As with most high schoolers, music was a big part of my identity. I remember sublimely emo moments where I’d blast Death Cab for Cutie’s “Passenger Seat” and I’d stare (through the opulent purple canopy above my bed) out the rainy window. I’d make sure to clasp onto every feeling. That was the point of the music. Feel it all! Feel it allllllll.
Fortunately, this came very naturally to me. It was profound; or, rather, it felt profound, but was probably closer to Profundity Lite. It was a tangled sensation of mattering to the world. The whole experience was like practicing scales–I could do a legato glide from “perfectly normal” to “deeply despairing” over a few bars. I could finish the album with a few staccato sobs, wipe my cheeks, and heal quickly.
Looking back, I have no idea what I was feeling then, but I remember the dimension of it. The feelings were almost tangible, like if I had wanted to, I could quantify them, examine them, and appraise them. And practice made perfect, so now I can feel a dynamic range of emotions at one sentence, with one particularly resonant drumbeat, with one image.
And now I understand the feelings a little better than I did when I was 15. Now I understand: caring this much? It’s not desirable, or human, or cool.
Every now and again, I examine the overflowing drawer of feelings I’ve accumulated, and I think, “That’s enough, thank you.” I try to close the drawer but little feelings wriggle out and get stuck in the cracks between the wood.
I’m there now. I’ve reached max capacity, where I am bored with the emotional overdose. I’m bored with talking about my feelings. I’m sick of synthesizing my experiences. I’m tired of getting my feelings hurt. I’m really tired of getting burned. I’d like to be a little less sad, even if it also meant being a little less happy sometimes too.
But even when I practice apathy, it’s just not as easy as skipping to the next song.
I’m being so entirely genuine when I say this: Any tips for turning it off?