This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don’t have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn’t have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet.
People have said, “Don’t cry” to other people for years and years, and all it has ever meant is, “I’m too uncomfortable when you show your feelings. Don’t cry.” I’d rather have them say, “Go ahead and cry. I’m here to be with you.”
The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd–The longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.
―Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet
For me- and for everybody else, probably- this is my first experience growing old, and the emotions I’m having, too, are all first-time feelings. If it were something I’d experienced before, then I’d be able to understand it more clearly, but this is the first time, so I can’t. For now all I can do is put off making any detailed judgments and accept things as they are. Just like I accept the sky, the clouds, and the river. And there’s also something kind of comical about it all, something you don’t want to discard completely.
yes, I have feelings
and no, I’m not afraid of them
not even the shadowy ones
that you’d rather ignore
i gather them in
welcome them home
give them space to breathe
and light them on glorious fire
just to see
what might be illuminated
while they burn
―Jeanette LeBlanc, “Easy”
I suppose it’s not a social norm, and not a manly thing to do — to feel, discuss feelings. So that’s what I’m giving the finger to. Social norms and stuff…what good are social norms, really? I think all they do is project a limited and harmful image of people. It thus impedes a broader social acceptance of what someone, or a group of people, might actually be like.
Lonely people have enthusiasms which cannot always be explained. When something strikes them as funny, the intensity and length of their laughter mirrors the depth of their loneliness, and they are capable of laughing like hyenas. When something touches their emotions, it runs through them like Paul Revere, awakening feelings that gather into great armies.