One of my favorite studies, which admittedly I never could actually find and only heard paraphrased by a doctor I trust, is about these mice. I like it because it is so often applicable to situations I am in where sometimes I'm the mouse and sometimes I'm the human experimenter, but it helps to guide my actions, whichever side I'm on.
My recollection of the study is that they had these mice in cages with two different levers. One lever, when hit, sometimes gave them a treat and sometimes hit them on the head, in some random fashion. The other lever, when pushed, always caused them to get hit on the head. What seems counterintuitive about this is that the mice more frequently pushed the lever that always got them hit on the head rather than the one that sometimes hurt them and sometimes rewarded them.
The way I — I'm sure highly unscientifically because I know very little about the brains of rodents and how similarly they function to ours — use it as an analogy for human relationships is this: worse than being constantly hurt by someone is being in a state of limbo where you never know if you're going to be hurt or praised and nothing you do affects the outcome one way or the other. Being in that state of limbo is the worst. I've used that concept to extricate myself from relationships where I was the mouse in the scenario and also recall it to remind myself to do my best to hit any mice in my life over the head with whatever negative feedback or news I have to deliver as soon as possible, rather than leaving them in that limbo state any longer than necessary.
HOWEVER, we are all mice in limbo right now in terms of the future of xoJane (though, since the article linked there was written, Time Inc decided against folding xoJane and xoVain into InStyle and is now planning to keep the sites alive, but with no new content for the foreseeable future BUT comments will be alive so this part of the convo can likely go on forever). You probably know me well enough to know that of course I am scheming to keep this community intact. And I'm limited in what I can say beyond that.
So how are we all going to cope with this limbo moment in time? Weed, perhaps? Do you do that? I'd also love to hear about your experiences with transitions and/or endings in your work and lives and how you've dealt.
I'd love to be able to tell you more. Some of it I can't tell you because of legal reasons and some of it I can't tell you because I simply don't know the answers yet. Perhaps we can focus for a little while on things we can answer, like these questions:
Do you have any exercise equipment in your home?
What's something from your childhood that you'll always keep?
What's the best quote you've heard recently?
If you could give yourself a new first name that's more "you" than your current one, what would it be?
Who would play Rod Serling in a biopic about him? (This question came from Marci, as I barely know who that is — she's been trying to cast this role in her mind for years.)
I can tell you that this is not the last Open Thread because that will likely happen next weekend and may be an infinite one where the comments can go on and on and on indefinitely or until we are all moved into our nice new home.
But I encourage you to practice infinite commenting this week in preparation for next.
P.S. I may not be able to join you in the comments immediately because when this goes live, I will be on a plane back to NYC after a week in Malibu with Courteney and Coco😍😍😍😍😍 (every time I type her name, that's how it comes out because she programmed it into my phone that way years ago), during which all four of us got a virus and stayed inside sneezing and coughing on each other for the week, but it was still fun.