Stuff I Think About: Emotions Edition
I have spent my entire adult life in the world of emotions. I forget that not everyone has that particular life experience, and they may not always have the same language that I have learned simply by being steeped in feels all day. On the other hand, I remain confused because isn’t everyone steeped in feels all day? They come; they go; they do their emotional thing. For many years, I believed I was too emotional and too sensitive because I had reactions (that I then buried as quickly as possible to deal with in private where no one could see me being less than all together). Now I know that, most likely, all the people around me are also having feelings all the time. I don’t understand why we all try so hard to pretend we’re not.
Like…? If we’re all lonely, why not all just say, “Hey, I’m lonely?” If we’re all grieving and scared and ashamed, why are we all afraid to talk about it? I find the whole idea very sad. I know that many of us are hiding our emotions; some hide them in work, others in alcohol, some in chronic anger, and in all the many other ways of numbing out. We can’t let people really see those parts of us that make us ashamed.
That is the crux of it, right? If someone sees us having any of these feelings, they will know that about us and then something bad will happen. And, yes, bad things have happened to me when I finally got up the courage to say what I feel. I’ve lost relationships and struggled in jobs at times. I’ve had people say hurtful things to me. All that stuff sucked. The thing is—I think bad things would still happen to me if I were a kindness robot who never had a feeling. I am only now learning that you cannot prevent bad things from happening. I always thought that if you worked hard enough and were somehow good enough you could manage how people see you. I was really wrong. People make up their own minds about you, no matter what you do.
It’s like we all believe we are the only ones barely holding our lives together through hiding, hustling, and being endless achievers (or such chronic failures that no one expects anything from us anymore). I want to say that you are not alone in this. None of us are alone. We may have to do the hard work by ourselves, but you are not the only one who is doing it. All of us have emotions. You guys, six friends told me they were lonely last month, no exaggeration. It’s not just you. I was relieved to hear it wasn’t just me.
If you’re suffering, I want you to know that there is at least one person in the world who would survive hearing about it. Not only that, but if we are friends, our relationship will survive me hearing about it. You are not weird, unusual, or a burden. I am certain that if there is no one in your life like this, there can be. You are normal, you are human, and you are worthy of love and belonging. Right now. As is. No robotics or hustling necessary.