There was a time when I thought that emotions were bad, and I really just wanted them gone. I had been hurt and disappointed so many times that I just didn’t want to feel anything anymore. During this time, I started watching one of my favoritest TV shows ever, Once Upon A Time. If you haven’t seen it, I would definitely recommend watching at least the first season. The whole show is all about hope and love, and it always managed to brighten my day. I’m getting off topic, though.
In one of the early episodes, one of the main characters, Emma, said, “Not feeling anything is an attractive option when what you’re feeling sucks.” I honestly don’t remember why she said it, but I do remember hearing that and thinking, “That’s it! I just need to stop feeling and then nobody can hurt me anymore!” Of course, when I thought that I was completely missing the whole point of the episode (and the series, really). That season was all about Emma learning to feel again and how important it is to push through and keep feeling despite your circumstances, but I wasn’t focused on that. I was thinking about how great it would be to finally get to a point where no one could hurt me. I would literally be impenetrable.
A lot of you can probably see how this is a bad thing, but when you’re hurting like I was at the time (maybe I’ll write more about it later) you’re really not thinking about anything but making the pain stop. I started making it my focus not to feel anything, and I can honestly tell you that I succeeded. I got to the point where I didn’t feel anything. When people around me were all crying during sad scenes in a movie, I sat there like a rock. Things that used to hurt me, didn’t anymore. I didn’t cry, and much later I started realizing that it was because I couldn’t cry anymore. I had literally shut down that part of myself.
It wasn’t until about a year later (around the point where I realized I couldn’t cry anymore) that it started to scare me. It really felt like there was this void inside of me. For some reason, I felt like crying would be the way to make it go away. Almost subconsciously, I got into a relationship I knew was going to be bad because I knew it would help me cry, and it did. Whenever I would cry, I would feel better for a moment, but it would never go away.
I guess it really wasn’t until I fell in love and got out of that relationship that it really did go away. I felt a lot before I made the decision to stop feeling, but I feel so much more now. I guess in a way I may be overly emotional now, but I’m okay with it. I think it’s because I know what it’s like not to feel, and I never want to go back to that place. It truly is a scary place to be.
I guess what I’m saying is this. Emotions can suck. They can cause you intense pain and grief, and it is possible to get to the point where you don’t feel it anymore. You can make yourself impenetrable, but remember what you’re also giving up: your compassion, love, joy, and hope. Your humanity. I can tell you from experience that it isn’t worth it.
*As always, if you have any questions, comments, concerns, etc. you can always e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave something in the comments section (even though you may not be able to see it, you can now post anonymously).*