My wise and wonderful blogging friend Furtherton over at Guitars and Life, wrote a post the other day on emotions and how he’s learned to deal with them. I told him in my comments that I needed to really think about what he had written…really. And so I did.
What I discovered is that I’m still, after all this time, not really allowing myself to feel and process my emotions appropriately. I’m still stuffing shit down. The primary reason for this, I discovered after really (no really) thinking about it, is that I never learned how to process them in a meaningful and healthy way. I mean, I get angry and yell. I throw tantrums from time to time. I get moody and irrational. I get overly excited about possibilities. I cry (or I’m learning to anyway).
But those are the surface emotions. The day to day shit that everyone experiences. They sit on the outside of my heart and just irritate it. I feel them, but I can give them a whoosh of breath and they are carried away on the wind like dandelion seeds on a late summer afternoon. And then I return to my happy place and move on. Like normal people.
But the shit down deep? That’s an entirely different story. That’s the stuff that lives inside my heart. The stuff that eats away at my heart and creates scar tissue that builds a wall of resentment against the world…or maybe just against myself. Some of it is very, very old. It’s beginning to disintegrate on it’s own and that’s okay. But some of it is still as fresh as the day it found its way into my fragile soul and still it chomps and chews and hurts.
Example…for some reason a couple of nights ago I started thinking about how Brian got sick last year and ended up in the hospital with pneumonia and that he could have died. Seriously…he could have fucking died! I got that “thing” in the pit of my stomach and before I could admonish myself (good grief Sherry just let it GO for Christ’s sake) I stopped and thought about Furtherton’s post and decided to really (no really) think about what I was feeling.
So I tried.
I closed my eyes and let the feeling rise…and what rose was…shame. Yep, that singular emotion that follows me no matter where I turn. Shame. I’m ashamed that I didn’t listen to my gut and take him to Urgent Care. I’m ashamed that I put money (we had no insurance at the time) in front of my child’s health. I’m the mom. It’s my job to protect and care for them. I’m ashamed I let him down.
And then I did what I always do, rather than sitting with the emotion and really feeling it, I acknowledged it and did my best Scarlett O’Hara impersonation. I decided I’d think about it another time when I could “really give it some thought”. Because I’m busy. I don’t have time for all this introspection. It take time to process all this stuff!
Let me translate that for you people…it hurt too much to process so I didn’t. I stuffed it back down.
Yeah…how’s that workin’ for ya Sherry?
Then there’s the day to day stuff. The fact that the hubs and I are not communicating right now and I’m beginning to resent it. It’s not a surface thing. It’s a thing that’s worming its way into my heart and creating a big ole’ pile of steaming resentment. I keep treating it like it’s just on the surface…a minor irritation. I keep trying to blow it away but it never leaves. But instead of sitting with it and figuring out why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling, I just brush it off to old age…or empty nest syndrome…or (insert other euphemism or tired phrase here). I stuff it back down.
So now to the million dollar question…why am I still stuffing? I’ve smoked, drank (or is it drunk), shopped and eaten my way through all this stuffing and I’m still doing it! Why?
I’m afraid of what I’ll find if I poke too hard or prod too much. Isn’t that what we alcoholics find at the root of everything? Fear? We walk through life afraid of everything and so we flee. Flee to the bottle, or the needle, or the kitchen or the shopping center or casino or Internet. We run away rather than face what frightens us.
Again my stubborn psyche…how’s that workin’ for ya’?
It’s not. I’ve got to figure out how to feel the feelings. To not run away. To process them. And then…
Let. Them. Go.
Just when I think I’m done, I discover more work to to in this whole “recovery” thing. OR maybe that’s just how the normal people do it. Either way, put me back in the oven…I’m not done yet.