Let me tell you about saving drafts of things before posting them or sending them. Good for emails that you want to get just right. Good for anything you’re writing for an audience. Wonderful to go back after letting it sit in the back of your mind, and getting it just how you want someone to read it.
But for this blog, which isn’t for an audience, drafts are crap.
If I write something and put it in drafts, it’s probably not coming out. I totally understand that there is an audience. Yep, there you are, reading my blog. Of course. But this blog isn’t for you! It’s for me. If you don’t get that, well, then you just haven’t been reading it long enough. I don’t know what my orignal purpose was for blogging, but over time, the purpose has become extremely clear: catharsis. “A purging or figurative cleansing of emotions.” Getting things out that I just can’t carry around anymore. The fact that there is an audience makes it all the more effective, if you ask me. It sort of forces the processing to continue, rather than shoving it all back in again. If I write it but put it in drafts, I chicken out about posting it. The next time I read it, I feel differently, and I realize just how vapid or selfish or angry or just stupid I was in that moment, and I don’t want to reveal that to the world. And instead of acknowledging, accepting, and processing that moment, it’s stuck in this limbo-land where I can’t shove it away, because I already wrote it all down, but I can’t move forward, because I’m unwilling to reveal it to the world.
Processing emotions is a slippery task. Just when you think things are going in the right direction, you find yourself back in the dark hole again. Not to mention all the factors that affect them! For me, things are always harder when I’m tired, hungry, or sugared up. (By which I mean, actual dietary sugar, not people being nice to me! 🙂 You should be nice to me. Please, sugar me up!)
A few things I’ve heard or learned about processing emotion:
-The story must be told. In some college class that I can’t remember the purpose of, a guest speaker came one day to talk to us about helping children process grief. She said that the story must be told like 50 times or something like that, before the grieving person can truly heal. I think that goes for many other emotions as well. (From another source: “Nobody should have to go through that and not be allowed to talk about it.”)
-You have to work through those moments until you can remember the event and emotion without experiencing the reaction all over again. The scary thing is when you can’t remember what happened, because oh my word, what is it going to feel like if you do allow yourself to remember?
-You also have to be able to experience emotion without thinking you are going to die from it. (“Horrible things do happen. Happiness in the face of all that? That’s not the goal. Feeling horrible and knowing you’re not going to die from those feelings, that’s the point.”)
Back to the point. Which is, believe it or not, related.
I believed my entire childhood that showing emotion, that feeling anything, was wrong. I shouldn’t be sad or upset, because whatever it is, it’s not as important as I think it is. But I shouldn’t be happy or excited, because then I’m just being annoying. And again, whatever I’m happy about, it’s not as important as I think it is. What I feel is not important. The things that affect me are not important.
I am not important.
But I can’t be anybody else. No matter how hard I try. One of the fundamental things about me is that, right or wrong, I live and die by my emotions. I can’t not be happy, and I can’t not be sad. There must be something fundamentally wrong with me, because I have emotions. So I need to be myself, with my emotions, but I need to do it in my little box, live in private, so that no one else will have to deal with me and my emotions.
At this point, I think I really am broken. I don’t know. I read those last thoughts and I realize on a logical level that it’s just not true. But how to fix it? I can’t go back and undo 28 years of experience. I can’t just tell myself, it’s all a lie, go out into the world and let someone else get close enough to deal with you and your emotions. Part of me thinks that I am doomed to be alone, because I don’t know how to be together. All I really know is how not to be a pest. Which means I make an awesome roommate, but not such a good friend when we’re not roommates anymore. Which means nobody is ever going to get close enough to me to want to live with me for the rest of their life.
Part of me thinks I should have married the man who gave me a ring but was mean and controlling. Or I should have fought harder for the man with whom I was madly in love, in the way that only 18-year-olds can be, even though being with me for a solid seven months scared him into cheating on me with the girl that he was with before me. At least I wouldn’t be alone. Now I have higher standards, dang it anyway. But people with higher standards want nothing to do with me. And more importantly, I can’t let them in or let myself feel anything for them, lest they get annoyed with me and go away.
It goes for friendship as well. God forbid I call someone after she gets married or after she has a baby, because clearly she has more important things in her life, and I’m just being a pest. That is how distance grows in a friendship, and they probably think I’m trying to “friend break up” with them or whatever, but I just can’t get up the courage to call, because I don’t want to give them a reason to “friend break up” with me.
It is quite the irony. “I’m going to stay away from you so that you don’t leave me.”
I am such a mess.
No drafts here, just straight from the heart, out the fingers. Authentic living. Blogging boldly.
…There might be something to this authentic blogging business…