EMOTIONS ARE BEYOND WORDS...and the value of allowing them to run their course (and how to do it).
This morning something happened which brought up an utter shitstorm of conflicting and confusing feelings. There was a knock on the door and I ran down in my PJs innocently thinking it was our grocery delivery.
The courier had placed 2 boxes on the doormat and I picked them up thinking nothing of it. The top one was essential oils, and the bottom one was an emotional grenade waiting to explode. It was a box from my mom in Canada, with the customs form filled out as "baby blanket self-made".
A few facts that you should know to understand the situation...
1. I'm 8 days overdue with my first baby.
2. My mom is mentally unwell, we haven't been in touch for pretty much a year since she inflicted some pretty crazy behaviors on my immediate and extended family.
3. I've been on an extensive personal journey of healing and finding my emotional and energetic independence, and self-worth, as a woman, after realizing all the (unconscious on her part) emotional manipulation I was subject to from her as a kid and teen.
4. I've reached a (what I think is) healthy point where I don't hold a grudge, I've accepted everything and moved on, and I don't wish to be in contact and don't feel an obligation to.
5. I didn't know that she had my address.
6. This is a somewhat fragile time as I'm already dealing with supporting my own physical, energetic, emotional wellbeing through the end of pregnancy.
So -- when I picked up the box and saw who it was from and the label, I started breathing hard, and wasn't sure what to do. I put the box down on the front hall bench and went upstairs and just started weeping in Will's arms. Full-out vocalized weeping/bawling for me is pretty rare. I mean I have a little teary cry now and then often enough, but to actually bawl...
I didn't know what I was feeling, or why... I wanted to put it into words and a few conflicting thoughts sort of tumbled out...but mostly I tried to just let everything release.
THE POINT IS...
If something happens in life and you feel an impulse in your body, follow it.
Weeping, laughing, moving in some way, burrowing under the covers. Whatever.
You don't have to put a label on how you feel. You don't have to explain it to yourself, or to anyone else. You don't have to justify it.
You don't have to decide whether your feelings are right or wrong, or if they offend anyone, or if you're allowed to feel them, or if they are good or bad.
Emotions come from a more basic place than our analyzing, meaning-making, judging, labeling human mind.
You don't have to calm them or move on from them or fix them.
In fact, trying to do that creates EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE effect of what you want.
(And unfortunately that's what our prevailing model of school / parenting trains us to do, with the default response to tears being "don't cry, it's ok" which we believe is soothing but in fact it also invalidates the emotions we're feeling)
Instead of soothing, ignoring or shutting down -- you have to let the emotion run its course.
I like to compare it to the oil in an oil lamp. If you blow out the flame, the oil sits there and festers (ie pushing down emotions you don't want to feel).
If you let the oil burn out (by fully GOING INTO the discomfort of the emotion and letting it run), it's gone, and not left behind to have any ongoing effects.
So this morning, the fact that I allowed myself to fully cry it out, letting it come, moving through with my breath... even though the tears came back 3 or 4 different times over the following few hours (and probably will again). But I feel so light, buoyant, and simultaneously grounded now. Letting those feelings burn out allowed space for my natural joy to bubble back up and not keep me in a fog or a funk for the rest of the day (or longer).
On a side note I've also made a point of gradually explaining to Will that tears don't need to be fixed. They just need to come and it's ok. I'm trying to make this space for myself to express in my relationship, because I've noticed that I feel self-conscious when I cry (again as a result of the whole "don't cry it's ok" thing we're all told, and believing that if you're crying, something is "wrong" and must be fixed) and sometimes have held things in because of that.
Yes tears and strong emotions are messy and scary sometimes. And they are also beautiful and healthy and natural and are exactly what we need to properly deal with what we feel (ALL emotions are valid!) and move forward.
I haven't decided what to do with the package yet. I don't want to invite unbalanced energy into our home or into our beautiful new innocent baby who will soon be here in the world with Will and I as his caretakers for the beginning of his life.
Although on the other hand I feel like maybe I should fully open up to whatever is, and know that I can accept and transform any feeling into love.
But finally I also feel that there is no obligation for me to receive what others want to give me. I'm not available for a relationship with certain people not because they need to be punished, but simply because I believe that the idea of family obligation isn't an absolute, and that I can make decisions about who I interact with. It doesn't have to be a broken relationship, it can just be nothing, neutral.
Anyway, be gentle and loving with your emotional self, being sensitive is bold and badass. And the freedom you'll feel from allowing this will gradually change your life.