Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sensory Overload

Wow. What an interesting couple of days. I've wanted to greet this blog each day this week as a means of recording everything I've been receptive to these past few days. The demands of the second half of my trimester in school have prevented me from doing just that...but I'm not complaining because it's forced me to simply remain open to soaking it all up.

After a fun-filled-four-day weekend with the girls, I woke up MONDAY morning aware of the anxiety swirling through my stomach. It didn't take long for me to realize that the anxiety, or maybe a better descriptor is "anticipation", was not bound solely to the approaching due date of the first of a series of research papers, but that it was somehow connected to a more collective experience of those who call themselves American citizens. The opportunity to come together to jointly determine the outcome of this historical election was finally within reach.

TUESDAY was the big day. I rode the bus to school that morning and discovered that everyone seemed to be effected by the magnitude of this opportunity. Typically I hide behind a book and listen to my music or the latest Rob Bell podcast, but this bus ride was different. No one seemed to be able to keep hidden the heightened level of arousal which caused an increased level of sensory perception. People were actually looking into one another’s eyes and acknowledging the presence of those around us. It was as if the realization that we were all connected and necessary for this decision had the power to break through the habitual functioning we've all grown accustomed to. People were awake. And you could sense it. You could see it on their faces. You could hear it in their excited conversations.

After staying up way too late working on a paper while simultaneously watching CNN (FYI - it's very difficult to finish a paper on Election Day) I woke up WEDNESDAY morning wondering what they day would be like. Would people still see each other? Would they be excited? Would the division so strongly revealed when looking at the popular vote be evident on people's faces? Would it feel like some were winners and others were losers or would there be a sense of unity? I rode the bus again yesterday morning and was so saddened by the difference a day had made. I literally felt like people were afraid to look at each other. I found myself wondering if my upbeat mood would be a dead giveaway to those around me of how I felt about the decision. And then I felt like I needed to somehow reign in the emotions I tend to wear on my sleeve out of fear that I might offend someone or be deemed "different" from those who didn't share my sentiments.

As the day went on and I realized that Tuesday had been a gift - not necessarily because of the election of Obama, but because for a single moment in time I glimpsed what life could be like if people were able to see the face of the other and acknowledge our connectivity. I knew the sensory overload that had allowed me to catch this glimpse would soon be numbed again so I fought to remain open to what my sense could reveal to me for the rest of that day. Here's a little something I wrote at the conclusion of an emotionally-charged couple of days:

What I took note of today...

:::The smell of Seattle filled with hints of damp leaves trampled upon, coffee beans - the drug of choice in the great northwest, and the aroma of freshly baked pastries seeping out of Le Panier as I walked through Pike Place Market on my way to school.
:::The now familiar sound of squeaky buses breaking as they hustle all of the environmentally-conscious people about.
:::The felt comfort of dressing down and wearing my grungier clothes including a brown hat that makes me feel a bit younger when I wear it.
:::The sight of an artist intent on his representation of my favorite aesthetically-pleasing bus stop filled with trees barely grasping the brightest gold leaves I've ever seen.
:::The taste of hot apple cider from Trader Joes while sitting with the ones I love the most after a long and sleep-deprived couple of days!

~S.

1 comment:

lauren said...

i think "sensory overload" is on the list of how to be an "artist"

welcome to the club!