Our culture seems to fear the feeling of sadness. We accept that we must experience it. But the sooner we move on from it, the better. A girl is left by her boyfriend, and we allow her a day or two of anger and dramatic grief but then it’s “Buck up, girl. Get back out there. Cheer up. Don’t sit around & wallow”.
It seems that we believe that feelings of sadness, grief, dull thudding emotional pain are to be avoided. At all costs. And should someone rather choose to sit & let these wash about one’s self, we consider this person ungrateful, childish, moody, self indulgent or, my worst of the worst, weak.
But like the black Yin against the white Yang, downtime, sadness and dull emotions (considering the intensity of anger, I’d put it in the yang) exist in equal measure to happiness, laughter, love and hate. And if this is so, then it would be unhealthy to deny it equal time.
I have only realised such an idea in the past couple of months. I have spent years denying myself the feeling of sadness, especially as I have one but-gorgeous life with more than I could wish for (in terms of family, friends, sense of self, materialism, opportunities, chutzpah etc.). Should I have “felt sorry for myself” for an extended period (more than an hour), then I was being ungrateful. Move on, Move up, Smile kiddo, and Laugh!
As of late I have made attempts to sit in the sadness when it has appeared, and let it wash through. Apparently this is healthy. People ask, “What’s wrong” and I have no answer. It is not that anything is wrong, something just made me sad, and I need time and space to process this.
For the past month I had this feeling. Hell, years of denying it means there is a whole heap of sadness desperately waiting to yin-yang its way through my tiny body. There I sat, but not happily. Ouch Ouch Ouch, I moaned. But I did not give myself a chance to avoid it. Get through and out already, silly emotion
Then my birthday hit and the most welcome of distractions was accorded to me. I was meant to go off my head insane and laugh my curly locks silly.
Following that weekend, I was again faced with the emotion I am still scared of. I am terrified that if I let it in to my conscious, it will become the squatter of sensations and never be able to be evicted. And so, I have just done what I have spent so many other years doing, I avoided it to an extreme.
Extreme = Men, booze, mood swings and other mind-numbing indulgences. I have kept ordering one more drink until no more bar is open. I have been arriving at work two hours later than I am contracted for. Drunken memory losses reoccur, as even my subconscious is out to avoid. And even when I have slept but three hours & consumed double my body weight in wine, I feel just fine the next day. So fine I could (and used to) do it again the next night. I pump on adrenalin, and so sleep is only needed when I have exhausted myself to the point of not having to dream. Food is a side irritation, something that is picked at while dramatically divulging the night before’s tales. Yesterday someone commented at the yoga class about my failing attendance. The gym has not seen me pass through their turnstile in ages. I have been bouncing off the walls, literally and figuratively.
I never said avoidance was not great fun, and makes for one lively past.
The difference this time is, I am aware of what I am doing. Unlike the other times, where I chase the “numbness” to the point of severe fatigue & toxins overriding me, I have caught myself mid-spin. And I am slamming on the brakes like they are failing on a downhill.
And I am going back to that place that I hate. Where the emotion crawls and tickles under my skin. And I wriggle about but do not move from my couch until it has passed.
Fcking sucks really.
And don’t worry. I will still enjoy a glass or two with some of you this evening. Rather… Cheers to me for becoming healthy, and yinning my yang, while yanging my yin.
[Update: After some confusing comments, and rereading I realised - I do not plan on lying staring at a ceiling for months on end waiting to be magically healed. "My couch" implies downtime, quieter activities and recognising that this feeling is in me rather than trying to find means to numb or change it.]