Dealing with Emotions

I felt it more this week-the rising tide of anger washing over tired bones and a weary soul that had stuffed it down, deep into the depths of the sea of emotions for too long.

I could feel it as my usual sarcastic barbs with co-workers had more of a sting than I intended. Could feel it as eyes would widen with surprise or fear–I can’t tell–and they would jokingly back away with hands raised and say they’re going to get out before I blow up. Because I was the unemotional, stoic person at work, apparently, and this portrayal of any emotion was surprising.

But it was just a joke.

Right?

I can’t tell.

And I hate thinking that they think that I am just this quiet, stoic person who never shows any emotion. Because if they saw me in my true element, they’d see a completely different side of me, one full of smiles and laughs and stupid sarcasm.

But I guess this week, they saw the angry side of me.

And I hate that they have seen this side of me, the one I don’t let be in control because angry Kaylee is a Kaylee I have never fully known and never want to fully know.

Angry Kaylee is not the road-rage-riddled words she yells at passing cars who offend her, nor is she the staccato, stiff movements of annoyance. She is not the jealous rage of not getting her way, nor is she even the cold-shouldered lack of words followed with a retreat into her cold, hardened shell when the anger becomes too much.

No, she is the lava river of rage flowing into her blood, making it boil over in an overwhelming flood of emotion she knows she cannot keep contained unless she goes somewhere to cool down. To breathe in, to breathe out. To breathe in, to breathe out. To breathe in, to breathe out.

Lava cools to embers that flicker only occasionally.

But in the lava was a vicious need and adept ability to verbally rip into her assailant, to wield words as a weapon while aiming at the psychological pinpoints of her target.

This Kaylee never surfaces.

Not even in the past week, when she felt the lava begin to harden and flow until she quickly breathed cold whispers into it, murmuring, “Calm. Calm. It’s going to be okay. You’re fine.”

Really, the anger I have felt this week wasn’t on account of anything anyone did to me. If anything, it was on account of my emotions. I was overwhelmed, anxious, stressed, sad, empty, numb. Bordering on the brink of depression again, so instead of feeling nothing, my mind and body craved to feel something–so it felt anger.

But anger is not who I am. It may be in the red-head DNA of the very fibers of my being, but even this does not wholly define who I am.

And I think that’s an important thing to remember–not just for me, but for all of us. What we are feeling in the moment, what we are feeling in the week . . . it does not define us. Our characteristics, especially the ones that are associated with emotions, do not define us.

Maybe it’s time that we as a society–that we as humans–begin to acknowledge our feelings in the moment. We stuff them down deep inside of our core, hide them from plain sight so we don’t have to deal with them. But when we apply pressure to keep them down that far inside of us, we are only creating a counterforce that will blow up right in our faces whenever the emotion and the pressure becomes too much.

So if you’re feeling sad, acknowledge it. Ask yourself why you feel that way. Try to get to the cause, and remedy it if you can. And then move on.

Do the same if you feel happy, joyful, angry, anxious, content, stressed, peaceful, depressed–do the same with any and every emotion you may have.

I think society has always made us think we can’t show our bad emotions. We can show the good emotions we experience in our good lives that we share about on social media. But those bad emotions cannot make the headlines of our personal front pages. They must be shoved down in the dark depths of who we are.

Please do yourself a favor, like I am starting to do myself a favor–please acknowledge your emotions. It sounds ridiculous to those who have never done so or were taught growing up to never talk about how they were feeling, but you will be surprised at how freeing it is to just sit with yourself and your emotions and tell yourself it’s going to be okay, even when you’re feeling some type of way.

You don’t have to let that overwhelming tide of emotions wash over you and send you searching for breath. Instead, you can breathe in, breathe out, and let yourself ride the wave of whatever emotion you feel in that moment.

And then you can just breathe . . . and be.

As I will just breathe, and be, even when anger tries to consume me.

But it cannot consume me when I call it by its name and accept it for what it is.

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