Outrage and Manatees

I’ve been quiet lately.

Some of that was deliberate, as I chose to focus on myself for a while to get through what I expected to be a rough time. It turned out that my support group was wonderful, and I was stronger than I gave myself credit for. I’ve had a happy month.

I just haven’t really had anything to say. I’ve done plenty of things this month, many of which I’m sure would make for lovely posts, but I just wasn’t feeling the spark. Normally, when I can’t find a source of inspiration in my own life, I look elsewhere for that spark. Facebook, the news, Twitter. I follow fascinating people who link to fascinating articles and have many thoughtful things to say about them. But while most of my friends have been posting funny and wonderful things, I feel like the tone of my feeds has recently veered towards the negative.

There have been shootings, and the discussions about mental health resources and gun control that inevitably follow. There has been talk of censorship and intellectual property and plagiarism. Sexual harassment and discrimination and what consent and equality mean. Political corruption and incompetence and people on two sides of an issue who just refuse to aim for a middle ground. Food stamps and abortion and health care and a childish government shutdown that cost my household two weeks’ pay. I’ve read articles that surprised me about each one of these topics; articles that made me sad. And, of course, comment threads that made me angry.

These topics push buttons inside me and make me want to speak up. Scream, in some cases. But I can’t bring myself to add to the negativity. I’ve been unable to shake the feeling that if you can’t say something nice, you shouldn’t say anything at all, but didn’t realize that was a source of my “writer’s block” until a friend posted this on Twitter today:

manatee

There’s a term I see a lot online: Recreational Outrage. Getting upset for the sake of getting upset. I’m not saying that the writers and sharers of the things I’ve been reading are necessarily guilty of this, but I feel like anything I’d say on those topics would earn me that label. I get riled up too easily. I need to keep reading and absorbing and sorting out my opinions and thoughts. Right now, I have nothing constructive to say about any of it. I don’t want to fill my blog with rants. Not before I can make them clear and purposeful rants, anyway. I don’t want to feel angry right now. I don’t want to fight evil and injustice with my little blog today.

I’ll keep poking at the dusty crate of archived blog ideas in my brain until something pops up. Something happy, or something constructive. If that means I write about cookies and soup for a while, so be it. I miss writing. I miss sharing.

Until I figure out what’s next, please enjoy a calming manatee.

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