We were playing a few games over Christmas with friends. One night we were simply playing a game where you asked people questions and they could answer or pass. A friend of mine asked my best friend what I was most afraid of. “Love,” she burst out without a second’s hesitation. The next night I got a card in another game asking me what I was most afraid of. “My own emotions,” I said.
I was sitting in the car with the same friend that asked my best friend what I’m scared of. As I was talking of someone he stopped me and said it was the first time he had seen me show emotion. In my voice, apparently, you could hear the care I felt for this person. He told me that every time he sees me he feels robbed of the experience of me. I won’t let him, or anyone else in.
Emotions freak me out. I think if I have them I will be humiliated, seem weak, embarrass myself and get hurt. I get angry with myself if I fall for someone, because I feel stupid. And if I show my emotions to someone I think they will humiliate me. If I share not just what I think, but what I feel, I think they will somehow turn it against me, or laugh at me. I don’t like my own emotions. I always get angry with myself for having them. It’s better to keep a clear head. Stay calm in the midst of the storm. Be rational. I’m stupid if I fall in love, get angry, or get excited about something. I punish myself for feeling things. I salute myself when my head is clear and my mind is on business. That’s easier.
So New Years promise: when I feel something I will go with it. I will allow myself to feel it. I will follow the emotion through – watch it and feel it as it goes through my body. I will not get angry or scared. I will allow it to be. I don’t have to act on it, but nor will I strangle it. It’s OK to be in love. It’s OK to be sad. It’s OK to have fear. It’s OK to feel. Whatever it is. It’s OK.