Climb Aboard The Bandwagon!

BandwagonWhat is it about a bandwagon? People just can’t wait to jump on it. They may let one or two go by, pretend they don’t care about a bandwagon. But give it time. Eventually, you’ll see them going by, sitting there, pretty as you please, on some bandwagon or another.

I still know people who claim to be gluten-free. Are they gluten-intolerant? Probably not. Do they have celiac disease? Almost certainly not. Yet, they continue to avoid gluten. Because bandwagon.

And who doesn’t know someone who hasn’t recently (or at least somewhere in their past) dated, “I swear to God you guys, the worlds worst narcissist. I’m not even kidding.” Remember when the people we knew just dated assholes and bitches? Not anymore. Now everyone has a verifiable diagnosis. And the current favorite is raging narcissist.

But look, I’m no expert. I’m not saying the person you dated wasn’t a raging narcissist. I’m not saying other people didn’t date narcissists. I’m just saying they couldn’t all be raging narcissists. Some clearly had to be just your run-of-the-mill dicks and skanks. But, again, bandwagon.

Lately, I’ve been seeing another bandwagon forming, and it’s shaping up to be the Empath. And let me jump right out there again and state my lack of qualifications: I’m no expert. So I can’t say that you, personally, are not an Empath. I can’t say that Empaths don’t exist. I’m just saying that not everyone can be an Empath. But, bandwagon.

For those who aren’t hep to the jive, here’s a definition of Empaths that I stole off the internet:

Empaths are highly sensitive individuals, who have a keen ability to sense what people around them are thinking and feeling. Psychologists may use the term empath to describe a person that experiences a great deal of empathy, often to the point of taking on the pain of others at their own expense. However, the term empath can also be used as a spiritual term, describing an individual with special, psychic abilities to sense the emotions and energies of others.

Now, there are certain things that I believe in. I believe in love. Those who know me know that if I love you I do so with wild abandon. Which is rather uneventful coming from me as my personality tends to be of the turnt-down variety. My “Yay! I won the slot machine jackpot” face and my Resting Bitch Face face are essentially the same. But in my own, special non-demonstrative way, I’m all about the love.

I believe in living in the present. I believe in treating others as we wish to be treated. I believe in random acts of kindness. I believe in being the best you you can be. Essentially, for a person who suffers from the bipolars and is subject to bouts of depression, I believe in a lot of positive, hippie-dippy shit.

What I don’t believe in is magic. Or ghosts, or clairvoyance, or psychics, or spirits or anything based in the paranormal. But I’m not here to judge or cast aspersions on those who do. For all I know, I could be haunting my house one day and thinking, “Damn! They were right all along!”

But for now, my beliefs as they apply to existence are more sciencey than spiritualish. I’m of the opinion that my thoughts and feelings and emotions are the result of neurons firing in my brain and, short of some new USB adapter I haven’t heard of yet, you can’t tap into mine and I can’t tap into yours. And, when we die, our brain dies right along with us, so those neurons stop shooting and there are no more thoughts, feelings or emotions. So talking to those who have passed is patently impossible.

Do I believe that there are people who are better tuned in to other people’s feelings and emotions? Sure. I think there are most certainly people with more empathy. Just as there are those who are so stone-cold they wouldn’t recognize an emotion if it ran up and kissed them on the mouth.

But I think there’s a wide gap between being “a person that experiences a great deal of empathy” and “an individual with special, psychic abilities to sense the emotions and energies of others.” And what fills that wide gap? Well, if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say mostly nonsense and drama. And probably a few crystals.

If I think about the most dramatic people I’ve known, most of the high-level theatrics centered around feelings. It wasn’t just the events that occurred in their lives (although the event levels did tend to be higher than those experienced by you and me), it was the emotions they felt in reaction to said events. Regular people couldn’t possibly understand what they were feeeeeling.

If I had a flat tire, their’s was flatter; if I overdrew my checking account, they were more overdrawn; if I gained three pounds; they gained five. It’s not a competition, it’s a need to be unrelatable — they are so deep, so sensitive and so full of feelings that no one else can possibly understand what they go through.

So now you toss something out there that not only validates their own hyper-sensitivity, but allows them to tap into the feelings and pain of others, and even psychically connect to the emotions of others and — BAM! — instant Empath! I mean, what could possibly be more appealing to those whose favorite phrase is, “Oh, you couldn’t possibly understand …”? Not only do they get to wallow in their own incomprehensible pain, they now get to roll around and get all sloppy in the pain of other people.

Again, not saying Empaths don’t exist. But,I am saying that psychics don’t exist (sorry Theresa Caputo). So there may be people who are more sensitive than others, but none of them are reaching into the subconscious of the people around them. You may disagree. And that’s fine. I welcome a healthy debate!

In fact, if you do hold an opposing view, please answer this for me: why is it that people of the Empathic persuasion only seem to be able to tap into the blues? Why are they always stuck feeling the pain and the anguish of other people? If I were an Empath, I would be the giddiest person alive! I’d be drilling down into the best memories, the funniest experiences, the biggest laughs — I would totally use my “special, psychic abilities” to cure my depression.

So, as long as it’s restricted to just the sad stuff, I won’t be jumping on the Empath bandwagon. I can spend two weeks skulking around in my pajamas just fine all by myself, thank you very much. But that doesn’t mean I’m immune to the lure of the bandwagon. Give me one that appeals to my love of gadgetry, technology and all things hysterical and ironic, and I’ll be ordering one up like it’s an Uber and I’m late for the party!

2 Comments

  1. I frankly don’t get the Empath thing. I think there are people who are able to experience other’s feelings, but have a very low distress tolerance, so they can’t really stand the normal ups and downs of life.

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    1. True. You’d think when they were handing out the Empath genes, they’d give them to people with thicker skins. It doesn’t seem fair to dole them out to people who are so delicate in the first place.

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