Big People, Little World

How are you doing? Yes, you. No, not the guy sitting behind you in the fedora. I’m talking to YOU. How are you? It’s been a hard week, hasn’t it? If you’re feeling disheartened, angry, sad, embarrassed, or fearful – know that I am, too. Know that you’re not alone in your feelings, in your questions, or in your feeble attempts to move forward. I’m right there with you.

I’ve been trying to make myself feel better over the past few days, as I’m sure (and I hope) you’ve been doing for yourself as well. I’m realizing more and more that I am a part of two worlds. One world is the “Big World” – it includes my state and country and Earth, and everyone living within its boundaries. It includes the ideals and people within my profession. It includes the internet and social media. It encompasses all of the outside world and every person that I come into contact with, whether physically or internet-ly.

There’s also my “Little World.” It includes my job, and the coworkers and clients I see on a regularly basis. It includes close friends and family members. But truthfully, Little World is mostly just me.  It’s my body and my brain. Little World is me when I’m alone at home, when I’m driving in my car, and when I’m at the grocery store. It travels around with me, and is never separate from me.

On a normal day, I often find myself doing things to pull myself out of my Little World. It’s hard, because I feel comfy there. But I actively make myself participate in the Big World. “Come on self, walk with confidence. Speak with confidence. If you pretend you’re outgoing and assertive, you’ll come across that way. Stop pushing down your feelings – tell people the truth. Share your ideas. Advocate! Defend! Empower! Support!”

But over the past few days, it hasn’t felt safe to be in the Big World, has it? We went out and made the choices we felt were right. We believed we were advocating for the greater good. We were being big-hearted. We were hopeful.

And then, in the blink of an eye, our hopes were dashed. And it’s been painful. And embarrassing. And infuriating. And possibly worst of all, it’s been terrifying.

So while I normally encourage myself to break out of my Little World and embrace the Big World, right now I’m giving myself permission to do the opposite. I’m allowing myself to get small – which, I want to emphasize, is not the same as feeling small.

For me, getting small and returning to my Little World means that I’m steering clear of the internet and social media – with a few exceptions. Rather than psyching myself up to break out of my shell, I’m seeking safety within it. I’m quietly checking in on my feelings and needs. I’m closing the door to the outside world when I need to.  I’m letting myself feel disappointed and worried, without trying to logic my way out of it. I’m spending time with people who feel safe and comforting to me, and politely avoiding others.

And I’m also letting myself feel content and peaceful when those responses manage to bubble to the surface. I’m re-reading a favorite book that always makes me smile. I’m continuing to crochet new rows onto a blanket that has already gotten comically large. I’ve gotten somewhat sidetracked from my “Project,” but I feel proud of the work I’ve done on it so far, and I know I’ll return to it soon.

I even unleashed my inner weirdo long enough to send a gross picture of a centipede to my family and friends. And I felt inexplicable glee at their disgust.

I know I can’t stay here in my turtle shell forever, and I wouldn’t want to. Once I’m feeling grounded and steady, I may want to poke my head out of the shell and see what the Big World is up to. Maybe I’ll feel a little stronger and better equipped to take on new challenges. Maybe I’ll see new reasons to retreat back inside for awhile, and that’s okay too.

Returning to my Little World seems to help me a little. I don’t know if it will help you. I hope you find something in the next few days to bring you comfort and light and laughter, but I understand if you can’t. Know that I support you, and that I value your worth. Know that I see your hurt and confusion and fear. Know that I understand, and I feel those things too. Know that I care deeply about the fact that children are asking you questions that you don’t know the answer to. Know that I want answers, too.

Know also that we are together in this. I see you, and I am with you.  If I have to point out the ONE aspect of beauty in this horribly ugly situation, it’s that we have each other. You and me, and our brothers and sisters with similar goals and hopes and values. We’re not alone.


13 thoughts on “Big People, Little World

  1. This is such a wonderful post. I’ve been trying to distract myself from all of it. Not easy. I’ve already been so busy trying to distract myself from the other huge stress-makers in my life. I didn’t need a new one. I didn’t need this one… no one did. I have moments of “it’ll be okay” but then I remember that I don’t believe that at all… bummer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sandra 🙂. You’re right that it’s not easy, not at all. This isn’t just one bad event that we can process and move on from. Things are continuing to happen. People are out saying and doing terrible things to people we care about. Even if I can do something to make myself feel better, I can’t do anything to lessen the fear my immigrant clients have about being deported. That feeling of helplessness and concern for their wellbeing pulls me back down all over again. But I really do get comfort out of the fact that I’m not the only one feeling these things.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do, too, because it’s really easy for me to become cynical (well, I already am, but more so, I guess). But knowing I’m not alone in this reminds me that there are good people out there. And, honestly, sometimes that’s way too easy to forget. You need to move up here so we can commiserate over gooey cheesy foods. ♥

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree that it’s easy to forget. Although the internet definitely has its downsides right now, the upside is being connected to all these amazing people. Without it, we’d all be feeling alone. Your idea is excellent – it’s got friendship, cheese, and the opportunity to move out of a red state 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think we *have* to give ourselves a break and focus on our little worlds for a bit, since none of us can instantly change everything just by willing it.

    Plus, getting lost in our emotions won’t help any of us understand or strategize. On election night, I kept cycling through tears, shock, and fantasizing about walking out the front door with a can of gasoline and a match. Cathartic, but won’t solve much.

    And now, I keep weighing whether or not to get political on my little family blog. It may not be the place for it, I don’t know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have the same thought about what to post and what not – I started this as a fun project, and I don’t want it to become a heated, controversial thing. I don’t want it for me anymore than I want it for others. But I also have a definite need to say some stuff, and don’t really feel safe using my personal social media accounts for that. For this particular post, my desire to convey compassion and support for others outweighed my desire to keep things fun & lighthearted though.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel disappointed that my rose tinted spectacles didn’t allow me to see how unhappy people were but I am also worried why people voted the way they did. Great post – I, too, have retreated to my little world, chatting to neighbors, shopkeepers etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had questions about this as well. I read a blog of a Trump voter, and she described anger about liberals calling themselves the big-hearted side, but we insult anyone who doesn’t agree with us. On one hand, I can genuinely see where she’s coming from (especially since I admit to calling Trump supporters “idiots”), but at the same time, I don’t see that as being a good reason to vote for someone. I don’t think we’re ever going to get a clear answer for how or why this happened.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I read a good moderate post that it was hardly Mother Teresa losing to Idi Amin which gave some perspective. It worries me that so many Americans would ignore the dangers of electing Trump just to make government change. Germans did the same with Hitler…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, I couldn’t believe so many people could overlook the many disadvantages of electing Trump, in favor of getting (maybe) a couple benefits. When I’m more used to the idea, I want to have a thoughtful discussion with someone and try to understand how they reached that decision. Then again, I’m not good at thoughtful discussions on controversial topics like this – I get heated quickly and then I derail things haha. Maybe it’d be better if i WATCH a discussion between other people…

      Liked by 1 person

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