To be anxious is to be scattered, atomized, easily distracted. I go through my day with a brain like a pinwheel, frantically spinning to no purpose, spreading my energies thin. I feel anxious, so I distract myself, not realizing that I’m anxious because I distract myself. As I become less mindful, the overlooked anxiety tightens itself, takes residence.
To be anxious is to be controlled by your thoughts, by the myriad distractions that present themselves uninvited to your mind. To be focused is to control them. To be focused is to contend with your anxiety and to win. Focus involves slowing the pinwheel, choosing one or two things, and leaving the rest alone. Focus calls for trust — trust that the world will not dissolve the moment I turn my attention from it. Focus is an exercise of the mind and I really need to exercise.
[There are obviously SPOILERS all over the place here]
“All plots move Deathward.” –Don DeLillo
Minus the Patricide in the Lavatory, the finale of season four, The Children,functioned as far less of a full-blown finale than a set-up for the next season. Consequently it was a tad underwhelming and disorganized, but not uninteresting.
In the episode Mockingbird, Arya and The Hound happen upon a dying peasant with a turn for philosophy. It was a little heavy-handed, but also a crystallizing moment for those of us who haven’t read the books, when he pronounced, “There is no balanceanymore.”
That’s how I felt as I watched everyone’s lives spin out and reshape in this episode. Things fall apart: we see characters fall apart internally by destroying each other, but they also literally drift apart geographically. The delicate balance we were accustomed to for four seasons, even if we hated it, is gone — namely, the Lannisters and King’s Landing the clear center of power, north people in the north, south people in the south, etc. None of that can be taken for granted now. There is no balance anymore.
The Watchers on the Wall await the onslaught of Mance Rayder’s army while we, the watchers of the show, await the onslaught of another emotional flaying by Martin, Benioff, Weiss, and Co.
Christopher Orr, over at The Atlantic said after last week’s episode (“The Mountain and the Viper”):
It won’t be long before some psychologist achieves fame by identifying the Five Stages of Game of Thrones Grief: fear, relief, fear (again), depression, acceptance/re-subscription to HBO.
Couldn’t have summed it up better myself, Orr!
I admit in the first half of the episode I had trouble engaging; I was doing a little humming of Why can’t we all just get along? Please, somebody explain to me again why we’re all trying to kill each other when A HOARD OF FROZEN VOLDEMORT SNOW ZOMBIES IS COMING TO DESTROY ALL THE PEOPLE EVERYWHERE. Continue reading →
Thanks to HBO and their nauseating and probably diagnosable sadism, Game of Thrones and I are on a break. In this post, I will explore the emotional underpinnings of why — after having finally achieved, with great enthusiasm and commitment and having sustained extensive injury to my mental and emotional health, my goal of being caught up with the world on GoT — why after all this I am swearing off what I have recently begun terming “that godawful show.”
I call this my “Episode 8: The Mountain and the Viper is the Worst Experience on Television” manifesto.
Subtitled: Everyone’s a Beetle-Crushing Moron and I Hate Everything.
[VERY IMPORTANT CAVEAT THAT MAKES ME SOUND LIKE A FLAKE BUT WHATEVER: This all goes away if someone who has read the books can convince me to stick with the stories.]
How could it hurt to get a little help when I’ve had a two-week spat of laziness and no ideas to write down (because, you understand, of laziness)? Can’t hurt. It couldn’t possibly add to the cynical apathetic void that is currently my mind. What’s wrong with a little inspiration? A little fabricated push? So I clicked the link and nothing happened.
Literally it just took me to this blank WordPress page that I always open.
I mean, I’m sure it was just a glitch in WordPress, but then there’s no such thing as coincidence, so I’m also sure the universe is basically yelling at me “GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, VANBIBER. INSPIRATION DOESN’T GROW ON TREES.” Or as a wizened Depression-era sage might say: Work hard and don’t wait for inspiration. Also known as: good advice.
Inspiration accomplished. I guess now I’ll just go do another Buzzfeed Quiz.