7/23/12

Feelings.

Nobody likes to feel vulnerable, weak, ineffective, or otherwise compromised. Feeling like you're not in full control is terrible. However, it's still feeling, and sometimes it's important to allow yourself to live in your life, and to experience your emotions. Why? Because they're a sign of life.

When I was younger (man, do I sound old when I say that!), I was somewhere between horrified of and terrified by my darker emotions. Sadness, vulnerability, pain, all of them. To try to escape them (before I turned of age), I'd lose myself in books, or ignore them completely. Then, when I got to the age of consent, I'd numb the rough edges with cigarettes, coffee, or alcohol. I would escape into dance clubs, and assignations with men who I wouldn't have chosen to be with had I been in full possession of my good sense. Anything I could do to get rid of those bad feelings would be preferable to feeling them.

And then the health effects began to show up. After a night of dancing and drinking and smoking, I'd frequently end up at horrible chain restaurants (who shall remain nameless), and order things drenched in cheese, or pancakes loaded with maple syrup (which might as well have been called corn syrup), and any number of other disgusting, unhealthy things. I'd wake up feeling like hamsters had done the conga on my tongue the night before.

I'd feel tired all the time, so to combat it, I started drinking a lot of coffee. I became something of a coffee snob, and would only buy whole beans, grind them myself, and brew it up fresh every time I needed some. I started smoking around two packs of cigarettes a day. Then, to counteract the horrible insomnia that would hit, I started taking sleeping pills every night. This meant that I'd wake up feeling even more exhausted, and my body would be screaming for me to just stop the torture.

All so that I wouldn't have to face my emotions head-on.

Finally, when my destructive behaviour had reached a peak, I think my mother sensed something, and cornered me one night. She asked if she could help me get a wife sorted out. She mentioned that she could find me one in any shape, size, or colour I wanted. One who knew how to cook, appreciate good food, loved to travel, loved to read, etc etc. All the things I loved too. She kept coming at me, over and over again, bringing up various different girls she and I knew.

I ended up bursting out with, "Maybe I don't want to marry any girl."

"What does that mean," she asked.

"Maybe I want to marry a man."

It was like something snapped inside me, and my mother and I got me to a place where I could see why I was so angry all the time. Why I was trying to hide from myself by dulling my brain with the endless cycle of alcohol, sleeping pills, cigarettes, coffee, and every other disgusting thing you could find going straight into my body.

I'd like to say that the story ends there. That after I came out to my mother, I was able to live a life of magic and rainbows. Unfortunately, addiction is a difficult thing to conquer. I managed to sort out the coffee fairly quickly. That was easy enough. Once I stopped coffee, I was able to kick the sleeping pills, because I wasn't wired all the time. I didn't quit smoking, but I certainly cut back to a "reasonable" (I put that in air quotes because there is no reasonable amount of cigarettes) amount, where I'd make a pack last me about three days or so. I'd drink on Friday nights, and rarely Saturday nights, and even then, in amounts that my body could handle.

During my journey, however, I started to realise that I was working so hard to hide from and escape my emotions, that I ended up doing more harm to myself than by allowing myself to feel those emotions. I could easily have wound up sick, or in circumstances that I couldn't get myself out of. Part of the impetus for getting myself sorted was in living my life in a way that was honest to myself and others. But more than that was facing myself in the mirror, and letting myself know that I'm a human being, with flaws, emotions, and reason. Everything that I have experienced in the past has helped to shape me into who I am now and has become a part of me, and that's a good thing. Yes, there are bad times, but those helped me learn. If I didn't have those negative experiences, I'd never change, or grow. I'd never learn.

What I'm getting at is that I think that life is a beautiful, amazing thing, and all our experiences are important. Allowing ourselves to really live in them helps shape us into what we are. When you feel yourself getting frustrated at feeling vulnerable, or lonely, or anything else that you're not a huge fan of, remember that it's important to let yourself feel it.
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