Reflection essay

I don’t think emotions are bad. Maybe it’s just a part of growing up, becoming more mature, more comfortable with myself. I admit I wasn’t taught how to be emotive in a healthy way. My parents are…more of the somber type, only expressing emotions when they reach their peak. Even my mom, who taught me to love words and analysis, is bad with her emotions. I guess I model them. But I’m trying, trying to learn to express emotions I think are valid, just as valid as my thoughts and words and analyses. Trying to break down the barrier between head and heart. Trying to understand that they’re not separate parts. This is a fallacy we have created out of fear, out of weakness. Out of desperation to be more than…

Well what’s so wrong with what we are?

My brother found this picture, in his epic struggle to follow his heart. I don’t know what happens when you reach that certain age and suddenly you are so sure about everything and you can’t wait any longer, but it does. It clicks. He’s struggling to pace himself even though he knows what he wants. Why should he feel guilty when he knows what he wants? We spend so much of life not knowing what we want. Those moments are rare, I think, when we’re so sure.

(Omg, President Obama has emotions:

I don’t know why I wasted my time reading the article. But seriously, why should he show anything? He gets enough shit as it is, could you imagine if he were blubbering around–let’s not pretend he has privilege he doesn’t have. Let’s not forget this is the United States of America. Land of the white man. c’mon. I think he’s quite emotive, but in a different way. You can tell he’s being professionally emotive. Trying to be a leader. Isn’t that what we expect of our leaders? I’ll be the strong one when you look to me. Know that I’m hurting too, but you can feel and I will do. Isn’t that how we work? Isn’t he supposed to be objective and impartial and walk the lines between the boundaries? bipartisan)

I finished Leslie Jamison and her words have been following me around:

“Sure, some news is bigger news than other news. War is bigger news than a girl having mixed feelings about the way some guy fucked her and didn’t call. But I don’t believe in a finite economy of empathy; I happen to think that paying attention yields as much as it taxes.”

And I find myself making a point after someone finishes unloading, just to say, “I’m sorry.” Just to acknowledge their news, “that sucks.” Just for a moment to let them know, I’m here with you, regardless of where I might go next. Regardless of what I decide my next step to be, for the moment, I’m side by side. I think sometimes that is the hardest for me. I’ve been such a transient person. Let me wait a moment here with you. Pace myself.

And also, I’m trying to finally, finally embrace my sentimentality, embrace the confession, embrace the emotion and the empathy and the swirl because of this:

“We watch a character define himself entirely through what he will not claim. If I could choose one item from my entire apartment, what would I disown? It might be my trash can full of ripped paper packets, which might mean that this pile of packets is my most honest expression of self.”

For so much of my life, I put my feelings in a trash can. Locked them up in the closet. Told myself that what I felt didn’t matter, wasn’t important, couldn’t be claimed by just about anyone. But then this seed was planted, sometime in Ireland, when I first began writing for anyone to see, and I received so much feedback. What Jamison calls confessional writing–that’s what I had been doing, that’s what I do. And the people who read through my words, who said them back to me, who thought they mattered, that brightened a bulb in my mind. Oh.

I thought all these feelings were unimportant, but people are just waiting, waiting like fish in the water for the feed to fall. Gimme. Help me. Share with me. I continue to struggle with this, feeling like, is what I’m feeling really shared, really unique, really anything?

“I think dismissing wounds offers a convenient excuse: no need to struggle with the listening or telling anymore.”

I’m beyond selfish with my words and my time and my real feelings. But I’m trying not to be. Or at least to be at more convenient times. At least to acknowledge that I can be later.

“Commonality doesn’t inoculate against hurt.”

If I commit more time to being more open, I think this will build my resiliency. I think this will help with the uncertainty. Like my brother, maybe I’ll work through it to find a sure place. Jamison says something like this, but I’m still struggling with making the meaning: “The pain is what you make of it. You have to find something in it that yields. I understood my guiding imperative as: keep bleeding, but find some love in the blood.”


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