Feelings. Complicated, they are.

i-woke-up-like-this-36I was infected with some grumpiness yesterday. It started around 1:30pm with me feeling lethargic and then turned into a general irritability. It’s like those commercials where that little grey cloud follows somebody around everywhere. Except my little grey cloud only comes by once in a while, unannounced and usually drunk. The frustrating part is I haven’t figured out why I’m grumpy, which makes me grumpier.

It’s not something that happens often. But when it does, the effects linger. I don’t like how it feels; this unexplained emotional and physical frustration. But it’s crazy to think that I’m immune to “waking up on the wrong side of the bed.” I am human after all. I’m allowed to be grumpy once in a while.

baby led weaning
I’ll admit, when this was happening, it was hilarious.

It’s the not knowing that frustrates me. One thing I’ve been trying to do, as a spiritual discipline, is be more mindful about the what and why that I’m feeling. I want to be more aware of what is going on in my mind and body. If I find myself feeling frustrated (say, because we’re introducing solid foods into Toby’s diet and his eating style doesn’t play well with the freshly cleaned floors on which I worked pretty hard) I can check in with that frustration, name it, acknowledge it, and then come back to center.

Of course, easier said than done. While I’m finding this technique works most of the time, sometimes the feelings linger. Like right now. Why am I feeling grumpy? It is because of the stress I’m feeling looking for a new job? It is because of the multitude of demands on my time and attention from Toby and Heather and friends, all of who require (as they should) a significant commitment of intention? Is it the constant pain underneath my right shoulder blade? Is it the feeling that no matter how hard I try to keep the house in order, I never seem to make any headway?

acd0122aeaf8e0ec5a907f6f2e3cc5a8c9c4acb493c3b668efb5fbb3f29acb2fThe list can go on ad nauseum. None of it is overwhelming or horrible or even dire. In fact, my life is blessed in very significant ways which is part of the problem. There is the lingering guilt of “I shouldn’t be grumpy because look at how awesome my life is” which is an attempt at shaming myself into not feeling grumpy but actually adds to it.

Part of this discipline is reminding myself that I have a right to my feelings, as irrational as they can be. However, I want to respond to my emotions, rather than react to them. Part of that means I have to be more open to expressing them; talking about them when they happen, rather than keeping them hidden away from the world (and myself). If I find myself annoyed at the way things are piling up in my computer room, I need say that I’m unhappy with that pile, then to do something about it rather than just be angry that it exists.

motivator64e3dfd83fced12df166cbb2aaThis goes again my nature. I’m an ENFJ and a type 9 which makes me extremely conflict averse, and dealing with conflict means expending a ton of personal energy. Especially when it comes to being in conflict with myself. At my most healthy, I am the peacemaker that brings healing, balance and justice to tense and dangerous situations. At my most unhealthy I avoid conflict at any cost, whether it is through ignoring the problem, zoning out, or doping myself with food and binging on Netflix.

Looking into the future, I want to be healthy Justin, which means doing the hard work. So here I am, letting myself feel grumpy and NOT giving in to anesthetization. Naming the grump; giving myself permission to just be this way for right now. But also checking in with it; walking with it through the day, hoping it’ll tell me its story when it’s ready. Until then, I have work to do and people to love.

I nothing you.

Fine, see if I care! Go ahead and jump.

A friend of mine and I were in the car recently talking about relationships ending. Not just romantic ones; personal ones of any kind. Sometimes friendships grow apart. Lovers break up. Family members have feuds. In all circumstances, strong emotions are involved.

Hate is just another way of loving somebody; except without gooey fluffy stuff. Both involve obsession, physical unease, tears and catharsis. They inspire bad poetry and 80’s rock ballads. Love and hate can lead a person to outlandish and freakish feats. Each leave a swath of destruction behind them. At least we give love the benefit of the doubt. Hate gets a bad rap because it’s all negative and stuff.

Kirby, little ball of hate?

My friend and I both agreed that it would be better to just ‘nothing’ somebody. When you see the person, you just don’t care anymore. They’re dead to you. Now THAT is the ultimate end to a relationship, when emotional attachments just cease to exist. I just wonder if this was even possible?

Human beings are emotional creatures. We have all these insane wonderful chemicals (estrogen, testosterone, endorphins, dopamine, serotonin) motivating us to love and hate and eat and cry and mate and watch Jersey Shore. They don’t make any sense! When one of these little bad boys get out of whack… well, we know what happens.

Sociopath? I thought I just had a chemical imbalance…

How do we just shut it down for someone, especially if we had some kind of relationship with them? Personally I think it is impossible except for the sociopathic. We like need to feel something towards others. It’s what glues society together and holds us back from mass murder.

At the end of the day, however, the best revenge is to just ‘nothing’ a person. It would end their control over your emotions.  It would be like they never existed, and for a human being, isn’t that the equivalent of hell? To never have existed at all, even when you do…