How to feel the shit you'd rather avoid (without gaining 12 pounds) - Kristen Kalp

How to feel the shit you’d rather avoid (without gaining 12 pounds)

I don’t want to feel this.

There are tears springing out of face against my will and I want them to stop.

Help me out, brain: I don’t want to feel this. Options?

I take a mental run through the refrigerator, the freezer, and the pantry.

No sugar, no salt, no alcohol. STUPID WISE GROCERY DECISIONS.

Okay, distractions! I need some of those! Let’s bust out some social media and click away on the interwebs for an hour or three!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child just came out and I don’t yet have my copy. If I see a spoiler on social media, I’ll be angry at myself.

Human distractions! I need some of those! I think of friends to call to get out of the house at this moment, but it’s 7:32 p.m. on a Sunday.

They’re all busy working or winding down for the evening. (I asked.)

Solo distractions! I can come up with something wonderful and lovely and ‘just think positive thoughts, yay life is unicorns’ to do! A long bath! Painting! A book that isn’t your one-day-late Amazon preorder delivery of the Cursed Child!

I don’t want to DO something, I just DON’T want to feel this.

I don’t smoke.

I don’t do drugs.

I’ve already watched reality TV and taken a nap.

I’m all alone.

I’M GOING TO HAVE TO FEEL THIS.

I lean back into the couch and breathe into my belly while tears run down my cheeks for years.

I’M FEELING THIS, GODDAMMIT.

I’m not numbing it, stuffing it, shifting it, projecting it, transmuting it, or avoiding it. Just feeling it.

Juuuuuuuuuust…feeeeeeeelliiiiiing…it.

The storm rumbles through and passes within ten minutes.

I FELT THAT AND DIDN’T DIE. (Can we make a bumper sticker for feels, like we have for cars that have climbed the biggest mountains?)

Sometimes, the pure act of feeling is our hardest work as humans: facing the full spectrum of emotions without trying to distract them away via food, drink, uppers, downers, smartphones, other people, or more fun/interesting/useful/practical activities.

It’s challenging. It doesn’t taste as good as cookies or as fun as a new movie or as delightful as an old friend who’s willing to meet up when you call.

But on the other side? We get to say we’ve experienced the full spectrum of being alive. We get to point out to our tomorrow morning selves, ever so smugly, that we didn’t have seven milkshakes and a bottle of champagne for dinner.

We get to go the edges of ourselves and back, and we are always (always always — even when we think we’re not — ALWAYS) better for having made the journey.

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