Negative Nation

31 Aug

My absence from this blog was a culmination of many things, good and bad, but one trigger keeps rearing it’s ugly head. Haters.

No, no one is hating on me specifically. But there’s just been this cloud of negativity lately that has been weighing me down.

Even Oprah, the queen of easily found sobs and smiles has said:

The world is a mess. We all know it and talk about in our private lives. It’s depressing and overwhelming at times to look at how much potential we have and yet we’re constantly bombarded by images and information that speaks to the lowest common denominator.


It’s gotten hard for me to get on Facebook where I’m assaulted with this barrage of daily disappointments and struggles, links to articles ranging from depressing news to more depressing social dialogues. I could blame the media, as people often do, and say it’s their fault. They are the ones who have decided that entertainment news is more important than understanding politics, they are the ones who would rather drive a celebrity (or pseudo-celebrity) to suicide rather than reassess their role as enablers to addicts.

But according to them, this is what we want.

What this all amounts to though is that, right now, people are unhappy. We’re unhappy with our government, we’re unhappy with our jobs, we’re unhappy with our families. What makes us feel better?

Well, we think what makes us feel better is seeing other people who we judge to be “worse off” than us. Whether that’s on reality television or on social networking or on those fictitious “news” programs that feed us new people/reasons to fear and hate.

We do sometimes look for outlets that will give us hope but many of these hope-givers and embedded within the previous realms and send mixed messages. Just look at shows like The Real Housewives of ____ franchise shows and Keeping Up With the Kardashians, both shows that allow us to look into a world of affluence we might dream of one day joining that also assures us that people are just as inane and obnoxious no matter what their bank account says.

And I’m not saying I’m immune to it, far from it! I buy and sell into it just as much as, if not more than, the next person. But lately when I meander over the online world via Facebook, I get so bogged down by my negative News Feed that instead of adding my own negativity I stop. Why do I stop?

I’m not going to lie, it makes me more upset! I get pissed that it seems everyone has already taken their turn venting about their problems so by the time I’m compelled to post about mine, I feel like I’m going to look like the asshole. Instead of venting my anger, I reassess and (more often than not) find a way to look at my life critically. This isn’t because I’m necessarily a good person, it’s just because I’m narcissistic enough to want to look like I’m dealing with things better than I really am.

And that’s where the end of the above Oprah quote comes in. She followed the above with this:

We can do better. We can be better. I know it’s true.

You can learn from my mistakes, and I can learn from yours. We can grow ourselves forward.

To make sucking it up, learning from my mistakes, or “growing myself forward,” a bit easier, I’ve been looking for different perspectives to help put my own corner of the world into sharper focus. Living in Michigan, the heart and soul (at least symbolically) of our nation’s current economic crisis, has given me casual insight of which I’m not always even completely aware.

For me, this search for objectivity and understanding is where art and entertainment can sometimes collide to form such enlightened moments of greatness. Satire, parody and philosophy can combine to remind us that life is hard but that’s just part of living.

Louis C.K. is making a career of asking just why is it that, despite the fact that the world is more amazing than ever, nobody is happy. His show Louie takes a close look at the moments everyday that we feel confronted by the ambivalence of experiencing both amazement and depression in overwhelming degrees.

I’m not just trying to write a love note to Louie, although honestly I would, but I’m saying that this show helps inspire me to do better and try harder. It might not do that for you but you should find something that does.

As a writer, I hope that I can help others do this. As a person, I hope I can do it myself.  Because I owe it to myself and everyone else around me and if more people felt that way, we could be a revolution of revelations. Or, at least, we could be happier.


6 Responses to “Negative Nation”

  1. Katie August 31, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    If you haven’t already, check this out:

    I get their daily email and it’s probably the only one I actually read every day. More often than not, I feel inclined to forward it along to someone. They’re interesting and inspiring and quirky and I think you’ll like it 🙂

    • redshana August 31, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

      Thanks! It’s always good to spread a little positivity and inspiration. I have to admit, I’ve heard of the site before but haven’t paid as much attention to it as I probably could.

  2. Nikki September 2, 2011 at 12:53 am #

    Thank you for this! You hit on all the reasons I ignore Facebook from time to time, including my personal lack of updates. I’m much more inclined to post the negative and sometimes passive aggressive post than the positive one, but I usually refrain. Way to be positive!

    • redshana September 2, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

      Sometimes I don’t always get there but it’s always worth trying.

  3. Annie September 10, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    Perspective is everything. Nice food for thought Shana. I think its so easy to get caught up in our daily bullshit and not see things for what they really are. Not that our feelings aren’t valid. But, I think they need to be adjusted once in a while and hopefully that will remind us of how privileged we really are. Great post Shana!

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