I try to be in control of my emotions.
Most of us try damn hard to stay on an even keel most of the time. Of course we all have spikes and drops on our emotional barometers, but that’s part of our human wiring.
That said, a constant stream of feeling too much or over-emoting can be stressful—not only for us, but for everyone we take along with us on our emotional roller coasters.
I can still hear my older sister preaching to me that I needed to just “Stop feeling so Goddamn much!” To my self-contained, cool-as-a-cucumber sister, this seemed like it should be a simple fix.
I did not ask to be this hot-weepy-mess of emotions—falling to pieces about things that barely register on other people’s radars. So why does she stay calm when I don’t? She tells me it’s because she just doesn’t let things bother her. It seems so simple, but then life is full answers that seem simple to some but awfully complicated to others.
It seems unfair that some of us feel such emotional intensity, while others seem to go easy-breezy along their way. But the truth is we all hurt and we all get scared—we just feel and express these things in different ways. Sometimes something happens that stuns us all with the unpredictability of life and the even greater unfairness of tragic events. At times like these, those of us who feel a lot, even on an ordinary day, can find it hard to process the shockwave.
The tragedy in Orlando, Florida triggered my most recent bout of feeling too much. I was stunned, in disbelief, furious, devastated—together with the rest of the world. Collectively, we experienced wave after wave of empathetic emotions.
I searched for an outlet to safely release my own anger—and I decided to write. I wanted everything to just stop. The earth, sun, moon and stars—I wanted them all to stop, so that I could stop feeling so damn much:
How dare you shine your light so bright?
Clenched fists I shook at the clueless sun—
Show some respect, some reverence?
Have you no mercy? None?
How dare you keep on moving?
I shouted at the spinning earth,
Stop turning for one f*cking minute!
Don’t human lives have that much worth?
How dare you sparkle still, you stars?
Your glimmer cuts my eyes like glass!
You need to fall down from the sky
Like meteors that burn and crash!
How dare you moon? I cried in anger.
So serene and calm—do you not know?
Beneath you, down upon the ground
A bloody battlefield’s been sown.
How easily he took these lives!
What powers that be gave him the right
To prey upon such helpless souls—
To hunt them down in dark of night?
What kind of monster-human he?
To kill so cold and heartlessly?
Sick and deranged—devoid of soul?
Damn him to hell for all eternity!
Writing did serve as a release—like popping open the little hole on the lid of a pressure cooker so the pot won’t internally combust.
There were so many similar posts on social media. The shock and horror rippled through the internet world with words like “I can’t…I just can’t!” as people found it impossible to cope with the magnitude of emotions they were feeling—brought on by this tragedy.
We may not know or comprehend the reasons for what happens in this world, but we can and we do cope. Feeling too much is part of what makes us compassionate human beings. When we allow ourselves to open up and accept the pain and sorrow—letting it flow into and through us—our hearts might break, but they also expand to hold even more compassion, kindness, mercy and love for ourselves and others.
We might wish that we could to turn our feelings off sometimes, but if we could we might miss being able to respond to the incredible beauty of that clueless sun—rising and setting every day. To the growing green and flowing blues of the ever-spinning planet earth. To the multitudes of glittering stars sparkling still in the black midnight sky. How could we give up any of that beauty, mystery and magic?
So let’s fully engage while we work on that feeling too much part? Let’s allow the world to pour into our hearts, filling it to the brim and overflowing with all the feelings it stirs in us. Let’s celebrate being the fully emotional—kind and compassionate human beings that the world could use more than a few more of. Let’s be unafraid to show what we’ve got inside.
Let’s let the lids of our hearts come flying off from time to time and just call the scars this might leave us, collateral damage.
Author: Doris Emmett
Image: Holly Lay/ Flickr
Editors: Khara-Jade Warren; Emily Bartran