NEW CASTLE —
Have you ever just felt kinda blah?
You're in a place where nothing could excite you and, likewise, nothing could bother you. Sensations and perceptions have become secondary, and the only sounds you can comprehend are your own breathing and the rhythmic beating of your heart in your chest.
Oftentimes, I ponder whether I have felt everything there is to feel. I have experienced great sensations, both physical and emotional. I have experienced the good, the bad and the downright ugly. I've had major wounds inflicted on my poor body and felt excruciating pain as a result. I have also been intimately acquainted with my fair share of love, joy, and ecstasy. I have had my heart and spirit crushed by the actions of others and less-than-pleasing twists of fate. I have fallen in and out of love and have felt the sting of death, divorce, and disrespect.
Each time one of these events transpires, I feel a little less affected. The level of delight and/or pain has subsided over the years. Perhaps I have been sentenced to feel only lesser versions of my experiences. These new occurrences pale in comparison when held beside the originals.
There is a lyric that is quite fitting from the band Guns N’ Roses: “I used to do a little and a little wouldn't do, so the little got more and more.”
If you are at all familiar with the band, you realize that they were talking about their life of excess and their use of drugs and alcohol. I, however, am not talking about addiction or substance abuse, but the rhetoric of the situation remains intact.
In an effort to avoid this desensitizing process making their products fade into the void of commercialism, advertisers constantly evolve and change the look and feeling of their products. Though their commodities have been the same for decades, the likes of Pepsi, Coke, and McDonald’s have learned that it always has to be fresh and new. They will simply repackage the exact product in a new can or change the name to avoid the downward spiral into the hum-drum that I am writing about.
Continuing with the same line of logic, and to further explore the loss of feeling and general apathy, I, like the majority of other boys growing up in our society, have been told to suck it up and quit being a baby when it came to pain, disappointment, and even anger. We tell our offspring to be a man and not cry. When they fall and skin their knees, we make them get back up and tell them, “rub a little dirt in it” to make them tough. These actions desensitize us to pain and teach us to turn off the underlying emotion. Much like the violence in video games and movies desensitizes our minds to the sight of blood, gore, and aggression, so does the toughing up of our kids.
In fact, “the toughening up effect” has me self-censoring at this very moment. I ponder the words as they fall from my head, across my hands, and onto the page. I reject the ones that convey too much emotion and the ones that reveal too much of that inner sanctuary. Will I offend someone? Will I cause people to feel uneasy? Will The News reject my writing?
Maybe we are desensitized as we age. Maybe we have seen too much of this great big world. Maybe the expanse of information on the Internet has made us indifferent. Maybe it's just a pending mid-life crisis.
I have had my eye on this sweet little red convertible. Where is my checkbook?