I was talking to someone this week and she mentioned that I don’t talk a lot about how I feel, but instead I tell lots of stories. That really has been something I have been mulling over this week. Do I tell stories because I don’t want to engage with my feelings? The more I thought about this, the more I realized the opposite is true.
I love stories…some of my hardest periods in life were walked through by burying myself in the stories of others. I went through long Anne of Green Gables phase in my very difficult middle school years. As I was struggling, I found myself escaping to the world of Prince Edward Island. That habit of almost obsessively reading the same books, like Anne or Pride and Prejudice has continued into my adulthood. I also lose myself to certain television shows and will watch them over and over…my repeat list includes CSI, Gilmore Girls, The West Wing, and The Good Wife. I have watched them all multiple times, but they are like comfort food to me.
Over the past few years, though, I have found myself listening more to the stories of real people. When I started to sit across the table from people or dialogue one on one with people, I really began to understand the complexities of human emotion. Each story doesn’t have a singular emotion, but rather a complicated web of the emotions of the human experience. The people who I find myself drawn to are the ones who are willing to share their stories and talk honestly about how those stories make them feel.
Now, I find myself living a story I never imagined, but rather than hide from my emotions, I am trying go engage with my emotions in connections to various chapters of this story. I am not one who naturally talks about specific emotions in a general way, but rather I often use a particular story to place a feeling into context.
While the overarching feeling of this season is one of sadness, grief and loss, individual stories have played out differently. The baby situation created a feeling of absolute despair and panic. Watching my sons struggle often leads me to an angry place. Hearing that my ex has spoken lies about me makes me feel vengeful. This situation with my cat is just confusion and bewilderment. Reflecting on how far I have come just gives me a feeling of peace. But what are my day to day feelings at this point?
- I feel lonely
- I feel scared
- I am anxious a lot
- I feel a bone-weary fatigue
- I also feel proud
- I feel accomplished
- I feel hopeful
- And at times, I even find deep joy
I am learning a lot about myself during this season. It is often painful to live in the emotional rollercoaster that is my life right now, but I can see the walls that I have built around myself start to crumble and that is through living vulnerably and writing my own story.