Sep
2006

numb

Tonight in my graduate course with Carolyn Ellis, Communicating Illness, Grief, and Loss, we went over the topics of Illness Narratives, Life Writing, and Wounded Storytellers. Dr. Ellis told us how she made her move from sociology to communication and we all discussed where we feel we fall on the critical, interpretive, naturalist continuum. We also discussed how storytelling is vital to healing, the types of personal writing out there and how this type of writing is a response to the representational crisis of the mid-1980s [a time when people began questioning social scientists, e.g., “What right do you have to tell someone’s story? How do you capture reality and evaluate and interpret research in an ethical way?]

The reason I am blogging about tonight’s class though is because it is 9/11 and so much has changed in how we think about crisis and fear since then. Another exercise we had due in class was related to Expressing Emotions of Loss: Writing, Music, and Healing. We were to bring in a song on CD and its lyrics–as long as it dealt with a wounded body. I brought in “Numb” by the Pet Shop Boys. Their website is weird so I can’t link to the lyrics directly, but I will paste them in at the end of this post.

Anyway, once we listened to the song, I was asked if this is how I felt during/since Katrina and my answer was a definite “no.” Since the song is about hiding from emotion and not wanting to deal with pain or to even think about what’s going on in the world, I think it is more suited to an individual crisis rather than a national one like Katrina or 9/11. Sure, I know we as a nation were taken aback by both of those events as well as angered by the fact that so many innocent died, but in both cases of national tragedy I think we immediately wanted answers and we weren’t going to shy away until we got/get answers. It’s late and that’s my take on it as of now. I hope I’m not sounding defensive–I just found it to be an interesting question because as much as I may have tried to remain in denial about the loss of my house and that place I call home, I’ve never wanted to feel numb or shut out sources of information. All I have wanted to do is think about it and what I can do to help, nothing else. With that said, I’ve got to go to bed and read before teaching tomorrow morning.

Don’t wanna hear the news
What’s going on
What’s coming through
I don’t wanna know
don’t wanna know
Just wanna hide away
make my my escape
I want the world
to leave me alone
Feels like I feel too much
I’ve seen too much
For a little while
I want to forget

I wanna be numb
I don’t wanna feel this pain no more
Wanna lose touch
I just wanna go and lock the door
I don’t wanna think
I don’t wanna feel nothing
I wanna be numb
I just wanna be
wanna be numb

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