So Many Feelings? Oy Vey, What’s a Person To Do?
April 15, 2020
Well, here we are everyone! Kim and I figured that we have probably been sheltering in place for appr0ximately four weeks now. The official order for the state of Indiana started March 25 and we have been sheltering about a week longer than our state’s order. Yikes! I have experienced a ton of emotions—potentially every emotion that has ever been named! I know that I am not alone in this experience. I must say that when I received Austin Channing Brown’s blog post last week, I actually laughed out loud! Brown is a leading voice on racial justice and the author of I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. I quickly sent an e-mail off to Brown asking for permission to share her blog post. I figure we can all benefit from her wisdom and humor. Go ahead! Laugh out loud! Brown and I give you permission to do just that!
Feel Your Feelings
By: Austin Channing Brown
I’m not a fan of feeling my feelings. Even though I often tell other people it’s fine for them to feel their own. I’m great at giving medicine; not so great at taking it. Give me a choice, and I will opt for numbness over emotions. Give me an ice, cold room, a bed + blanket, and a stack of movies… You might not see me for days. I will stuff those little emotions down so far, I can live in denial of their existence and hide them under my chocolate covered pretzels. But.
But now we are in the middle of a pandemic and my feelings are changing by the hour. Anything can kick up a new set of emotions—the news, a tweet, the weather. I actually got pissed the other day because I thought it was going to be sunny and warm (I live in Michigan), but it was only sunny until 11am. Then the clouds arrived and the temperature dropped until it was in the 40s. I was livid, y’all. Between the cooking and the kids, the isolation and the job, the unemployment and the anxiety, the misinformation and the ways people’s shenanigans still haven’t stopped—well, it’s a lot. Every day is a lot. Who knew one could feel so many feelings every 24 hours?
If feeling your feelings is hard for you too, I would like to be the one to give you permission to not numb out, if you’re ready to feel. I give you permission to feel lots of things at once.
I give you permission to be hopeful one minute, cynical the next and confused the rest of the time. I give you permission to enjoy your family and be overwhelmed by them. I give you permission to be lonely and sad but also to have moments of great joy, great fulfillment, great love. I give you permission to be mad at the world, mad at racism, mad at classism, mad at injustice. I definitely give you permission to be mad at some leaders and proud of others. I give you permission to love the children in your life, to miss the children in your life, to be tired of how much the children in your life require right now. I give you permission to move in and out of productivity, in and out of creativity. I give you permission to start your day dancing and end it crying. I give you permission to be filled with grief, to experience disappointment over and over again, to want more from 2020. And I give you permission to enjoy the sweet moments—the texts and conversations and phone calls and zoom meet ups and dj sets and Netflix parties and cute animal videos. I give you permission to need help, to feel frustrated, to be angry. And I give you permission to not know what you need today. I give you permission to feel it all, as you feel it all.
I invite you to commune with your humanity.
I invite you to share that humanity with the people who know and love you.
I invite you to need and be needed.
I invite you to weave and dance through relationships and grief and fear and love as best you can right now.
I invite you to survive. I want you to survive, and I want you to survive with your humanity intact.
As we are all sheltering in place, there is a lot of time to discover new hobbies, new books, new things to cook. I am amazed at how people are filling their days. Much of it inspires me. Much of it makes me laugh. So, for the time being, I am going to use this section to share things that I have recently enjoyed or that I have found engaging, moving, and uplifting. Is anyone else watching Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist on Sundays on NBC? I started watching this in February just to check it out and see if I would like it. I found it completely enjoyable! It’s creative, fun, and has a lot of heart! During times like these . . Hell, anytime is a great time for fun!
While we are living in a world turned upside down at the moment, there are still numerous inspirational acts that are happening every single day! I have faith that we as human beings may find our way back to each other again. After all, I truly believe that we are all in this together! This point is being driven home in all ways, large and small. The Greater Good Science Center, which is based at University of California–Berkeley, is a great source to find positive, inspiring stories. The Science of Happiness Podcast, in particular, looks amazing! Just sign up for their newsletter or wander around their site and find out some of the marvelous things occurring across the planet right now!
And because I cannot resist, I am sharing the third episode of John Krasinsi’s Some Good News! If you are asking “Why?” My response is Why the heck not?