Unacknowledged emotion, whether it be love or pain, stays within you until it is properly felt. We never escape an emotion, even though we clumsily stitch ourselves closed with exercise, with friends, with boxsets in bed.
We simply delay it.Emotions can go unacknowledged by us for years. We coast on, elated that by some miracle, despite the tens of millions before us who have fallen down, we have skipped the tough part – dealing with it.
We feel giddy with excitement. We go forth and fall in love again and move cities and grow and learn. We tell anyone who’ll listen how great we are, how good we’ve been feeling.
But the emotions don’t leave us. They simply lie dormant, a temperamental volcanic explosion of tears and anguish, waiting.
Then, one day, something completely non-descript happens. You run into their smiling face at a dirty pub. You come across an old photograph when happiness felt infinite. You meet someone who has the same name as them. You fall.
Descending into the depths of emotions can be a wild and wooly surf. It makes me wonder whether every rude, or defiant, or prickily person I’ve come across has been washing around mid-emotion themselves.
The surf washes on, and it is difficult. It’s an eternal night sky cast over your life. Your job performance troughs. Your friends talk to you in the same sympathetic but tired voice. Your bed is the only comfort. Sleep doesn’t always come. You become well acquainted with the cracks in your ceiling. Days stretch into weeks. Nothing changes, much.
But you must know when to leave those emotions. You musn’t stay too long. A cleansed life awaits you beyond that surf. It was a thick fog but you move through, and here you are. It doesn’t feel good. But you come out the other side.
You look back on it in a fond but detached sort of way. Battered, a little older around the eyes and in the heart. You begin to forget the inertia of the surf. You become timidly optimistic about trying again soon.
For now, just breathe deep and trust yourself. You’re resilient. The proof is in your past.