I had a horrifically violent nightmare last night... and sadly that wasn't the first. I've been having more and more nightmares like this lately. Upon awaking it was obvious to me how clearly influenced by the book I am reading it had been... and that got me thinking. Up until this last week I hadn't had the time to watch all the crazy Law & Order type dramas that I used to watch and guess what? I wasn't having any nightmares either. Really. Until I started reading this book and watching Medium last week I have barely had a nightmare since Baby was born... and the ones I have had have been straight up "I'm naked on a cruise ship" type anxiety dreams. I hadn't put two and two together until this week.
As of today I've decided to take more responsibility for what I read and watch and judge it more on it's content than it's entertainment value. Scary movies and shows can be exhilarating, much like a roller coaster, but unlike a thrill ride when the show is over the horrific images stay with us and play into our worst fears. I know for a fact I'm not the only one who needs to bolt up the stairs or turn on the lights after watching one... that kind of scary content makes a lot of us just a little paranoid.
Well all this trauma made me realize that I need to be more thoughtful of the energy I bring around myself. Book about violent crazies? Not a great choice... is there not another book that might allow me to learn about the theology behind the murders without having to describe them? Yes there is. I was watching an Oprah last night that wasn't completely related, but yet I could relate to, which focused on the energy you are putting into the world and what you will receive in return. I have witnessed this a thousand times and know that there is truth in that. I think my blogging experience in and of itself is proof enough.
I had gone through a similar awakening about magazines, specifically women's & men's magazines featuring beautiful models and actresses on the covers, about ten years ago. It was at that time that I banned them from my house. And when I met Mr F and we decided to get married I told him that under no uncertain terms were these types of magazines to be in our house. They not only made me feel badly about myself but I wasn't going to take any part in making the girls that visited (and later lived in) our home feel badly about themselves either.
And, people, you know I don't mess around. With the exception of a Martha Stewart or Oprah (featuring themselves) we don't have these things in our house. No Victoria's Secret Catalogue, no Instyle, no Vogue, no Shape, no Self, no GQ... you get the picture. Because not a single one of those magazines is selling something I really want to buy or even something I want my daughter's to know exists. I don't want to read an article about how to improve my life whether it by a diet & fitness magazine or a home & fashion magazine when that title still feels they need to sell themselves through the image of a "flawless" young woman. I am much happier and more self confident since removing those images from my plain sight.
Obviously I can't protect my kids forever but I can actively decide to do my best to counteract those messages. I can do what I can to shelter them from the notion that a body and face they will never have is the *real* definition of beauty. If I can give them one extra day of not feeling that they are flawed or "less than" then I have done my job.
And now that I'm more aware of the other negative messages and images I am surrounding myself with... the ones that say we are not safe, or secure, or that we should be afraid... I'm removing those too. I don't need that anymore than I need to feel fat and ugly. The truth is that what you see and read and listen to makes up your daily life. It is the background noise for what you start to believe about yourself and your surroundings and before you know it you are living your life reacting to these external ideas instead of living from your own internal ones.
Good, bad, or indifferent everything you read or watch impacts you. We all have the power to take control over these images and be more thoughtful consumers. Make sure you are buying everything they are really selling.