Thursday, May 27, 2010

energy conservation

I'm a big fan of conserving energy, I really am. I have my computer and printer plugged in via a power strip that I turn off when I'm not using it; I unplug my cell phone charger, fan, and lights when I leave every morning so no extra electricity is getting sucked out.

But I'm an even BIGGER believer in conserving emotional and mental energy.
Think of the last time you were completely mentally or emotionally exhausted and were left feeling a little used up and unhappy. Was it because of someone you spent time with? Was it the evening news? Was it a crappy conversation with That Really Bitter Co-worker? (C'mon, we all have one, and if we're self-employed it's probably our cat.)

What if we could conserve our energy in another way? You see, when I wrote a few weeks back that there were big changes coming in my life, I didn't just mean confronting one person. I meant changing the way I deal with everyone and everything. And yes, progress is small, because it's supposed to be - the only change that sticks is the change you make one day at a time, one step at a time. Anything bigger or more radical and you end up bouncing right back to where you started, because that's just not how people work. (Not for my lack of trying, rest assured.)

Lemme give you an example: I have a lovely friend named Sara. Actually, she's my friend because she's dating one of my ex-boyfriends, but that just means her fabulous taste in men is yet another thing we have in common. Anyways, Sara is a lot like me - feisty, opinionated, and likes to be caught up on political and current events.

So there's this asshole douche-bag somewhere out there in the blogosphere who is claiming that men raping women is merely "equalization" - that, because women have affirmative action, the violation of womens' bodies is merely equalizing the power shift and that men should not be condemned for such actions.

Well, you can guess Sara's reaction as, oh I don't know, a member of the human race, unlike this piece-of-work blogger who probably climbed up from the same primordial ooze as the Westboro Baptist Church, those classy kids who protest at the funerals of military servicemen and servicewomen because God hates the United States due to the fact that we haven't branded The Gays and locked them up in concentration camps yet. (I think the question What Would Jesus Do? is a tad hypothetical at this juncture.)

The truth is, a couple weeks ago I would have been right there with my friend, all offended and worked up and pissed off and wanting to give this guy a piece of my mind (and no, I'm refusing to link to his blog, I will NOT give this guy more blog traffic)...

but I didn't care. It was energy conservation at its finest. He wasn't worth my time or energy. This blogger's point, coming from a place of ignorance and a button-pushing attention-whoring, was deemed unworthy of even the slightest glance backwards. I didn't read the blog my friend linked to. I just simply told her that it wasn't worth it for her to even pause in her life for a millisecond to get worked up about it.

This is evolution, my friends. Evolution of an attitude and perspective shift that is so powerful it can take the smallest moments and make them victories. We don't have to throw any more emotion than we want at people or places or events. We get to choose - that's why we're adults.

When I told my therapist about this incident, she clapped with such an amount of force and glee that somewhere in Neverland entire hives of faeries probably came back to life.

Conserving energy works the opposite way as well - sometimes the world is a bad and scary place. Instead of standing in the face of what is wrong in the world and freaking out at it... why don't we just turn on a light? Doesn't it take less energy to light one tiny little candle than it does to curse the darkness?

So here's where I turn the microphone to you guys, and you can answer anonymously if you want (it's not just for leaving snarky comments with no repercussions! Who would have thought!) - Do you have something, or someone, in your life that takes a lot of emotional energy out of you and leaves you feeling kind of crappy? If so, what can you do about it? I wanna hear all about your own efforts at energy conservation - because I'm digging how much happier this is making me and I can't help but want to share. :)


Eric W. Trant said...


I call it Emotional Bandwidth, and I say all the time to people: "I don't have the emotional bandwidth for this, sorry."

Then I walk away or change the channel or close the web page.

I did that just now, actually, on a divorce website that was getting too feisty for me.

Crazy women screaming at me, though, and I say, "Look baby, I don't have the emo--"

And then something hits me in the head and I suddenly find the bandwidth.

- Eric

Lori ann said...

I'm clapping too! bravo Tracy, you are learning how to take care of you first, and that's a good thing. Then, you have the strength and energy to devote towards those things in life that make your life rich and worth living.
Your emotional maturity and understanding make me smile, you are so young (compared to me, it took me forever to learn).
enjoy your newfound energy.
♥ lori

Simon said...

That's some twisted logic.

Are you sure you don't wanna give up the site? Just to me? Like, I kind of live for dicks like that. It's how I spend my snow days.

Awesome article, anyway. Tis a good idea, but going off on random fucks on the interwebs is just too much fun.

Radical Bradacal said...

Ways in which I conserve energy:
- Closing my door at home against the craziness of my family
- walking
- deep breathing
- Screen-saver brain
- video games (which is antithetical to actual energy conservation, but, like you, turn off the power strip when I don't need)
- milkshakes and cheeseburgers with you

maggisaar said...

Girl, the pair oh She Balls on you rivals most women and men I know. Well done.

You know what I’m tired of? I’m tired of DJ. You know, the math teacher/love/lost obsession of mine that I still talk about from time to time because I’m stupid? I’m so tired of him. I want to let go, to leave him behind and move on with my life. Just go away, DJ you bastard. But he doesn’t. He hovers, like a stupid ghost and he never will go away.

Of course, to make him go away would mean burning all my memories and deleting like half the songs on my iPod and…No, I can’t do that. I can’t give up my music. So I’m trying to retrain my mind to see different images. See something else, anything else, even if it means not DJ, but James, the character I’ve turned him into to try and write out this frustrating and annoying ghost that haunts me.

You know I almost added his name to the baby shower invite list? Was going to send a letter saying, “Look, it happened and it’s stupid so let’s be friends again by celebrating a new life.” And then I just said, fuck it, no. I can’t do that to Steve, it would destroy me, and all my high school friends who were there would have blown their minds and instead I just don’t want to. I’m tired. I’m so tired of giving that man my energy, of putting myself out there to be disappointed, or being the one to make the first move…and that move is to throw myself off a cliff.

But it’s hard. Because next August…it’ll have been 10 years. An entire decade of my life that this man has ruled, been a part of, been the ghost of, the cause of my tears and my heartache and my writing. Shit. SHIT. And I hate it, but I don’t hate it. It’s just there, just a part of me, and I want to let go.

Maybe, more than anything, I want Steve to have more of me. Not that he, in anyway, has a smaller part than DJ. I just want Steve to have the parts that DJ once ruled. Hell, you’ve seen Steve and I together. We are total goofballs and mad for each other! Shipoopi’s! Soul mates! Meant to be! He deserves more of my mind than DJ, and I feel so guilty and horrible when he doesn’t get a chance to wiggle in there. On the bad days, after the dreams, after the songs end.

But DJ will never be to me what Steve is.

God, I’m an idiot. But if nothing else, Little Natalie will never, ever, get less of me than she should because of that wanker up in Big Bear. Because she is my new beginning, my chance to let go, to focus on someone else to love unconditionally and have a blast with. He gets me from August 2000-August 2010. She gets me from august 2010 onto forever. There, suck it, DJ. I’ve tried. Lord knows I’ve tried, and I got nothing, so it’s done. Right? DONE.

So...that’s my rant. Thanks for letting me get it off my fabulous chest! <3

You’re baby shower invite will be out soon.

maggisaar said...

Also, it's good LOST ended cause that was sucking me dry in a totally different way.

Kristin Quinn said...

I left California to regain my emotional energy- my fault for allowing emotionally draining people to direct my life. Starting my life in NY I now choose carefully who I allow in my life and I know how to balance give and take in relationships.

I'm happy that you taking control in this area is making you happier. And kudos for resisting even looking at the idiot's page. You're right. He's so ignorant its not even worth the energy.

Anonymous said...

I'm having a hard time with the energy sucking of my family. This is difficult for me because I have decided to back home in January and I am worried that the emotional energy sucking will just get worse while I'm there. However, my brother moved home a year ago and he is dealing with the energy sucking-crazy-ass family members all on his own. I think the worst emotional sucker is my mom. She is so incredibly needy and sensitive and, honestly, she is drinking WAY too much since losing her job. This scares me. I don't want my future children to have a drunk grandmother who complains all the time and asks them to tell her how much they love her. LAME! And it is so difficult to say anything to her because then she just breaks down hysterically and weeps that she is a bad mother. She cannot take any criticism whatsoever. The few times I have been honest with her about my feelings she has brought the instances up over and over and over again. Lesson learned! Don't tell mom how you really feel. I haven't even started with the rest of my family, but I so appreciate your invitation to share candidly and anonymously. This felt wonderful. I am glad you are learning how to conserve your emotional energy. I am so enjoying watching your personal growth via blogstalking. :)

btw, the word verification word is Morother. Take out the RO and what do you get?? Coincidence? I think not.

Lydia Kang said...

Excellent post. I'm all pissed off from what you've written about, that less-than-human piece of...oh whatever.
You are right. I'd rather put my energy into something positive instead of flooding more time and energy and traffic to such a person, if it can be called that.

Good. For. You.

Lady Ren said...

Great post- I am happy for you for your new found energy conservation.

Jo said...

I just read a post on another blog I visit regularly about friends who suck the energy from our lives, and what we do about it. Something is in the air! ;)

So, in answer to your question, when it comes to people who suck energy or add a negative energy to my life, I've learned to let go. I simply allow what (or who) is not working to fade away. This frees up time to focus on what and who are the positives in my life.

Feeding negativity just breeds more negativity, and I want no part of that!

drollgirl said...

well i just exhaled after reading this. my story is lame, but here goes. i have a landlord that i fucking loathe. we have battled, screamed, ranted and raved at each other, and i just don't want to deal with her. it isn't worth it to talk to her. i pay my rent on time, and try not to ever have contact with her. note: she screwed me out of $600 a year or two ago, but she told me i'd have to take her to court to try and get the money back. i'm not up for that. that may sound lame, but i just can't handle the aggravation, and i figure she'll get hers in life, one way or another.

needless to say, she has been working on my place for the last two weeks. almost every day she has been here from 9am until 7pm or 8pm. when i drive home at night and see that she is here, i just drive away, park around the corner, and read a book. or go out to dinner. or go to the mall. it is just easier for me to avoid confrontation many times. i just don't have the strength or interest in taking on every problem in life.

Lira said...

There was a time when I had a few emotional leeches in my life, where I definitely had to learn to let go.

One time, my therapist told me, "you're not that little girl anymore. you're a grown up. you don't have to visit her if you don't want to," and it was as if the clouds had parted and I could see all the colors in the world again. Giving myself permission to not care was immensely freeing. I'd rather spend time with people who are fun!

I mean there's a huge difference between a friend who's in need of healing and mourning compared to the friend who's just been in a bad disposition for the last 4 years.

Yay for your blog!
Yay for you!

g. fox said...

Right on, lady. I can't even tell you how relevant you are.

Bathwater said...

Why do I feel like this blog has direct implication for me? Actually I have written about this before I believe there are two types of people, those who get energy from being around others and those who need to isolate themselves to recharge.

I'm an isolator, I need to recharge after being around other (maybe that goes with being a giver).

Hasn't the question, What would Jesus do? been hypothetical ever since anyone who actually knew him died? Not to mention what Jesus would do on a Monday morning might not be the same as he would do on a Friday afternoon-- just saying.

Dionne said...

OH MY GOSH! I can't believe that thing about raping women being an equalizer! That's insane!

I did have someone that drained me of energy. It's one thing to be like that when you're going through a hard time (that's what friendship is about, when one of you is down, the other one rolls up their sleeve and let's you drain away), but it's another to be like that ALL THE TIME. There should be a balance.

I had a friend who drained me constantly. It wasn't a healthy friendship, so I had to end it. We talk still, but not often. One of the healthiest decisions I ever made!

Anonymous said...

I love you SO much right now for giving me the best insight I've had in all week! Maybe even month!
I never thought of it this way. We...or I spend myself brooding over subjects that torture me. I guess I always have the choice to draw a line. To make myself separate from those issues that are happening.
Women getting raped, and sexism and a patriacal society (i know the spelling's wrong) in general get me SO pissed off. I can just let and promise myself I won't be a part of it, inshaAllah. Come to think of it...that's all I have control over. :)

Kris said...

I need to conserve my energy multiple times a day. It's hard, but worth it. I get mad at silly things, but my boyfriend gets insanely mad at things like burning his hand on a ravioli. Chill out!

Ed Pilolla said...

having something called a heart protector is a good thing for each of us and the world. some people do not deserve our energy, good or bad, since they feed on either, anything. we take care of ourselves, we assist others in a way. insightful post.

Robin said...

Such excellent points. It's why I don't listen to politics right now. I listen when I can DO. When I can't do (as in VOTE), I tune out, because it sucks my energy. However, while I was reading your post and subsequent comments, I found myself thinking about the last thing I read in the Richard Bach novel I am reading right now. Yeah, I am making progress there. It's RUNNING FROM SAFETY, if you've forgotten. He and Leslie are talking about times when they have each gotten angry. She reminds him that she has seen him really angry. His response is that is true, but his anger only lasts until he remembers that it is just a game. And his anger is just one mood in the game. The game, of course, is life. She says, "There are a lot of times I forget it's a game," she said. "I think life is real, I think you do, too." He says, "Looks that way sometimes, I'll admit. I get frustrated, something stands in my way. Or I'll get angry which is to say frightened when what I want to do or who I want to be is threatened. But that's a mood of the game. Take me out of the game, tell me in my angriest minute, Your life is over, Richard, spacetime has just stopped, and anger's gone, whatever it was doesn't matter anymore, I'm me again." Anyway, it gives me pause. I think we hurt ourselves physically when we give our energy to unhealthy things. I say this to you as I type with this terrible migraine. I tell myself this is a game and I keep pulling the pain card. Why is that? I am the captain of this ship... It's a lot to think about.

Heather Taylor said...

Boys leave me the most emotionally drained. It's been this way for years and I'm not the only girl who's fighting this battle. My solution? I just wrote up the perfect guy in my head and write stories about him and his life. Oh, the perks of being a writer ;)

Clarity said...

It is an amazing feeling, thank God you found it. I also think it helps make you more patient. Stand back a little and see things for what they are, XX.

Wine and Words said...

I always ask myself..."is this a hill your willing to die on." Answers usually no. If it's not that important, let it go. Because strength is reserved for moments I will fight to the death!

krista said...

i've realized that energy conservation means my social calendar is much less full. but i'm so much happier.
probably not a coincidence.

Kristy said...

honestly I think it's called moving into your thirties and growing up. The idealistic twenties start fading away...

Barbara said...

Yes, there is. I took a stand for a friend that was not popular with the leader or most of the group. So I resigned. I still get upset about it and that nobody stood up for her. Or me when I took a stand. One in particular was quite rude about it. I choose NOT to deal with her at all. It is not worth the effort and drain on me mentally.

There are also a couple blogs I can't deal with so finally left them off my list. And don't respond when they comment.

Sarah Von said...

Excellent, excellent post. I've started walking away from negative blogs - no matter how funny (or right) they are. Why put that negativity out there? Just because it's couched in humor doesn't make it any less unkind.

I also just wanted to pop over and thank you for entering my Karma Cards giveaway on Juliana's blog. We've got a few sets left, you're still keen (cough, shameless self-promotion, cough) ;)

Death Wears Diamond Jewellery said...

awesome post.

ive had to get rid of so many "friends" over the years who used to just suck the energy out of me. such a horrible time. but it had to be done.

life is too short to waste emotional energy on useless, negative things

Scarlet-O said...

Oh! Thank you for this post, and the opportunity to vent. Ok.
1. It's my own fault of course, but I'm horrible with money and schoolwork, put it off til I'm just overwhelmed and terrified by it, and then takes SO much energy to deal with it.

2. Chatting online, with friends who never get anything done, are always complaining about things and never change them, and me sitting there trying to explain and help and give advice that will never ever go anywhere.

3. OBSESSING over this man. Just God. I'm a little better... I thought about nothing but him for like 6 months. Bad news.

YES. I will change these things...

Anonymous said...

Hi - I hopped over from B. Nagel's blog, after seeing Danny the Champion of the World on your profile. One of my favorites, but no one ever seems to have heard of it! I'm also a former Orange County girl, but don't hold it against me. Cheers!

Robin said...

Hey girl, I tagged you again on HERE'S TO YOU THURSDAY. I hope you like it:-)

Annah said...

Totally unrelated but God your cat is gorgeous!

Nishant said...

enjoy your newfound energy.
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Darcy said...

sadly, toxic friends :-(
when i moved i realized which friends of mine were energy draining and which provided energy (a mutual exchange is preferred)...
the move helped weave out some "friends" who pretty much sucked. now, as i make new friends, i'm older and wiser and on the lookout for more energy-plus friends!

Joker_SATX said...

So, I know you have not posted in a while.

I have tried to retain energy to go to all the blogs I normally visit.

But I wanted to expend this amount of energy today to wish you a Happy Birthday!

Do you have enough energy to accept it?

Maggie May said...

sometimes my relationship with my mother is that thing. other times, not.

Anonymous said...

my whole family.

I'm going to burn in hell I suppose, but I cant help it. They're a weight.

Robin said...

I hate to comment on your comment here because I know that gets confusing, but I wanted to make sure you saw it. Yes, the Buffy video was a bit disturbing to me too. Mostly because the vid maker twisted up the story. It implied that there was a "relationship" between Angel and Faith that wasn't really there. And it also implied that Buffy cheated on Angel with Spike. Not so. Spike didn't happen until Angel was LONG GONE. I wouldn't have gone that route AT ALL had I been the one doing the cutting and splicing! Espcially now that I understand what the song really means thanks to Chris!

BTW, glad you liked your Here's To You vid. I almost threw you a comment that the little girl was God, but then I thought you might already know. Glad you did. The Buffy video I dedicated to Purple Cow was better. If you need to cleanse your brain, go back and watch that one;-)

Di said...

This is great. You are great.

Also, glad to hear other people have therapists. I mean, I know they do, but I forget. Thanks for being brave.

Annah said...

You did the right thing, because you're 110% correct. All that stupid idiotic worthless scum want is attention. Most probably the attention he never received from his mother or the female population in general, and that's not worth it. I had a time in my life where I gave my all to a few girlfriends in dysfunctional relationships and in the end they took my advice and ran with it back to their boyfriends. So in order to preserve the friendships (and my sanity) I kindly affirmed that I would no longer be giving out any sort of relationship advice. I'm not a shrink (even if I do have a bachelor's in psych). I'm just a girl... and if I'm relationship and drama free, there's no reason I should carry other people's relationship woes. Amen! lol

Kim said...

Wow, Robin recommended that I come over and read this post. She's so darn intuitive! Great post...I definitely have some energy suckers in my life right now. I like the way you think. :)

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