Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Joys of Blocking

I've had a few occasions recently to reflect on how manageable I have been able to remain despite some pretty good shitrains (a Hunter S. Thompson word creation that is devastatingly descriptive  and completely evocative of what it is meant to portray). And one of the big reasons why is that, as part of an ongoing process that started years ago, has hiccupped a few times over the years, and has been moving steadily forward for the last couple of years, I am keeping the problems compartmentalized--I am dealing with my daughter's issues when my daughter is in front of me, to take one example, and not letting frustrations over, say, the length of time it is taking my employer to find a third shift replacement so I can begin the new position enter into how I deal with her and her issues.
And a second, and newer, element is that I have been able to shut out a lot of undue, unwarranted, and unhelpful outside input. I have a large social media presence, and I am part of a fellowship that is often termed "the greatest show on earth" because it can resemble a circus on any given day. None of us are perfect, and I freely acknowledge to having caused my share of chaos--and more starkly, inflicting pain on others through those mediums--in the past. But I have learned, and really haven't been guilty of that stuff in some time-- a few years now. I can't speak for anyone else, though, and there are a few people out there that admit to stirring matter up and meddling in other people's lives for no reason other than it amuses or interests them.
And those people are, to be blunt, fucking dangerous, not to mention a major cause of problems and unrest. I've dealt with this kind of stuff for years, dating back to the time MOTY and I broke up sixteen-plus years ago. The advice I got then--ignore as much as possible, and let other people decide for themselves what is real and what isn't--was golden then and is golden now. But society has evolved, and social media is a huge part of many of our lives. And consequently, stuff on social media often takes on a life of its own, and is hard to ignore if you've become aware it's there.
There's a solution, I have found, a two-step one. If there is someone that occasionally or often irritates you, but that you don't really need to cut the cord with, you can unfollow them. And for the truly toxic, you can block them. My block list is actually pretty short, and consists mostly of people that work for my former employer; there was someone in my office that was constantly bringing crap up t the upper levels of management there, and I just found it necessary to block all their asses until I figured out who it was, which took me a few years. And even after I figured out who it was--it was just easier if none of them had easy access to my thoughts and feelings about my life away from the office.
And that's how I feel now. One of the more recent blocks came in the summer, of a noted busybody and shit-stirrer. And it's been very blissful not dealing with the inevitable problems this person causes with opinions, cryptic remarks, and all-around meddlesome behavior. I'm sure that the person still has opinions on what I do with my life--but I can't get upset about that which I don't know anything of. I honestly do not know why I did not do this years ago.
And the peace that has descended has made me less reticent about cutting other toxic influences completely out. I blocked the first phone numbers I have ever blocked this summer, at the height of the McHale Experience--and it is totally amazing not only how all that bullshit stopped for me, but it gave a few others directly impacted by that toxic waste dump of a human being the courage and push, after viewing the advent of peace in my life after her absence was enforced, to completely cut communication with the Experience, as well. And we're all better off for it. It has even extended to relatives--I have a cousin-in-law that I absolutely loathe, to take a recent example, and I just flat-out refused to pretend to suffer his presence at all when my cousin and he came to visit here in the fall. It's not worth disturbing my peace of mind. I haven't quite gotten to the point where I can realistically do it with siblings--but I limit my exposure so that I don't get deeply involved in the clashes that those three extremely stubborn and argumentative people get into.
I have come to not only treasure my serenity, but I have some tools and know-how now to actually bring it about and keep it going. It's the old War Games principle: the only winning move is not to play. And by that standard, I've been victorious frequently in the last several months.

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