Skip to main content

Feeling, Accomplished.

The last few years of my life have been full of feelings.
ALL THE FEELINGS.

Scratch that - my whole life has been full of feelings. All of them. Deep feelings. But the last few years have been full of accepting and acknowledging my feelings, which is a fairly significant shift from my previous framework. 

I have long been uncomfortable with strong emotions. I didn't know what to do with them, or what purpose they serve. In my mind, feelings were an annoying interference with the rational and far more valued rational processes of the brain (this is a slight generalization, but not much).

While I could usually identify how I felt, I didn't always understand why it was important to figure that out, or what good could come of telling another person the emotions I was experiencing, especially if they were "negative" or difficult feelings.

It is not that I believed my feelings were irrelevant, but that they were subservient to my logic and my will.

If I felt disappointed that a friend hadn't called me as promised, I would think, "I know she didn't intend to hurt me, so I ought not feel upset."  And I would try to bring my feelings in line with my logic, by the pure power of my will.

OR once I identified a feeling, I would tell myself it was time to move on now. "You've named it. Acknowledged it. Now you're done."

It rarely worked well.

And then, eventually, with the help of wise friends and outside input, I started to believe that emotions are not tasks to be accomplished. I cannot simply identify a feeling and expect that will end my experience of it. I no longer believe that emotions are second-class citizens in this body of mine.

Emotions are an important and inevitable part of the human experience. Identifying them is important. Sharing them (appropriately) helps breed intimacy and trust. And working through them is made easier when you stop pretending they aren't there.
from postsecret.com, a long time ago.

It is okay to be afraid.
Anxiety is not unacceptable.
Sadness is a healthy response to many things.
Anger helps us identify the things we value.


I no longer view my emotions as items to be checked off of a list (Sadness? Accomplished! On to the next one!). Life is messier now, and sometimes more difficult than when my primary relationship with my feelings was one of control and "mastery."

But you know what? It is better. I am better.  My friendships are healthier, and deeper. I know my own self in a way I couldn't before.

Here's how I feel about all of this: Encouraged. Hopeful. Grateful, and Happy.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Fostering FAQ: How Can You Say Goodbye?

It seems I finally have something(s) to say... Here's the first in a short (or maybe long?) series on Fostering FAQs. If you've got a question to add, feel free to comment/email/text/message me and maybe the next post will be in response.

--

8:30 am on Day 4 of parenting. I woke up in a panic two hours ago because I remembered that there is a baby and I am responsible for her (at least at 6:30am, when the man beside me will snore through anything). Now, I have put on clothes and eaten breakfast. The dogs are walked, there is a loaf of banana bread in the oven. My tea is steeping. Most importantly, Dream Baby is already down for her first nap.

Despite my morning efficiency, I'm already beginning to see that even with the happiest, most easygoing, and smiliest baby, like we somehow managed to be given, parenting is a grind. On Friday night, I couldn't join friends for $5 pints at a local joint. Instead, I blearily washed the same 8 bottles again, and then made another ba…

Fostering FAQ: How Long Will She Stay/Will You Adopt Her?

Our first foster baby came with about 18 hours notice; it was respite care, which means we had him for a few days while his regular foster family had a break/dealt with a family emergency. He stayed 3 nights, long enough to come to church and have a dozen people cooing over his little sleeping cheeks.  With each new visitor to our quiet corner, I explained again that he would be going back to his foster family the next day.

Barely a week later, we got a 9am phone call with a fostering request and by the same afternoon, we were snuggling her. This time, we had her for 4 days before church came around. Again, our community was keen to see the little one we had in tow. Again, the question, "How long will she stay?" And this time, "Are you going to adopt her?"

--

Here in Toronto, when a child is placed in foster care, it is always for an indefinite length of time. It depends on the parents' situation, and whether they are able to make a safe home environment for th…

Fostering FAQ: What's Her (Mom's) Story?

This is probably the second most common question I hear about the baby currently in our care, right after, "Will you keep her?"

It comes in many forms:

"So, what's her story?"
"Is her mom in the picture?"
"How did she end up in your home?
"Is her mom a drug addict?"
"How could a mom not love such a cute baby!"

I get it. It's natural curiousity, and I know I've asked similar questions of my friends who are adoptive parents.


But here's what I'm learning: a child's story is their own. And equally as important, the parent's story is their own.

Imagine how it might feel to hear that for the foreseeable future, you are not allowed to care for your child. On top of whatever difficult circumstances you are already in - perhaps poverty, social isolation, lack of adequate housing, domestic violence, intergenerational trauma, drug or alcohol dependency, low cognitive functioning, or a myriad of other complex strug…