When we’re in the midst of strong emotions, they feel like Life Itself. Like a Permanent State. Something Big and Important and Real. (yes, caps intentional…). I’ve been observing how ephemeral and fleeting my emotions can be – like the wind, like a river.
And while they’re ephemeral, they are a soul-barometer, in many ways and ought to be heeded.
So it seems to me to be a dance – to be “in it but not of it” – to ride the rapids and not drown.
I’m a passionate, emotionally expressive woman and I have noticed over the years how uncomfortable that makes people, most especially when the emotions coursing down the river-bed are “negative” ones like grief or anger.
This past fall I had a panoply of ‘bad’ news – my beloved feline companion of 14 years, Caitlin Marie, died very abruptly on Halloween. A close friend, not quite 46 years old, got diagnosed with some scary cancer. Several other dear friends also got cancer. While my own life was “fine” my heart was just aching with Caity’s death, and my friends’ cancer.
What made it all more challenging was the way many friends/acquaintances wanted me to “just get over it”. Particularly annoying was the “oh, can’t you get another cat soon?” remarks. Yes, I can and yes, I will but Caity wasn’t a ‘replaceable part’ and I felt huge grief at her passing.
Grief makes people uncomfortable. A new friend told me I could choose another reaction to all the loss. Sure, and i could have a hot fudge sundae or a case of Beck’s beer to try to make it go away, too.
I think it’s as much a mistake to ignore our emotions as it is to ‘believe’ them or get stuck there. Yes, they’re only passing through us in the end – but since, I think, they are here to alert us it seems like a good idea to pay attention.
Sometimes I find it difficult to be me – all that passion and intensity – I wear myself out at times. I wonder if I’m like Shakespeare’s “tale told by an idiot – full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.”
But then I think of the alternative – emotional vapidity. You know, “Same old, same old”. The walking dead.
It’s hard to grieve. Or to be angry. Lonely to be sad. But you know? Beats the hell out of the flatlands of not-caring and “fine.”
How about you? What do you make of “the rollercoaster ride that my emotions have to take me on” (to quote Neil Young)?