I was just talking with my sister about how I don’t like how our society handles the word strength. We tell people to be strong during hard times, essentially telling them to stuff all the negative or sad emotions they may have during that time way down and ignore them. And we comply.
We may go to therapy to get out those emotions instead of expressing them to others. We may take up martial arts or be gruff with others. We stop communicating as we should, insulating ourselves from anything that could possibly hurt us. We act tough, manly, impervious to problems around us.
Why do we do that? Why do we deny ourselves the ability to experience our emotions?
I have learned that I can’t do it anymore.
A long time ago, I was told to be strong by several people. I think it started when I was first sick and everyone thought I was dying. I saw how much it hurt others if I ‘bothered’ them with how I wasn’t feeling well. That continued on and I didn’t really speak up for myself.
I held in emotions, becoming frankly a giant asshole. Kelsey would do something silly like spill water on me and I’d go off and get angry instead of playful. I’ve not always been a nice sister, or person for that matter. I’m coming to terms with the fact that it’s okay. No one is perfect. Kelsey and I have done a lot to piss each other off – but we’re always there for each other when we need support, and that’s the point of sisters.
I have learned that holding in emotion is literally toxic for me. If I have a big emotion and don’t express it but instead hold it in, it causes a few of my chronic pain illnesses to act up. Then it turns into a cycle of holding in emotions and getting worse and worse.
That’s a big part of why I’ve been writing more lately. Getting out emotions and writing things to remind myself what to do has been really cathartic.
I’ve written a lot about dealing with my childhood recently. It’s being a really difficult process. Everyone acts like there’s no way dysfunction goes into abuse or that they’ve experienced it. There is no normal, but there is definitely a point where dysfunction is much more than that.
As a part of all this, it’s important for me to get emotions off my chest. I’ve written before about how healing music can be for me, so I’ve put together a playlist to handle those emotions when I’m at work or in situations where music is allowed but it may not be the time/place to deal with things otherwise.