I fear are outside my control but I can take steps to mitigate their effects.  

The two steps are the opposite of the self-feeding loop; I build a clear picture of what worried me, posit various scenarios and formulate a couple of plans of actions.

Note that I don’t get rid of the worry or eliminate the threat. I merely acknowledge it and plan for it. I’m (certainly) still unhappy about it, but the process drastically reduced if not eliminated the emotions and thus, the feelings are also held in check if not outright eliminated.

It may seem like I live a life of quiet confidence devoid of worry, despair, hopelessness.

Au contraire, mes lecteurs. I just don’t share them with you (or anyone). But, it’s more than that.

. . . it’s that those feelings have a short life because I treat the associated emotions as they should be treated; swiftly and decisively. Meaning, I don’t feed the emotions.

Completely the opposite of what cable news channels and pundits want you to do.

I tell you this as a friend — well, as someone who bears you no ill will and would like to see you both be a better person and be content; pundits, politicians, cable news hosts, and even many reputable news outlets have one — and only one — goal: to stoke that self-feeding loop of emotions and feelings. They want you in a state of permanent unrest because that’s when you are least rational and most malleable to manipulation. 

Their goal is not to inform or help you navigate the complex arena of social and political and economic interactions; nope . . . their goal is to piss you off and keep you pissed off.

Try to remember that next time you read an op-ed or listen to a politician or watch the “news”.

And now, the photo:

Project 313 076

This is the color version of a processed photo I previously presented in B&W. 

If you don’t know the symbol — and are not too attentive of the background — you might be wondering if that’s a “W” or an “M”. Not wanting to cause you any stress, it’s a “W”.

So, I mentioned bad days at the opening because I do have them. Probably as often as other people have them. It’s easy to tell, too; I’m quiet.

That’s because I’m working things out. I’m thinking about things. Not so much “oh, woe is me!” and more “OK, what’s going on? What’s bothering me?” 

Mainly, I want to get back to my empty-head-happy-go-lucky goofball state as quickly as possible. What’s perhaps a bit different about me is that “talking with others” has the opposite effect to helping me. Basically, talking to others is a diversion; time I spend explaining stuff to someone who no matter how articulate they find me won’t fully understand what I’m feeling is time I could have spent working things out. 

I understand some people are like me and some aren’t. If you need another person for the process, I encourage you to find them. Just don’t find someone who will do nothing more than echo your fear and feelings of dread and hopelessness. That’s an even bigger perpetual unhappiness machine. I mean, you might feel good that someone agrees with you, but when you’re done congratulating each other on how astute and clever you are, you’ll feel even more worried/fearful/angry than when you started out. 

Understanding both what I’m feeling and — more importantly — why I feel like I do is strictly my job. Sounds easy, but it’s not; it requires brutal honesty and a realistic assessment of one’s self and one’s world and it’s a neverending process because our feelings are always churning and you constantly need to question your assumptions and conclusions to make sure they still hold.

By that, I mean that it’s easy to fall into a trap of complacency based on accepting comfortable lies as opposed to facing challenging truths.

I happen to think the effort is worth it. Other people might see things differently.

Boy, wouldn’t the world be easy if all we needed was to wear the right glasses?

Instead, life is very much like looking out of a Smudged Window. Remember that if you’re seeing things clearly, you’re likely looking at a picture painted on the window and not at the world beyond it. 

Smudged Window

And . . . that’s it

Some of these posts will likely be longer as the mood hits me, but most will be thus; short, uninteresting, bland, and relentless.

You can read about Project 313 HERE.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, sympathy, or complaining about my life, or asking for help and advice, know you’re likely missing my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor.