There are times I wish I could just close my eyes. Sleep. Not see anything, not hear anything, not feel anything. Turn everything the fuck off. Dull my senses and dim my thoughts. Register nothing, think about nothing, have complete silence around me and in my mind. Welcome oblivion and be in bliss lost in it. There are times I wish things would just slip past my attention so that I don’t have to have them stored in the depths of my mind, just so they can be brought forward when everything seems to slow down for the day. A literal information overload with the constant threat of a burn out lurking.
If one were to compare the mind and all its workings with that of a computer, then imagine a standard laptop, boosted and amped up, with 300 tabs open all the time. At some point that damn machine is going to crash. It’s going to break down and stop working. There are days I fear, at some point, precisely that will happen; my RAM will fill, burn out, and the whole system will end up useless. I swear that somewhere down the line I’ll get Alzheimer’s from overuse and misuse of my mind’s capacity for perception and memory.
I don’t know if it’s a curse of a blessing to notice –and remember– everything; sometimes it’s the one, I guess, sometimes it’s the other. A blessing and a curse to be so perceptive, to notice even the tiniest details, register the slightest things; things that others wouldn’t be able to realize even if you point them out to them. Things that are perfect, things that are off. The most useless pieces of information, names, dates, images, sounds and smells, all tied together and stored in some corner. If most knew the extent of my perceptiveness they would probably think I’ve got some kind of obsessive issue with knowing everything.
That’s not it, of course. There are times I wish I didn’t see everything. Ignorance is bliss. It really is. What you don’t know can’t hurt you. You have an alibi for your absentmindedness and you aren’t, in the least bit, accountable for what you don’t know. You can truly be happy, carefree, and not know that the wisest thing to do is carry an umbrella even when there’s no cloud in sight. Waiting for the other shoe to drop takes all the magic out of eveything beautiful. When you notice all the tiny details, especially about people, it’s not easy to feign unawareness. You’ve seen something relevant, you know that sooner or later it will probably come to find you as well, you expect it instead of living in the moment. You’re good at connecting typical behaviors, methods and how things will most likely progress. Dejà vu is a regular thing; you’ve seen it all, you’ve heard it all, nothing is original anymore. It’s your typical self-fulfilling prophecy at its greatest.
The subconscious, they say, registers everything the five senses are capable of detecting. Then it’s just a matter of the mind filtering what is necessary information and what’s junk. See now, here’s the problem. There’s always been a glitch in my junk folder; some kind of malfunction during manufacturing that never got corrected. So the task of extracting the useful from the meaningless fell solely on me and not an automated system. How do you know what you need to notice and remember and what’s best forgotten, no real attention paid to it because it will never be essential?
Selective ignorance. That’s what I call it. It makes it sound more official, more like there’s a method to my madness, a thought process behind it all. What it really is, is a conscious choice to be blind to whatever I don’t want to see. Whatever I don’t want to hear and whatever I don’t want to feel. A switch I flip when needed. Because it’s enough to make a person crazy and miserable. Life is all about choices and this too is a choice. Let the details and overthinking drive you nuts or take whatever you don’t like and don’t want to deal with and store it in some dusty dark corner of your mind. Hightened perceptiveness or happiness? Both, I say. Because when it comes to certain things, or rather, certain people, there are things I choose not to register. Especially when it comes to people I care deeply for.
They can do no wrong and there’s always a valid excuse ready and waiting to be dished out for what they do; or don’t do. I guess that’s what they mean when they say unconditional love, right? Turning a blind eye to their faults and forgiving them for things even when they don’t ask you to. Because when you see everything, it’s like you’re making a bet with yourself, this time hoping that you might lose the damn wager, that you’re wrong and making a mistake or that you might be an exception to the rule you’ve already seen in play. It’s hope that makes love persist when there’s nothing else left; hope that this time things will be different.
I lay down and close my eyes. Cover my ears. Try to deprive myself of whatever senses I can. Thought, though, is not a sense. And with the others incompacitated, it goes into overdrive. You can never really be rid of anything. Selective ignorance until I lay my head down on my pillow. Then I see the things I chose not to notice, I hear the things I decided weren’t worth listening to, I read between the lines of whatever was written in that day’s journal entry. I wonder: is it more painful to see it coming and not be able to do anything to stop it, or to be blindsided and knocked off your feet with what you didn’t realize? I do sleep eventually. I manage to turn it all down and then off.
In the morning, I’ll pretend I didn’t quite perceive anything, keep quiet, fake unawareness and play blind and deaf to everything I don’t want to register. I’ll flip that damn switch and make the same mistake again; I’ll keep on going, in hope that maybe tomorrow it’ll be different. I’ll hear what I want to hear, I’ll feel only what I want to feel.
I’ll see what I want to see — even if I notice everything.