Spectrum of Emotions
April 14, 2011 § Leave a comment
“Our brokenness is the wound through which the full power of God can penetrate our being and transfigure us in God. Loneliness is not something from which we must flee but the place from where we can cry out to God, where God will find us and we can find God. Yes, through our wounds the power of God can penetrate us and become like rivers of living water to irrigate the arid earth within us. Thus we may irrigate the arid earth of others so that hope and love are reborn.” -Jean Vanier
Reminder: Being joyful doesn’t mean I can’t cry.
Being joyful, in fact, means its necessary to feel down, sad, depressed, lonely. But being joyful means I cherish these feelings as an intricate part of life. I can cherish these feelings along feeling happy, giddy, goofy. Going day to day without cherishing and utilizing a full range of feelings is like living in a world of black and white. It doesn’t mean the picture can’t be beautiful, but it doesn’t exude the additional beauty of shades of colors. Blues for sad times, yellow for happy. Green for contentment, Orange for restlessness.
As much as I talk about feeling the full spectrum of emotions, I’m often guilty of stuffing some down.
My best friend, Christa pointed this out to me yesterday. God bless Christa and her ability to call me out on my b.s. and make me admit to myself the things I so greatly try to push aside.
I called her a little upset yesterday. I had had a down afternoon, I went to church and sometimes, just sitting in the sanctuary and talking to God can do that to me. But, I’d also realized Cody’s birthday was just one week away. Particular days aren’t really a big deal to me, and I’m not much of a birthday person, so I couldn’t exactly figure out what was bothering me.
So, I went to my softball games hoping it would get better. It didn’t. They really shouldn’t let law students play softball (or any sport) without an official. Perhaps now that I’m the 3L Class President, I should try to change that : )
Anyway, we argued from the beginning about the rules and whatnot and it went on for three hours. We even played some of my best friends and I could feel the tension. I got teary-eyed. I DO NOT cry in front of people. Its like a rule. I really only have in front of a couple of people (aside from the week Cody died which I discount) and Christa is one. So I called her.
I told her I couldn’t figure out what my deal was. And, in true soul-mate fashion, she said, “I do. Wanna know.”
Duh. Of course I did!
She said, “You never admit that you’re lonely. Not even to yourself. But, you are. That’s ok. Its ok to feel that. You don’t have people there that you can talk to, you miss having your person. And then you ignore these feelings so when they come up, you explode.”
Did I mention that my best friend is a genius? She is.
I’m petrified to admit that I’m lonely because I don’t want to feel sorry for myself. There are plenty of single people. There are plenty of people who have been through worse. My life isn’t bad! Its wonderful, actually. Yeah, I have reasons to feel sad, but I’m grateful for those. But, the key is, I have to feel them!
But, sometimes I’m scared to. I need to be in a safe place. Alone. In church maybe. I don’t want sympathy or pity. Even though I want to be able to talk about Cody freely. I know, its confusing. I’m confusing. I admit it.
Honestly, I get scared to admit that I’m lonely because I don’t want to search for a relationship. Ew. I don’t want to be “that girl.” The girl that settles for anyone. The girl that just can’t be alone. Although, its been over a year and a half, so I think I’ve well-proven that I can be alone.
But, Christa was right. Its ok to admit that. I need to feel that. Sit with it. Write about it. Let it be. She also pointed out that its probably time for me to open up to someone here in Law School. Part of me stuffing everything in is that some people just don’t know about my past. Part of it is my desire to be treated like any other 25-year-old law student (notice: I didn’t say normal…we’re not).
Enter my friend, RR. RR’s brother passed away about a month after Cody did. We’ve both talked about our losses a little, but not too in depth. RR started dating an amazing girl awhile back so he has a person, a great caring, loving person, and to be a little honest, I’m a little jealous that he has a person to talk to, be open with. We haven’t talked much about our losses in a long time, but I’ve always known that if there was anyone here I could openly talk to, it was him. He could tell I was a little down at the softball game yesterday. I had made some excellent Tiramisu Tart the other day and I was going over to take he and his girlfriend leftover, so he said we should chat when I got there. Christa encouraged me to go talk to him. She knows there is only so much she can do from an hour and a half away.
Once I got there, we talked easily. I admitted that I’m petrified of Practice Court starting in the fall. Its the most intense time of my law school (we’re weird and make the 3L year the hardest. More like hazing. Oh, the love) and when I had decided to come here, I knew that it would be fine, because Cody would be here to take care of me. Dole out hugs. Tell me that I was good enough after a day of verbal abuse from a professor. I’m scared of going through that without him. Without a person who cares waiting for me at the end of the day.
I admitted that I miss having someone I told everything to. I miss having a person whose shoulder I could actually cry on. I miss my person. (FYI…”person”?? Weird word).
It felt good to admit these things. We had a beer, joked, talked about life in general and it felt good to say these things to myself and someone else. In fact, I feel lighter today having admitted them. Like a burden has been lifted. Its a few less people to put a face on for. A few more people who know the real me. RR told me that sometimes, feeling just a little sorry for ourselves and admitting these things is like the tail end of the grieving process.
I agree to needing to admit the feelings, but I still adamantly refuse to pity myself. For me, I’d rather celebrate that I have the opportunity to feel the full spectrum of emotions. I’m going to admit my true feelings. Feeling alone doesn’t mean that I feel sorry for myself because I’m alone, it just means that I am lonely. That’s it. Nothing more. And that’s ok!
Cherish these feelings. They leave room for growth, change. And when I’m not feeling lonely, I notice that too. In fact, its even better because I know the contrast.
The loneliness is a beautiful feeling. Bear with me. One day, I’ll be in love again. I’ll be with my family, close friends, Christa and notice how that loneliness is filled. When (if) I’m ever in a relationship again, it’ll be better for what I went through to get to it; for the fighting involved on the road along the way.
So I’ll celebrate all of my feelings, all of my emotions. They make me complete. They make me human. They make me better.