Photo by Heather M. Edwards on Unsplash
I haven’t been feeling like myself lately – I imagine nobody has. There’s a global crisis afoot, in the world we call home, and it has merely been a few weeks since it arrived on our doorsteps. It knocked softly at first, I barely even heard it. From what I knew at the time, I didn’t even consider letting it in. But as the weeks carried on, the knocks became louder and louder.
I tried to maintain my stance, which was to minimize and remain calm, but as it continued to uproot anything and everything, it became harder to ignore. For the most part, I’ve been thinking positively and taking the high road. Recognizing the bigger picture and practicing gratitude, but a couple days ago I hit a point where I just couldn’t do that anymore.
It felt like I was reluctantly standing in line for something, but I had no idea what that something was. I was sensitive and brittle, as my patience wore thin, and I lashed out and became increasingly irritated at the people right next to me. When I recognized this displacement, I stepped out of the line to complain. I was exhausted and angry, with tears streaming down my face, but when I arrived at the front, there was no one to be found. Just an empty seat and a vast amount of space between here and now.
The truth is, I don’t want to feel angry. A sense of guilt washes over me when I admit that I am – but I am. I’m angry about what’s happening and the way it’s destroying everything we relied on and everything we knew. I’m angry with the media and their complete lack of regard, always taking advantage and figuring out the most potent way to expose our fragility. I’m angry that time has been ripped away from me and my family and friends – moments have been lost – and most importantly, I’m angry because I don’t know where to put this fucking anger.
This is a different type of fight, there’s no clear cut sides because we are fighting it together, and I’m not sure if we have ourselves to blame yet or not. We haven’t been the greatest guests on this earth. In fact, we’ve been pretty selfish – continually consumed by our own bullshit – but I don’t know how to change that either. As an individual person, it seems incredibly overwhelming considering where we currently are.
They say this doom and gloom has triggered a feeling of grief in a lot of people, and I can definitely attest to that. It’s a nonlinear process which is what makes it so exhausting. I’ve jumped between the different stages on the daily; justifying, crying, yelling and reassuring. It’s a perfect storm for emotional chaos and that’s exactly what’s happening.
Although, somewhere in the disarray – while most of my thoughts and feelings clumped together in a jumbled up mess – I somehow managed to have a single moment of clarity, a moment that made sense, amongst so many that didn’t. And that moment, the one that currently brings me some comfort is this: despite everything else, we NEED to FEEL right now.
Right now we are in a situation that is causing us to sit with our emotions, all of our emotions, all at once. We are being forced to explore them and experience them fully, with no end in sight. For most, this is an uncomfortable undertaking. It’s a powerless and out of control pursuit that is inducing new experiences and emotions, while at the same triggering our past struggles and traumas. It’s vulnerability at its finest.
But one thing I know for sure, with no qualms in sight, is that with adversity comes strength. And that strength doesn’t arise by simply pushing through to the other side, it emerges as we face the storm of our emotions head on, no matter how hard and scary it becomes. Because when we don’t deny them, when we give them the space they need to breath, to be expressed and to dissipate, we always, always come out stronger.
I don’t know what will happen for our world, for our health, for our freedom, or for our economy, but I do know we as human beings will come out better because of this. We will be more attuned and more adept with the complexities of who we are. We will have skills that will potentially alter our level of consciousness, we will be closer and we will talk differently to one another because we saw each other open up, and we will have empathy for one another because we had empathy for ourselves first.
So for now, between the periods of kindness and hope, I think the best thing we can do is to feel. To let ourselves sink deeply into our emotions. To let ourselves express them and fully feel them, even if we don’t know exactly where they should go. And we should trust that during this catch and release, the moments won’t always be comfortable, in fact, they will be far from it, but like anything else in life, that’s when growth happens. And amongst all the uncertainty that is currently tainting our sense of self, hopefully we can find some confidence and solidity and that guarantee.