Disconnect: shut up, unplug, go DO something
Just so everyone’s clear: it’s not you, it’s me.
I have ‘fond’ (those are air quotes) memories in the past of people pronouncing “I’m leaving!” in a huff, while taking a big pause at the metaphorical door (these are online communities we’re talking about here, so all doors are metaphorical) to see if anyone cried out “Noooo! Don’t leave us!”
There’s a difference between doing what I just described, and recognizing that you are overloaded and distracted and just pulling the plug without telling anyone ahead of time.
The latter option is what I did a week ago. I shut off my laptop and I did my best to shut off the TV. I wasn’t sure what I needed – and I’m still not sure, to be honest – but I didn’t need more noise in my head. I needed, and still need, time to think my own thoughts for a while. I struggle with that need even under the best of circumstances, but lately I’ve been dealing with end-of-major-project worries, and I realized I had two options:
- lull myself mentally with the ceaseless idle babble that is the passive absorption of entertainment, whether through the television or through the internet
- Shut up. Unplug. Go do something.
I’ve been reading almost constantly, as Jeff can attest. I have a huge novel (Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell) that’s been on extended loan from a friend. I’ve decided to get it read and get it back to her. I’ve been writing. I’ve been sewing. I’ve been forcing myself to go to bed earlier, which quickly confirmed my suspicion that sleep deprivation had been worsening the problem.
I’m okay. Most people won’t even notice any changes, though I think a few people have wondered why I stopped responding on Facebook. There are still going to be posts here on cat.net, and shorter bursts that get posted to all the places my friends read (twitter, plurk, facebook, livejournal) but it’s reasonable to assume that I am only absently keeping up with everyone for a while. I’m still figuring out what to post here on cat.net – I can tell I’m rusty from having taken a year away – but what you’ve seen recently will continue.
It is hard to hear myself over the clamor of everyone else. I’m just turning down the volume for a while.