Dealing With Emotions (that you don’t want to deal with)

I’m no expert on the topic. I can barely stand to be around people who are crying because it makes me so uncomfortable.

I put on a brave face (mask) and try to go about life as normal as possible (which is horrible, but many people including me do this every day).

There are these emotions that we all have that some of us know how to deal with, while others of us have no clue what to do when the show up unexpectedly at our front doors, barging in. I would be one of those who just stands dumbfounded at the door as the emotions barge right in, before realizing what I have done. Then, I immediately shove them right back out and put a double lock on the door. I wasn’t big on emotions when I was younger. I don’t know why, but I felt stupid crying in front of people. I felt like it was an ugly thing that should be done in private if you were over the age of 10. I didn’t know that those views I held (strong views for a child) were unhealthy. Now, I know that crying and showing emotion is healthy, yet my brain and body don’t really act accordingly.

I watch a lot of television. Enormous amounts. If I’m not reading something, or Twitter stalking, then I’m watching television. You probably think “what does this have to do with the price of tea in China?” Well, it has a lot to do with the emotion thing. I started to get involved with theatre this year (which has been an interest I have had but kept getting put on the back burner due to negative tapes inside my head), and I must say that every since my interest was at an all time high (these past 2 years), I have been a super TV addict. I started to feel the emotion of the performances. The shows that I probably have been the most emotional over (crying-wise) have been ER, Downton Abbey, The X-Files, and Law & Order: SVU. I won’t get into specifics now, but when watching these shows, emotions (and tears!!) showed up that I was not ready to deal with. I literally hide my face if I am watching TV with someone else and get emotional. I just don’t know how to deal with them. I also noticed that I feel this onslaught of emotions when I see people give birth (I’ve noticed it when I’ve read natural parenting blogs on the topic) or when I think about adopting kids (which I really want to do), and watching creative marriage proposals. I fear that all of the unreleased feelings are coming out regarding things that aren’t “worthwhile”, as my mother likes to put it (though they are worthwhile to me).

Rewind to last night. I was browsing tumblr instead of doing homework (like every good college student), and I came across this video. It is of the performance artist Marina Abramovic performing a piece called The Artist Is Present in the MoMA back in 2010. Now for those of you who are late to the game (like me), Marina was a pretty big deal back in the day. She is known as the “grandmother of performance art” and her and her lover Ulay performed shocking things that caught the attention of many. In this piece for MoMA, she sat in a chair, completely still and people of all walks of life would line up outside to sit in 15 minute intervals in a chair that was across from her. Some people smiled uncomfortably, others cried. Some placed their hands over their hearts, which Marina then copied, the unspoken “thank yous” and “your welcomes” being passed through their subtle gestures. When I watched the video, the first things I felt were “I feel like I need to cry” and this sense of being exposed and just vulnerable in that moment. I wasn’t in the chair across from the beautiful Serbian woman. I was behind a computer screen. Yet I felt these things. I thought to myself “Woah? Where did that come from?”. I don’t know what it is about the art that moved me, but I sure was moved. I felt like this performance could teach me things about myself that I didn’t know.  But these emotions that I am still struggling to decipher are still here. I had to watch the video again several times, because the sheer beauty of the performance

I highly suggest you look this woman up because she is amazing. I am going to order the film that was made about this particular performance and her life in general. I feel like I will learn things about myself and life through her performances. They certainly make you think. (This also is completely unrelated, but Marina is friends with Björk, whom I adore).

So what am I going to do the next time emotions show up that I don’t want to deal with? I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll come back to this post and reflect on what I felt at the time of writing this and then compare to see how far I’ve come. Every day I have to struggle to catch my emotional intelligence up to the rest of me. Hopefully I can look back and see changes.

Maybe I’ll just think of Marina and be open and say yes to the emotions (as long as they are beneficial to my well-being).


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