Stuck on a Feeling
In terms of time, I have to keep reminding myself that we're not just treading water, there are moments to experience; big ones and small ones; births, deaths, job changes, house moves; meetings, meals, and happy hours. And yes we'll be able to take some things away from this time (what we really find important, and how each of us responds to stress, for example) - some seeds we've planted, cultivated, or learnt exist.
But many feelings I've had, or lack of, feel like being stuck in the mud. I'm so intrigued by how others have experienced the last year. Have you felt the same as me?
Disassociation, disbelief, dragged along, resistant, numb. And then unexpectedly falling into pockets of pure joy, connection, celebration, frustration, despair, anger, where the alignment of feeling and experience in that moment is perfectly in-sync. Historically I'm more of a repressor than a cryer, and although this has been on the change for a little while longer than the last year, never have I ever been one to spontaneously ball my eyes out at good news. However, it would seem my mum getting her first vaccine jab these days, for example, is worthy of a gasp and eye-leaks.
Being able to feel so deeply happy for friends' good news and hopeful futures is something I'm relishing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a monster (mostly) who hates on their friends' successes. But perhaps it's the combination of so much shittiness that makes the good stuff stand out, and so much time that allows for feelings to happen and be felt as fully as they should be. So, have I learnt that now, or is it circumstantial? Maybe the recipe for success on this is gratitude, a method of grounding, appreciating what you have and contextualising circumstances. Maybe this is what adds a little extra gold dust to those magic moments.
While we've spent so much time working from the assumption that this is a unique situation (because the alternative is a difficult thing to grasp), I really think there's a lot of positive we can take from this if we consider the opposite. Accepting and sitting with 'bad' feelings is a valuable skill, something we can hopefully keep talking about when we're not all sitting in them together, when it's less easy to feel empathy, but when we have some additional strength to share around. When we're curious about others and their real experiences, and are willing and able to open the spaces to have conversations about it. When we ask "how are you?" without any weight of expectation or toxic positivity weighing us down and forcing us to respond "OK", "Good thanks" and nothing to follow.
I would like to be able to keep having those conversations when I need them. I don't need to have them all the time. I don't need to have them with everyone. I don't need to have them with the same people. But I do need to keep having them, to get past my feelings by feeling them.
Of course, there's always happy hour and cake, and they have their place too.