My mother always said, and I think a few notable mafia folk and Nobel Prize-winners would agree, that knowledge is power. So last month I decided to reacquaint myself with an old habit that had lost its influence on my life. Being hip on current affairs. I mean reading the paper, the news – knowing what others are paid to share with the world and what is essentially going on. I’m not just speaking about op-eds, Page 6 and the Arts and Style sections. Of course, I Skimm'd - so I knew the important stuff while having a good giggle with each news blast as I sipped my latte. But admittedly, there was a huge gap between what was happening and the depth of knowledge I had about it. As a smart woman, and an American expat relocating back to the US, I thought I needed to expand my brain mass to hold even more stuff - the nitty gritty of our world. The news.
I began my challenge with the belief that it's better to know what is going on - ideally at all possible times. In the world, with people (the ones you know, love and don't care for as well as the ones you may never cross paths with). Gotta know about the economy, the environment, whether your chats with famous people are being recorded and Snapchatted (WT-). Naturally, you'll want to know if your speech has already been written and given before...by someone else. You get where I'm going. Better to know than be falsely blissed out on ignorance. Right?
Well, maybe. Real knowledge, like whole fat milk, Southern-fried chicken, frois gois and those frosting-topped cupcakes made with butter, is rich, full and real good. Right? Not if you're a vegan, eh? The heaviness lingers and doesn't always sit well. In fact, it can cause major indigestion, a belly ache, breakouts and extended periods of time in the toilet. Or engaged in discussions where two news references in, you are using your potty mouth. When that grounded knowledge we pride ourselves on is always on hand, within reach, easy to gobble up, already there by your side to remind you of how much we know, it may very likely make you want to vomit.
During my news indulgence, Instead of feeling empowered and smart, I felt saddened and sick. Geez, like how many times do I need to see a truck run over small children or watch a woman sit next to her partner as he died before her, for no reason. I often wondered if I even needed to know all of it; whatever it was.
I know more now, that's for sure. But I have an ick feeling only a news detox can cure. Knowledge is power when it's shared with grace, purpose, and sensitivity. Yes, the truth can sometimes hurt and we are a world in a lot of pain now. Yet, I'm not convinced that everything seen, heard or spoken needs to be passed on. So am making like Buddha (and Richard Gere) and self-censoring what I expose my sensitive spirit to. Rather than succumb to being in the know, I'm turning the page, turning the channel, hitting delete. My mind and body know when enough is enough.
And what about you and the news? Let me know your thoughts below. Or better yet, share this post with someone who may need a news break too.
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