You Mean I Actually Have To Feel Something?
We adult humans are really good at distracting ourselves from our feelings. Lonely? We check our phones. Bored? We turn on the TV. Sad? Mad? Guilty? Anxious? We eat. Or drink. Or gamble. Or sleep. Or shop. Whichever distraction we’ve taken and made our own.
Turns out that I’m a little bit sad. No, more than a little bit – a lot a bit sad. In hindsight, that’s probably why I ate two bowls of Blue Bell Sugar Cone ice cream the other night (delicious, BTW). And by bowls, I mean they might as well have been Kentucky Fried chicken buckets, they were that big.
My babies are going to Kindergarten in less than a week. For 2,397 days these guys have been with me more than they have not. And they are good people. Yes, they have made me pull out my hair, but they have also made me laugh, wonder, play, and burst with joy. I adore them and they are good company.
I knew that I was getting sad about the approach of this new chapter in our lives. I know from watching Big Sister just how much life speeds up once school starts. I also know from other twin moms that having two go off to school at once can be particularly jarring. Especially when they are your last. But then I got distracted by the whole job loss/zero income thing. And I forgot to notice that I was sad.
That worked until my sad built up so much that it started leaking out of my eyes. You see, my body knew what my mind was putting on a whole song-and-dance to avoid. Because that’s what we do. We avoid the hard stuff because it’s scary to feel it. And because we are out of practice feeling it. And because we are told things like – You’re okay. Don’t cry. It’ll be alright. It’s not that bad.
I recently read an article that’s floating around on Facebook right now, likening our feelings and our experience of them to being in a big, dark train tunnel. It talks about our children really, and how to help them with their feelings. We have to let them truly feel their feelings so that they can move through the darkness and out into the light at the end of the tunnel. Everytime we distract them with – You’re okay! It’all be alright! Don’t cry! It’s not that bad! – we’re stalling their progress. We mean well, but we’re preventing them from moving through their feelings and into the light.
Do you remember that feeling as a child of sobbing your heart out about something or other? When you were finally done, you were exhausted but somehow lighter and more free at the same time? That’s moving into the light. And we adults need to do it too.
But damn, it’s hard.
The news these days is scary. It’s so much easier to get sucked into Andy Cohen and the Love Connection. (Gasp! I admit I may have watched it once or twice.) Or, if you’re facing major stressors in your life, or in a loved one’s life, it’s so much easier to do X,Y or Z, but the stressor will still be there.
In my case, I’ll still be sad. Or full of ice cream. So – that’s it – it sounds easy but it’s not. It’s important and hard work. In times of great stress/ anxiety/ fear/ sadness – FEEL IT. OWN IT. AND LET YOURSELF MOVE INTO THE LIGHT.