One of my regular blogs to read, Dancing Branflakes occasionally runs a series called From… Anonymous. In her words:
I started this anonymous series as a way to give you a platform to say what we wanted without judgement or identity.
When she ran this series in April, she simply asked the question “how are you”? The responses were astonishingly raw and moving. It was just after the Boston bombings and people were reeling from that tragedy and also dealing with all the distress and darkness and daily aggravation that life sometimes brings.
I love that Dancing Branflakes gives a space to people to voice their feelings. At the same time, I hate that we all feel the need to hide these emotions and deny their existence. Don’t get me wrong, I get it… there are a million reasons why we choose to keep our pain and our vulnerability close to our hearts and behind a veil. Especially on the Internet.
I can’t help but wonder, though, how many of those commenters simply do not feel that it’s okay to have these emotions in the first place. That it is not okay to feel sad, or angry, or scared.
I know that I have existed in that place for a very long time. A place where I felt I *shouldn’t* have those feelings. If I did? Yikes, clearly I was doing something wrong, I was not grateful enough, I was not trying enough, it was my fault and I was a bad person. So on top of feeling shitty in the first place, I loaded myself up with an extra helping of guilt.
Now, I am learning that all emotions are okay. That I need to actually feel those emotions and when I do, I can move through them and past them and actually spend LESS time in that negative state. It is normal and natural to experience the full range of emotions, from sad, to happy, to despairing, to elation and every nuance in between.
What’s more, I’m learning to not hide them from my inner circle. It’s amazing to me that when I do share, it’s a relief to both myself and to them. My closest friends and family feed my soul and, knowing that sometimes I suffer, they are able to bring their journey to the table with honesty too. We become closer.
This doesn’t mean wallowing, or engaging in a pity party. It just means accepting that not all days are good days. That I don’t always have to put on a happy face. That being real in these moments allows me to be more fully present in my life so that I can fully experience all the good times too.
May we all feel. May we know who is safe to share those feelings with and allow the sharing to build stronger connections and buffers of strength and wisdom. May we know joy and share that too.
And for those times when we can’t (because there are those times), may we all be grateful that there is this online community that can virtually hold our hands and let us know it will all be okay. That we are all okay.