Mastering your emotions

Although it’s morning/afternoon for folks in the Western Hemisphere, it’s past midnight for me and I’m up contemplating my emotions, wondering what I’ve done.

For my entire life, my emotions have ruled me. Up until maybe a year ago, I was obsessive, passionate, manic at times, depressed at others. I was always riding the highest high or the lowest low. I could feel EVERYTHING, my skin was always prickling and my hairs were always standing on end.

I wasn’t so much creative as I was seized by a torrent of words that would rush through me, a storm started by some sort of emotional state. I was writing sporadically, but I was always “going through something,” so I was also writing quite regularly.

I felt like there was something wrong with me and I hated it. I hated myself for not having a hold on my emotions. I hated the lack of restraint and fantasized that one day I would be a woman of composure, one whose cool was hardly ever broken. And these days, I’m nearly there.

Living in Korea for 1 + years means that when I’m awake and “going through something,” it’s most likely 3 a.m. for my loved ones, so I gotta solve my own problems. At first, this sent me into a tailspin, but over time, little-by-little, it has evolved into a level of calm that I would describe as “can’t be bothered.” There is a knowledge that the darker feelings are there, but since I know I don’t really have the support system of best friends and mentors and confidantes to help me work through them, they never quite pierce the surface.

Funny thing is that in the past, I would always try to get over my breakups by talking about them 24/7, and my cousin would always tell me that if I talked about them less I would feel them less. How funny that she was right about not only that, but feelings too.

So now I live this existence where I’m no longer swept away; I’m no longer marooned on an island surrounded by a sea of my own feelings. I feel angry sometimes….but it’s not rage. It’s more of an intellectual annoyance that dies out after a few quips and some simple statements aimed to directly cut through to the heart of the matter. I feel depressed sometimes….but again, it’s more in my head than my heart. I think thoughts like “I am feeling depressed right now. I am not a happy woman today.” But then I binge watch a TV show or read a novel, and I can’t be bothered to feel my “depression” so intensely.

I am, more or less, exactly the woman I set out to make myself in college, and you know what?

I worry that along the way I ruined something that was key to my essential Bryoney-ness. I barely know this person who thinks sarcastic thoughts and communicates her feelings in a succinct and concise way. Years ago, I felt like the only way I could express the torrent of emotions pouring through me was with writing. Now, I go through most of my days feeling completely uninspired, and asking myself when it’s OK to give up on a dream.

I feel less and less convinced that I’ll ever actually write that novel, and I wonder if this whole haphazard writer “dream” didn’t get started because it was just the first thing I can remember anyone saying I was good at, and I fixated on it.

Sometimes I think I’d like to be a chef. But then again, they say don’t ruin your hobbies by making them into careers.

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