Often, writers, myself included tackle topics that will resonate, topics that will trend, topics that will gain applause or shares, or whatever. Topics that align with our own sense of self-branding I guess.
When called to write, but feel a flight of crows chaos in direction or a vacant lot of inspiration, I struggle to synchronize my thoughts with my words and my typing-tapping fingers.
But tonight, the theme I have battled to avoid is the very thing I’m going through, and while I don’t actually want to write about it, I feel to be loyal to my adopted mantra of “write what you’re going through”, I need to.
In fact, it’s not even that I don’t want to write about it.
If I’m honest, it’s that I don’t want to be judged for it.
And I’ve been judged for being it often.
If you haven’t quickly guessed, the thing I’m referring to starts with “E” and ends with “motional”.
This might be the perfect time for some of you to roll your eyes and quit reading.
Just because we don’t acknowledge emotion – our own or others – doesn’t mean emotion is not part of all of us, pulsing through our veins and breathing through our lungs every single human day. The more we refuse to acknowledge this, the more it burns.
Emotion is far beyond feelings of sadness or joy. Emotion colors the whole vibrant rainbow.
Anger, even. I think it’s easy to overstep that one. Being emotional includes being angry, being vocal, or being direct when it comes to things that are important to you.
In that case – I think my collection of friends and acquaintances who are “emotional” just expanded ten-fold if we include those who hold an unwavering passion for a cause, unbreakable love for their children, unquenchable thirst for justice, or undeniable allegiance to a belief. Those fires are lit with the purest of emotions.
But . . . .the struggle with the criticism of being “emotional” is real because feeling everything has always been a strong vibe for me. My entire life.
My entire life. Sometimes the descriptor used is “sensitive”. There is no “off” button for this.
But I can’t let that slay me.
Now that I’m 40-something and haven’t really changed that much since I was 16, I feel so differently about owning who I am. (“Accepting” might be a way to put it more passively, but this post isn’t about being passive.)
Being emotional means you are awake and receptive. It means you feel everything. Yes, the hurt, the pain, the blah blah blah.
All the ugly things we don’t really feel comfortable giving our attention to. The things we might numb, deny, or spill in private dark places.
Sometimes, my emotion annoys others, and they poke me for it. But also, showing my emotion enables others to do the same, and they thank me for it.
In truth, I don’t think I am more emotional than any other living, breathing, feeling, conscious being in this world.
Yes, I cry all the damn time.
But you know what? Not always because I’m sad. I cry at pretty much every wedding I attend (sometimes crash) because I am so caught up with the love of it all – the flowers, the birdsong, the sunsets . . . It hits me like an arrow through the heart and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Pour the wine, and queue the Bon Jovi for the dance floor, because I’m bursting to feel and dance and sing! Sing to every lyric in time with the promises I’ve just witnessed under rain showers of rose petals and rice in that moment! Why not??
I cry while driving and listening to my favorite line of my favorite sad song I’ve played 800 times. I turn the volume UP and drive faster! I lean into those turns!
Tears fall when I have mind-shifting, life-changing beach walks with people I am inspired by. I am just so damn grateful for those windy, sand-blasted moments in the heat by the ocean that cracks open some kind of insight inside me that I can take home with me.
The kind of insightful exchanges that make my life decisions meaningful in some important way.
And I laugh. I laugh all the damn time, too. Often, laughter is not scooped up inside what we label as “emotion”. I am so enthusiastic, that I laugh and over-hug people.
Whatever over-hugging means. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we fucking need hugs. Physical contact with humans who adore us in any kind of way? Geez. . how can we not have more of that?
One day, I will lie dying. Dying in a hospital bed, or dying in my own bed hopefully, looking out the window at the sea, probably, and unable to sit up. My loved ones will have to lean over and hug me a good morning or a goodbye.
So for now, while I can, it’s the very first thing I do with anyone I see. I hug. I shine the light on my emotion. Depending on who and the situation, I may cry a little. Not sorry.
Anyway – it’s the being criticized as “too emotional” thing that I am going through this week that I feel compelled to write out.
This is not an I Predict a Riot moment. I do not mean to accuse.
Neither do I expect my less emotionally expressive companions to suddenly start sitting cross-legged in restaurants and truly vocalizing how the fried onions made them feel.
This post isn’t a call for anyone who doesn’t exhibit emotions in the same style as I do to change how they express themselves.
In fact, if everyone wore their heart on their sleeves, then we might never go to war, sure, but we might also never move on.
We may never have those who can assertively skip the song to the next beat we need so we can progress and not stay squishy in stagnation. We need the less outwardly emotional people in this world too.
Anyway – It’s late. I don’t want to spend much more time on this soapbox. But if we didn’t have those walking amongst us who we label as “emotional” in this world, we’d have fewer songs to sing along to, less poetry to connect with, fewer stories that inspire us, and less art to reflect who we are.
We’d have fewer people to lean on and connect with when we felt the overwhelm that anyone alive no doubt will feel at least once or twice in this tumultuous world.
We’d embrace fewer hugs given “just because”.
So – like it or not, sending you all off with a hug . . . and the best of wishes as we march into March, and sending you whatever dose of emotion serves you best this week.
Have a great weekend.
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