Warning: This isn’t my “usual” kind of post.
Feel All the Feels
“I can’t even” is a regular phrase in my vernacular. Sometimes I say it to be funny, and sometimes I say it because it’s true.
Full disclosure: I feel overwhelmed sometimes.
Like everyone else in the world, I have a lot of stuff going on in my life. I’m dealing with health issues, family issues, and financial issues… I’m also trying to figure out my path and purpose in life, and sometimes it all just gets to be a bit much.
We all have different ways of coping with life and it’s challenges. When I have a headache, I’ll reach for an ibuprofen. When I’ve had a long day, I’ll open a bottle of wine. I usually take an Ativan on a trans-Atlantic flight so that I’ll forget that I’m flying over a giant body of very deep water, and I’ll be able to enjoy the in-flight movie.
Life can be overwhelming, and scary, and hard. Sometimes you just want to deaden, or forget, whatever it is you are feeling. You can’t even, you don’t want to, and you won’t.
But sometimes, it’s good to feel all the feels.
Hear me out.
Three months ago I booked a trip to Hawaii for the second week of November. I knew it would be welcome relief from Vancouver’s November’s gloom, but I forgot that it was also the week of the U.S. election, and the whole country would be in full fever pitch.
Aside from my election anxiety, I was behind on school and writing deadlines, thinking about upcoming medical appointments, and worried about the responsibilities piling up at home. I had also decided that my Hawaiian vacation would be the perfect time to figure out my path and purpose (no pressure!), because I would have plenty of time to think about my life while taking long walks on the beach and swimming with turtles.
I found myself sitting on a beach in Oahu, trying very hard to relax and enjoy the experience, but it just wasn’t working.
My mind was elsewhere.
About halfway through the week I finally admitted to my husband that I didn’t think I was enjoying the vacation as much as I should be. He said that he could tell, and that he had been feeling similarly… Life is a bit hard sometimes, and you can’t necessarily push that out of your mind – even if you are in Hawaii.
So, in order to make ourselves feel better, we drank several Maitais and went on the hotel’s waterslide 66 times (my husband counted).
It helped a little.
The next morning, I got a text that a friend had passed away after a long battle with cancer. It was all just a bit much. I felt my throat tighten, my pulse quicken, and the tears starting to form in the corners of my eyes.
I wanted it all to stop. I didn’t want to feel this way (or any way for that matter). I wanted to forget about everything that was going on, and try to enjoy my last few hours in this beautiful place. I went to the window and stared out at the ocean. The waves were 20 feet high, and I watched as they rolled in, crested, and broke.
And then, I cried.
I finally allowed myself to feel all of the sadness, disappointment, regret, and heartache that had been welling up inside of me.
And then, I laughed.
I laughed because I had forgotten how much better it feels to allow yourself to have an emotional and physical reaction, and I wondered why I had tried so hard, for so long, to hold it all in.
When I allowed myself to feel, I started to feel better. Good or bad, joy or sorrow… Sometimes it’s good to feel all of the feels.
We are humans.
We feel things.
It is a gift.