Being emotional is freedom.
Being emotional is also an insult. We conspire to tell the story that some people are rational, making sensible decisions that should be followed, and some people are emotional so should be discounted.
We have two alternatives, to have feelings or emotions. We sense our own feelings, and give little outward sign of them, or perforce show our emotions with our faces and bodies for all to see. And deride. The dominant person, usually male, has and shows the right feelings and emotions which we admire, and lower status people are emotional, because they feel the wrong things which get in the way of sane and sensible decisions.
I notice my mouse hardly moves the pointer. Great sweeps of my hand barely move it an inch. So I swap it with another. I have to change my password, and oddly make the same miskey the twice I type it, so the computer and I disagree about what it is. So I can’t log in again. I call computer support, which can take over my computer to let me reset my password but not this computer. So I have to switch on the other computer, pass the phone over the screen between the booths, pull out enough of its cable to let it sit on the desk, go back and get the other mouse….
And all I wanted was to log on, which I should do in a jiffy and without help! I am humiliated. Not by others who are happy to help and pass the phone over, but by the distance between my desire and my power. And much of my energy goes on suppressing that feeling below my own consciousness, which I think means that my body shows it to everyone as emotion, though I do not have the brass neck to ask. Rather than being my fuel, my unacceptable emotions hobble me.
All this is hard work. Ten hours a week with others is exhausting to me.
Of course your feelings are intense, says Tina. Consider children, how their joy is unbounded, their rage and misery too, and then they notice adults do not behave that way, and stop.
She was so delighted by the joy of her grandson! We clustered round her phone to watch in delight.
My current idea of mastery is feeling my feelings so they do not show as emotion, rather than my old tactic of suppressing them out of consciousness. Showing them, being allowed to, admired rather than despised for them seems impossible.
Why would you not want your feelings seen? Because they are mine, and no one else’s. My sense of the world not a weapon to be held against me, a traitor inside my brain. And I do not want to suppress them, because that means suppressing my own voice. I want to be heard.
So I am pleased when I can say to Tina “I find it hard to believe anything good about myself, or that anyone could have regard for me”. Rather than suppress the feeling and have it manifest in tears I feel it so can say the sentence with only a slight quaver in my voice. This is progress. It means I get better at seeing who and how I am rather than suppressing it because it is too painful to admit.
My inability to accept my feelings disempowers me so that I cannot know myself or others. I am stymied, trussed up by it.
How might a “party” be? Twenty minutes in the group room making desultory conversation while a cake sits uneaten in a corner, or the afternoon off drinking and getting a taxi home from the nightclub at three? Somewhere between these extremes. I am unsure where, and I need to Know so I will not be disappointed. I do not go, though I have been invited- valued more than I value myself- as this session has been so much hard work.
Or how might others see me? To be despised or beloved. Such extremes, neither likely. How might I see better?
All this is hard work. I am still learning the lessons of teenage.
I had not wanted to go to the office. I had no motivation. I had to force myself. Yet when I went it was alright. People were OK.