Discarded Time

Feeling Lost
Everyone knows the feeling but as adults, we have learned to hide our emotional scars, leaving jagged timelines in our lives, discarding moments we choose not to confront, leaving relationships that we’ve allowed to be damaged. The writers of ABC’s hit series, Lost, recognized the universality of this feeling as they layered metaphor upon metaphor, week after week. The series captured viewers’ shared emotions, defying the possibility of anyone being able to verbalize the show’s meaning. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to deconstruct a feeling. Can anyone really find words to describe fear, longing, regret, or remorse?

Making Connections
Dr. Katherine Stein, a character in The Parallax, recognizes this fact when she asks everyone in her workshop to think with the story, instead of about it. The real question, when examining our stories is not, “What’s this story about?” The real question is more difficult to put into words and can only be answered with an affective analysis, connecting feelings of chaos, confusion, and fear that characterize our lives as we search for restitution and forgiveness.

Yearning Forgiveness
Singer Bryan Adams touches on this need in his hit song, Please Forgive Me. We spend our lives trying to get things right, but often, as a result of our imperfections, we fail. We make mistakes. We hurt and we are hurt. We yearn for restitution, wanting to reconnect but fear failure. We are left with inaction and ineffectiveness. We live in a world that has taught us to discard those things that are broken. Sadly we have forgotten how to fix things. But it’s possible to reclaim those discarded moments.  Real forgiveness requires sincere reflection which can be achieved through self-awareness, self-direction, and self-control. Take your life back. Determine what’s important to you and make choices based on those values—you’ll be glad you did.



19 thoughts on “Discarded Time

  1. I agree with the statement in this post that real forgiveness requires sincere reflection. When we get hurt or hurt others, it is often easiest to push our emotions away and not deal with them. However, whether we realize is it or not, the issues we ignore will still affect us. Like in the Parallax, when Father Ryan decided to join in the writing exercise, he began to deal with his emotions associated with his relationship with his sister he had long pushed away. Scars and emotions left undealt with in relationships can continue to affect other relationships in all aspects of our lives. True reflection of these emotions can lead to real forgiveness, which can allow us to live in freedom individually and in other relationships.

  2. I completely agree with the fact that by society we have been taught to throw out the broken things. We are encouraged to move on rather than reflect on the brokeness and learn from it. Without reflecting on the broken parts of life true forgiveness will never be found. I have learned from personal experience that while reflecting on the broken parts of life, you learn a lot about yourself. Forgivness is not necessarily for the person you are forgiving but instead it is about changing yourself. Forgiving allows you to move on with a greater understanding of yourself.

  3. What was the Parallax about? I did not realize I had been pondering that question until I read the section on “making connections.” I now realize that the question to ask cannot really be put into words. It is more about reflecting on one’s own life. The stories that were shared by the characters in the workshop made me think about my own life story. It made me want to sit down and write freely and see what came out. It made me want to seek forgiveness through myself, rather than others. That is what real forgiveness is.

  4. Making connections. The first approach, to ask, “What is this story all about”? is much the same of putting the cart before the horse, or theory before facts. To effectively analyze the situation, it’s important to think about all the emotions that were felt at the time, and what objectively happened in the situation.
    In the Parallax, it is only until Frank and Katharine put out their feelings to each other and discussing what happened during those hiking trips that went so badly, that they were able to put the story together. There were many missing pieces between them, such as Frank’s involvement with Jenny, and Katharine’s COPD that was actually there for much longer than Frank thought. Once the two started to pool all of their emotions and stories that they understood each other’s motivation and figure out what went so wrong, and forgive themselves as well as each other.

  5. Making connections is hard for many people. People today are worried about what is going on in their own life, from their own prospective to really see things from another’s point of view. If people take a moment and look at the same situation from someone else’s shoes then they could possibly make a connection; whether it is forgiveness, fear, or some other emotion. The Parallax makes the point it is not “What is this story all about?” it’s harder to define. But like the characters that sat down and wrote whatever came to mind, most looked at situations from another point of view. In doing so they all learned something, a lesson of sorts. They all made a connection to the story.

  6. The Parallax has made me reconsider my methods of coping with certain situations. It is easy to ignore our feelings and to push them down, but The Parallax has shown me the importance evaluating my feelings and the feelings of others. By evaluating our own feelings and that of others we can have a greater understanding and peace.

  7. After reading the Parallax for a second time, the idea of making connections and “what is this story all about” still had me in deep thought throughout the book. The story, just like the writers at the workshop, makes you reflect on things that may have been forgotten. We can also learn about ourselves, through the stories of others. Finding forgiveness can be a long and difficult process, but writing and reflecting can start the journey. Pooling lessons and ideas from others, allows one to become stronger in self-reflection and be able to find true meaning in life and forgiveness.

  8. I completely agree with the author. Individuals will experience a period of feeling lost, which can lead to decrease in daily activity, and have an emotional strain on individuals’ mindsets. The Parallax focuses on analyzing an individual’s situation, and aiding with the process to resolve the problem. Society has trained people to simply hide their emotions by either being jovial or emotionless about certain predicaments. People may pretend that their lives are perfect; however, that is far from the truth as they are broken in some sort or another. The key is to forgive and love oneself in order to be encouraged to live happily. Personally, that is what I live by, and I have learned over the years to forgive myself for my own mistakes. If not, I would not be able to act upon my daily activities, and it would affect my mindset socially and mentally.

  9. I just finished reading the Parallax. I liked the first part of the story. It seemed as though the writer was participating in the writing exercise explained towards the end.
    I thought it was very interesting, and it made me think about the scene from “The 7-Habits of Highly Effective People” where a guy is with his kids, who are running around being unruly, people are upset with him, and then it’s revealed that his wife just died hours ago.
    It was a bit jarring when the story changed gears, but it was interesting making the connections among the central family figures. Some of the elements at the end seemed fictional, but the point that I took away from “The Parallax” was two fold. One, take a moment to examine yourself and your motivations. Be honest, and also examine the motivations of others from their perspective. In short, put yourself in someone else’s shoes/situation, and fiction is a great way to do that. Two, when we’re unable to deal with our problems dead on, on a conscious level, fictional writing can expose us to the depths of the sea of emotion we might be dealing with in the moment or even possibly deeply rooted in the past.

  10. The parallax has made me rethink my approach to many of the situations that I have encountered in my life. We all make mistakes and have regrets that we have made over the years, but its what we make of these situations is what really matters. When sympathizing with peers many of them will say, “you live, you learn.” While this is true, one must reflect on these experiences and better oneself to not make the same mistakes in the future. Burying these emotions is an easy fix, but it does nothing more than cover up the issue. It is not until you really reflect and think about the events that occurred that you discover more about your true self. It is during situations of confusion that many of these decisions are made. There seems to never be a clear cut, absolute right, but a decision has to be made. I personally can say that I have made decisions that have resulted in regret and I have sought for forgiveness, but that forgiveness was never achieved. I cannot take back the things that I have done or the words that I have said, but I can reflect back on these experiences and prepare for the future. It would be naive to say that these experiences did not shape me into the person that I am today. It is important to reflect back on these situations and not just cover them up, but to delve deeper into why they were made. I have always been one to face my regrets and shortfalls and not to just cover them up, but the parallax has definitely helped me to reshape the way that I approach these situations and reflect on them in the future.

  11. An important theme in this book is the passage of time. Through time we are able to revisit memories. In the Parallax, the catalyst for the retrieval of all the memories is the events of 9/11. This reminded me of the famous passage from Marcel’s Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. In this book, involuntary memory from the eating of a Madelaine causes the narrator to remember his past memories. Memories are an important part of who we are and help dictate our decisions. A lot of our memories we are not able to recall instantaneously. However, with the right trigger, some of our hidden memories may come flowing back immediately.
    Richard Linklater, the director of Boyhood, often uses the passage of time as a main character of his films. In his films he emphasizes that it is often the more mundane things that become the most treasured memories we hold onto dearly. This also means that some of the mundane things that you may be doing now could become a treasured memory in someone else’s mind.
    Lastly, it is important to remember that not all problems can be rationalized by oneself. It is hard to rummage and deal with one’s problems with them still in our mind as they seem hazy and abstract. Often, it is very convenient to be able to write our problems down to identify, organize, and solve them one on one.

  12. Rim Hadgu
    Discarded time:

    I can relate to this post because I am someone who invests a lot of time and energy into everything that I choose to get involved in. Whether it be relationships, friendships, or projects, when they do not work out, it is very easy to feel as though you wasted have your time. However, I have grown to appreciate each experience as a learning opportunity and to analyze the pros and cons in each situation. I always find that each experience is an integral part of learning and growing as an individual and helps shape one’s future.

  13. Discarded Time:

    I felt completely floored whenever I read this excerpt from the blog post: “we have learned to hide our emotional scars, leaving jagged timelines in our lives, discarding moments we choose not to confront…” In reading this sentence, I not only came to fully agree with the author, but I made a connection to it within my own life. As a young child, I dealt with something that no little girl should ever have to face: the unexpected death of my father. Looking back now, I thought that I was just coping well with his passing by having a very short grief period. However, it wasn’t until I read this sentence that my reflection changed (call it a “change in perspective”) and I began to think how I voluntarily chose to discard the moments of his death and the months after. I’m the eldest child in my family, and I knew that I had to be there for my family, especially my mother and younger sister. I realized now, looking back, that I do have a “jagged timeline” from this period in my life, and rather than keeping it as it is, I want to start finding my own connections – my own Parallax.

  14. When I read the book I found myself reading very quickly because I am interested in the mind and its operation, particularly depression. There is a theory in depression that is more uncharacteristic than most, dealing with abstract values rather than biological mechanisms. The theory states that depression is an adaptive feature of human nature. The mind (and I use mind in reference to human thought and emotion, not specifically the brain as an organ) is distressed by something. That something, usually an event or experience that causes pain, realized or unrealized, manifests as the symptoms characteristically seen in depression: lack of focus, feelings of guilt, hopelessness, lower self-esteem, etc. These symptoms arise because the mind is attempting to become at peace with “the something” so it may learn to handle similar encounters in the future. Its a colorful distortion of depression that ignores the biological happenings within the human brain. The Parallax, through is various examples, ironically parallels this theory of depression, but goes a step further in that it also displays the what happens next; improvement of morale and self-effectiveness. We never know how the mind will package a certain “painful” experience or how it physically manifest. Depression is dynamic and situational but littered with patterns within those manifestations. Changing of perspective is also dynamic and situational and can allow one to consciously identify the patterns within the symptoms, which is why I believe therapeutic writing in such a way is so effective.

  15. Discarded Time
    Every decision we make in life and every situation we are put in impacts our future. These choices or events that take place have a rippling effect on the rest of our life, some are good and some not so good. Some you may try to forget about and bury away like it never happened, yet there are constant reminders down the road saying you did this. And no matter what that thing you did or situation that happened, it will always be in the back of your mind. “We have learned to hide our emotional scars, leaving jagged timelines in our lives, discarding moments we choose not to confront.” I agree with the author. This is very true. I also agree that we strive to get things right. No, one wants to feel they failed, but everyone is imperfect. Life’s greatest lessons come from failure. Get back up and try again do not just throw away that relationship, or that job, or those friends just because you messed up or it’s not going the way you want it to, learn to fix what is broken. In life everyone will hurt and be hurt by something or someone. To move on “real forgiveness” is needed. Forgiveness will not just help the wrong doer, but also the person who has been wronged. When they can truly forgive they can move on with their life and let go of the past and bitterness that has been holding them down. Both can take back their lives and feel that relief of knowing that they forgave or were forgiven and what was done was not right, but they were forgiven and given a second chance to learn from the mistakes and hopefully never make that mistake again.

  16. Discarded Time
    After reading the parallax, I have realized how important it is to make the best of the situations I end up in. We tend to focus on trying to figure out what mistakes to end where we are, but instead we should focusing on how to still achieve whatever the goal from the position we end up in. It is also important that we acknowledge our feelings. If you ignore your feelings, you will never truly know how the situation affected you and why it is important that you do what you can to not end up there again. Memories are an important part to the decision making process, so when you have time to reflect and assess how you acted and how you felt, when you are put in a similar situation again you will more than likely react differently. I can say for myself that I am always reflecting on past actions and words and thinking about what was the outcome from these. Without my reflections, I would be stagnant in life because I don’t take the time to reflect about what I could’ve done differently or what the outcome would have been if I had even done one little thing differently.

  17. After reading The Parallax, I was able to make the connection of how important it is to reflect. I can connect with many aspects of this post. As a young adult, I am always on the go with hardly any free time. I can get caught up on the busy life, that I do not take time to reflect. Reflection on the mistakes, errors, and the areas of improvement I need to make. The Parallax makes the point of how important it is to take the time to reflect, this allows people to grow and to improve their self and to forgive easier. I personally need to work on trying to reflect on the good that comes out of the mistakes I make, how it will make me grow. I need to try to decrease the amount of time I reflect on the negativity.

  18. As The Parallax eloquently emphasizes, forgiveness requires sincere reflection. We are all human and are bound to make mistakes. As a perfectionist, I have the tendency to strive for flawlessness and place very high standards for myself, but I don’t always succeed and makes mistakes. The Parallax has taught me to forgive myself and be more understanding that I will make mistakes and should take each experience as a learning opportunity in order to grow as an individual.

  19. It is true that everybody wants to live a perfect life without making any mistakes; however, that’s not possible. Instead of trying to make things right, we should focus on how to fix things by learning from our failures. In fact, avoiding the undesirable situations won’t change anything or prevent them from occurring again. As mentioned, without reflecting on life, self-forgiveness will never be possible. Most importantly, true reflection does not necessary mean to blame ourselves but rather to change ourselves by questioning whether or not we did our best and what went wrong.

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