Whoa, Whoa, Whaoa feelings……
This song says it best, that is for sure. I find it ironic that they lyric is “Oh, Oh, Oh” and I wrote WHOA. I think that is the perfect segue for this post. Feelings.
We all have them. We all need them. Sadly, most of us lack the awareness and skills to deal with them. Some of us literally run from them. Some try to eat them away. Some drink, drug, shop and even try to sex them away. We can bury ourselves in people and things and tasks and hobbies. Up to our necks in everything except what is really happening – feelings.
I did not develop the awareness or skills to deal with feelings growing up. I did an even worse job with my feelings as an adult. I learned how to ignore them, stuff them, and deny them. All I learned were extremes. I was either very high on good feelings or on a torrential rage with anger and no control. I was not nurturing when I needed to be or loving when I could have been. My feelings have been a hot mess my entire life.
Until now. Well, don’t read that I have it all figured out. Hell no! I have only just begun…. I hear another song coming on… We’ve only just begun … to live …. sigh. Moving on.
I have started the difficult, painful, yet liberating and necessary journey to my feelings. It is actually a deeper dive into other areas, but I will keep skip that part for now. I will, however, talk about my journey into feelings. I am learning what they are and what they feel like. I am learning to identify and name the feeling, have it and embrace it. I am learning about my habits, avoidance, and how I use things like food or fitness to try and escape them. While it may be a challenge to run ten miles to escape, the real challenge is to sit with those feelings that are highjacking your nervous system. Sit and let those feelings happen. There is a challenge!
Feelings are emotions, but they actually trigger physiological and neurological responses in our bodies. We actually feel our feelings. We learn in our brain and yet our bodies remember. Yeah, complicated stuff. No wonder it takes so much work to repair this damage.
I am taking it slow, working to be gentle with myself. I am allowing mistakes and fuck ups just as I embrace an achievement or a time when I identified, felt, and embraced that feeling. It can be hard to have a feeling, as our culture tells us (women in particular) not to have them at all! We learn that emotions are weak, feelings are to be masked or hidden and even lied about. Movies teach us to hide our feelings so that the people who love us, really love us, can somehow and intuitively know what we are feeling without us telling them. What a bunch of horse shit that all is.
Most of us are not used to having our feelings when they strike, let alone naming them out loud to ourselves or the people around us. American culture, among others I am sure, does not support the open and unabashed experience of feelings or emotions. That is just too fucking bad. We are doing our entire society a disservice when none of us are allowed to have, name, embrace, and experience our emotions. Shame on us.
I am continuing on my journey of discovery. Right now I am discovering my feelings. I am learning to name them, have them, sit with them and not run away, stuff or hide them. This is a long journey. This will take me a lot of time. This is a lifelong journey. Oh, I will mess it up. I will continue to slip-up and mask or hide or eat or spend that feeling away. Well, try to, anyhow. I will try to avoid them, and then I will get back on track and have that feeing, name it, experience it, and then let it pass. I will process it, talk it out, or even walk it out if necessary. I will work hard not to eat or drink it away, which does not really work. That feeling is still there when the eating is over and when we eventually sober up. There is literally no escaping those feelings.
Feelings…. Whoa, oh, uh-oh, feelings! Let’s give ourselves and our loved ones the space for them. Not just the space, but a safe space for us (and them) to feel, to express that feeling. Let us support the recognition of those feelings, and fluff that pillow for a gentle landing when we fall. Be there for each other in an open and honest way, but also a loving and safe way.
Let’s have our feelings, OK? Perhaps with a cup of expression on the side. Find that safe space, safe person, safe place and let’em rip. Learn what they are and how to have them, how to talk about them and share when safe to do so.
Embarking on a journey is embarking on growth and learning.
Let your feelings journey begin!