Yesterday I had an hour between shuttling kids.
Ample time to be seriously productive. Instead, I used my time to watch an episode of the Twilight Zone.
Yes, that Twilight Zone.
Old black and white film, simple, albeit freaky, music and legit storytelling. Just calming to my soul.
The moment was short-lived but somehow I just couldn’t shake that show.
The episode started in the same eerie way I remembered as a kid. A man’s monotone voice explaining the 6th dimension.
The area beyond that which is known to man -“the area that lies between the pit of man’s fears and the sunlight of his knowledge. This is an area called imagination.”
The pilot episode, which interestingly enough was about a pilot, was set in a small town and is about a man who is seemingly the last man on earth. There are signs that there is life in the small town: a coffee shop with fresh-baked pies and hot coffee on the stove, a church bell ringing, cold ice cream in the soda shop, a movie theater, a ringing telephone, among other things. He spends the entire episode trying to find other people, most of the time speaking out and talking as if someone were actually there.
But, he is all alone.
Eventually, his isolation in Small Town is too much to bear. He quite literally cracks from being alone.
The camera cuts from the pilot being alone in Small Town to him being alone in a five foot by five foot makeshift room being watched by a group of scientists and Air Force brass. He was the subject of an experiment, sedated and being held in isolation to simulate travel to the moon and back. He was training to be the pilot of whatever aircraft was to be flown to the moon (this was 1959 after all).
His commanders and supervisors expecting this break say they could get food to the body and eliminate waste from it, feed the mind information but nothing could replace the need for us to connect with other people. Without human contact to other people, the man quite literally lost his mind.
Some might think we live in a Twilight Zone of connection these days. People hooked up on social media being fed information through invisible electrodes. We get the same brain reactions and adrenaline rushes from a “like” or “retweet” as if we were with actual, live people. But we are not with actual, live people. Social media is not real. I’m on it, yes, and I use it to promote my writing among other things, but I am completely aware that it is not a real person. I am connected with real people in real life all the time. Sometimes, I even break the boundaries of social media and talk to Facebook or twitter friends in real life.
I know. Gah.
When we are hurting or we are feeling sad, angry, ashamed, rejected, alone, confused, depressed, anxious…our instinct is to isolate. To put ourselves in a self-proclaimed five foot by five foot makeshift room of fear. We are afraid to connect and show our real selves because then people might know us. Like, really know us. What would they think if they knew we were imperfect? What would they think in they saw us in our raw, bare form. It’s the scariest thing for people to know you. Like, really know you, but I’m pretty sure we are all in the same boat.
The questions running through our minds all point to one thing – Am I okay? (The answer is yes, you are).
There are days when I feel like I did watching that show. I want to build a nest on my couch and binge watch “Golden Girls” in my pajamas and eat brownies and pizza all day.
No really, I want to do that. I want to go to a place that is simple and not complicated and full of things that feel good to me. I want to make unhealthy choices and shut myself in my closet in a cat t-shirt and flannel pajama pants, put my fingers in my ears and say “lalalalalalalala” to all the responsibility in my life. And you know what? That’s okay for an hour in the middle of the week every once in a while.
But if we shut off. If we isolate – we will freaking lose our minds like our guy in the Twilight Zone.
We will fill in the gaps with stuff we make up. WE MAKE STUFF UP WHEN WE ARE DISCONNECTED. What?
December is a hard month. People are talking about “happy” and “merry.” It’s enough to make you think you are doing something wrong. You’re not. There is no expectation.
Let’s refocus our thoughts on things like peace, hope, grace, relationship and joy.
Baby steps. We can do this.
Categories: All The Rest