“Yoga newsletter. Negative emotions.”
This is one of seven prompts I have set for myself of random things that I’ve thought of, in an attempt to push myself to write more. For a moment, I couldn’t figure out why I was having negative feelings about a yoga newsletter. I mean, I feel frustrated that the current schedules and locations available don’t work with the time I have available, and where I’m working and living. But then I remembered.
It was a note about how one of the instructors is often asked about positions and practices that can help cleanse the body of negative emotions. And how she has to gently correct those inquiring – while yoga as a practice can help the body and help bring wonderful emotions, it’s about being in the moment and experiencing all of life, in her view. That includes things we often call “negative” emotions, like fear, sadness, and anger.
I was really glad to read that, actually. Yes, those feelings are uncomfortable and no one enjoys having to experience the breath-stealing moments of fear, the electric hot fury of losing their temper or the bone-weary darkness of deep sorrow. But they’re part of life.
It reminded me, a little bit, of the movie Inside Out. Joy can’t figure out what Sadness’s job is. She feels like her fellow emotion doesn’t help. And then there’s a moment, where Bing Bong is very, very sad. Joy tries to be silly to cheer him up, and it isn’t working. She’s frustrated, and beginning to panic and turns away for just a moment. In that moment, Sadness sits down beside him and affirms what he’s feeling. She touches him, sits close, and listens to him just talk about it. She reassures him by being there with him in that moment and accepting that he feels sad. She allows him the space and time to feel. And it works. After a moment, the worst bits of the sorrow pass, and he takes a deep breath, says he’s better, and gets up to go on.
Joy is very confused, and doesn’t understand. She even asks Sadness what she did.
We need that. We need moments to be allowed to just BE whatever we are, even the so-called bad things. Should we wallow in those moments, and let them feed on themselves and grow beyond what is needful? No. Like everything, balance is needed. But sometimes, a good venting of anger, a good cry to release a sad feeling, or allowing our hearts to race with fear, and then take a deep breath and go on are exactly what is needed to help us stay mentally and emotionally healthy.
It’s stressful to be happy all the time. It feels forced, because it is.
I sometimes wonder if we get burned out on being happy, or upbeat, and that’s why people have to do progressively more extreme things to cheer themselves up or experience excitement.
I love giggling so hard I can’t breathe and cry tears of joy. But I just as much appreciate a movie that moves me to messy tears of grief, because in that moment, I can re-experience something in my past, or an important part of a story. I don’t enjoy being angry, but I can look back on how I’ve dealt with myself at various points of my life, when I was angry, and see how I’ve matured (or not – and thus have something else to learn and work toward as a goal). I don’t like scary movies, or being scared in general, particularly; but the moment of relief when I realize all is well or that I’ve at least made it through? That is wonderful! The feeling of being safe and sound is a wonderful thing to experience.
Sometimes, we experience all of these things at once. It’s what happens as we get older and grow. I loved that Inside Out showed that as well, with the core memories. I hope that slowly as we all age, we can all learn from people like the yogi who wrote the newsletter that turned up in my email as well. And learn to embrace, as best as they can, all of the emotions they have as well.
I know I can keep trying to do just that, on an almost daily basis.
All these thoughts. Rattling ’round in my head.
Am I crazy to feel guilty for leaving a place that I loved? That found work for me when they didn’t have to? That tried their best to give me as many hours as they could? People I care about say I gave them more time than [ I should have | others would have | necessary ] but I wanted so much to retire there. For so many reasons. Even though I made the right choice and am excited for new things, I am so sad simultaneously.
My friend wrote me! He is doing well! I am so happy! So relieved! And… A bit complicated feeling with grief. My internet daughter is gone. Sort of. But still here. But changed. I can learn my friend anew. I am so thankful that one of the horrible things I feared did not happen. I am so thankful he reached out to me.
I worry, in the back of my mind, about so many things. It just is. It’s a quiet susurration of wishes and prayers and dreams for the worst not to be | the best scenario to bloom into reality. Health for so many. Love for all. Hope. When I stop and enumerate the actual things that flicker with lights at the edge of my consciousness I understand Pandora’s box and how Hope must be.
I want. Sometimes things I shouldn’t. To be what I’m not | will never be. To do things I likely shall not ever do and truly don’t want to experience. It’s just the curious bits inside me wanting to know “what would happen if?” teasing me. Keeping me awake when I should be sleeping.
My 2014 opened with a proposal, which was wonderful.
There were moments of hope, when my sister applied for jobs in-state and a state nearby.
There was the excitement of getting a new car for the first time in 12 years.
There were moments of sadness, when my sister lost her cat, who was her baby, and my nephew.
There was a new life welcomed to the world, a new human niece to another sister.
There was the cool convenience of being able to help my sister apartment shop via Skype.
There was the joy of welcoming her here in advance of her belongings, and helping her shop for and find a car that works for her.
There was the joy of getting married to my sweetheart of many years.
There was the relief (and sadness) of having to admit that my secondary job, while useful for funds, was not useful enough and definitely not useful enough to offset the stress that was making me miserable.
There were moments of hope as my primary job seemed to experience a slight uptick in work and sales.
There have been good moments of reconnecting with past friends, strengthening bonds with current friends, and sadly realizing that a few friends are perhaps better suited as acquaintances.
There have been moments that were better for writing, baking, cooking, and drawing. Creativity has overall been good, even to starting a new game with friends.
There have been moments where I have not been all I would have hoped, health-wise, and in fact made no advancement but rather backslid in terms of exercise.
There have been moments where being socially aware and critical has been depressing, overwhelming, and frustrating in the extreme as I watch humans as a whole Not Do Well.
There have been a few shining exceptions to the nastiness as some things are more accepted in my corner of the world.
Still, being hopeful, I am declaring my personal 2014 to have been a good one. I hope that 2015 is as good and better, that I continue to improve as a person in my health, my creative self, my interactive self and my working self. I wish everyone the best year that they can have as well!
It’s about that time again.
I should probably say that when I use the word “depression” for myself I don’t mean the clinical sort. Every once in a while, I debate going to a licensed professional and finding out if I have a mild version, but as I can usually shake myself out of the mood or just wait it out, I haven’t bothered. It costs money and energy that I’d rather spend on other things.
In 2004, in September, I separated from my ex-husband. Our marriage had been in various stages of implosion and explosion for at least 4 years (although, with the power of hindsight, I suspect that it was having problems much longer). My dad was fighting lung cancer that had metastasized and gotten more complex (it got into his larynx, among other things), and somewhere between then and October is when he and mom told us that he was going to back out of his trial program. The benefits were nowhere NEAR outweighing the negative side effects. We also abruptly lost my mom’s youngest sister to a rare form of blood cancer. For us, there was no warning. I’m not clear on how much warning her kids and husband had. She’d felt horrible for years and finally was getting pushier at getting doctors to listen. I went back to see mom and dad in November for Thanksgiving. Dad had a collapse and had to go into the hospital. The next 3 weeks are a bit of a blur, but we finally got him admitted to hospice and home where he finally felt safe leaving us on his birthday, December 16th, 2004. He was 62.
Six years later, 2010, in late fall (I want to say November, but it’s actually blurred and I don’t trust that), mom also chose to check herself into hospice. Mostly because her doctor was honest. He might be able to give her up to a few more months. Maybe longer. But it would hurt and she might spend a lot of it in the hospital. Hospice would allow her to be at home. On Christmas Night, she finally was able to let go. She was 64.
Two years after that, in October, I lost Domino, my cat of 14 years. He was more than just my cat. He was my baby boy. I still tear up sometimes thinking of him. That was 2 years ago.
It isn’t all bad.
I still love the fall, even though it hurts to remember. Some of my best family memories are of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Mom loved the cooler seasons. Dad loved any excuse to be silly and eat food that was probably too rich for him but oh-so-delicious. I’ve inherited all of that.
We adopted our two current cats right after the Thanksgiving after losing Domino. I thought it was much too early, but I was also probably worrying Terry a bit with being so sad and he missed having someone furry and welcoming in the house. We were only going to get one, and found a shelter participating in a Black Friday event at a pet store in town. We picked out Shadow, and took her to the vet, who gave her a relatively clear bill (she had the feline equivalent of kennel cough), but strongly suggested another kitten about the same age to help keep her company and to socialize. So we went back out the next day, and found Phoenix. After a week or so of separation to allow their individual upper respiratory sicknesses to get through their systems, they got to meet each other and actually began to get along much more quickly than I expected.
And I can’t forget that my sweet hubby proposed to me on New Year’s eve.
So there are good things to look forward to, most definitely, but I can very much empathize with people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder as well as depression. I have a much higher likelihood of wanting to hide somewhere cozy with a book during this time of year. And for the last few years, that’s been more about escaping than just enjoying whatever I might be reading for what it is. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I feel much better, even if the book makes me cry (The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman did). In its own way, that’s a welcome catharsis from the greyed out feeling I experience a lot of the time. Sometimes I can forget. Or keep a mask firmly in place.
But it’s part of the season now.
I didn’t expect my first tattoo to be as grounding as it was.
I’d wanted to get some kind of tattoo for years before I actually did. And by “years” I mean over a decade. I tend to overthink things a bit, although as I saw it, any ink I had put on me was going to have to be treated as if it couldn’t be removed. Back then, tattoos were less removed than covered up. So I’d gone through quite a few designs before I came up with the one I eventually got. Some were discarded because they came from a different time and place in my life, or reminded me of someone I didn’t necessarily want given such a permanent place in my day to day life.