• Madelynne Juenger

In Defense of ~Feelings~

I think I sometimes like to hide from feelings. I like to box them up and tape them shut and place them neatly on a shelf in the very back of my brain. Ideally, they would remain there long enough to gather a proper layer of dust and maybe to establish a small gang of a few friendly spiders. By the time I returned, I would be properly distanced enough in order to sift through any unwanted emotions and to file the remaining leftovers back into place. The top would shut, the tape would return, and I would no longer have to think about the slightly disorderly box in the back of my brain.

In this perfect world everything is placed in the right spot and I have control over where the “right spot” is.

And there’s comfort in that. There’s comfort in control.

But constant comfort often leads to a state of numbness.

I like to keep my feelings in check by reminding myself how small I am and, therefore, how small they are. I imagine a camera lens focusing in on myself and then zooming out further and further until I am just a small, incomprehensible dot sitting somewhere on a floating rock in outer space. This is a reminder to myself to “look at the bigger picture”. And while I close my eyes and envision this little ant of a person, I start to ask myself questions like: does this really matter? Is it really that important? Will I even remember this incident or this feeling five years from now?

And maybe it doesn’t. And maybe it’s not. And maybe I won’t.

But right now it does. And it is. And I do.

And shouldn’t that be taken into consideration? Shouldn’t I let these emotions feel valid for at least a little while?

But I remind myself of the ant and I hurriedly box these unwanted feelings up before they are given any power. They are sealed up and placed on a high shelf and I stay in control and move on with my day.

I have an agreement with some of my friends that feelings are the absolute worst part of the human existence. We shudder at the mention of the word itself and scrunch up our faces at the very thought of becoming too emotionally invested in anything or anyone. Our overdramatic disgust is obviously a joke, but there’s definitely some truth hidden in there too.

It’s absolutely terrifying to hand over the power of your emotions to someone other than yourself. To openly declare what you’re feeling creates an uncomfortable state of vulnerability and a chance to be let down. To embrace love opens the door for heartbreak. To embrace excitement opens the door for disappointment. Even to embrace sadness, or anger, or frustration opens the door for confusion and loneliness.

It is downright terrifying.

But so is the alternative.

If my dream of a neat brain and orderly boxes actually became reality, then life would become so incredibly dull. There would be no surprises or excitement. There would be nothing to look forward to or to enjoy. There would be no stories to tell or lessons to learn. My life would become a series of rehearsed motions and suppressed emotions.

So maybe I am just a little ant in a very huge world. But doesn’t that just make the intensity of my feelings even more magical?

And isn’t it better to feel everything so deeply than it is to feel nothing at all?

It is scary.

But it’s also wonderful.

So maybe I’ll start to remove the tape from the boxes. Maybe I’ll begin to get over my need to appear calm and collected when calm and collected are the last things on my mind. Existing in an ever present state of “chill” is most certainly an automatic sentence to a life of dullness.

No one has ever created anything worthwhile by being passive and nonchalant about their feelings. The most beautiful poems, paintings, and songs were created in a fury of emotion.

Laws are passed, revolutions are formed, movements are made all because someone felt something so passionately that they couldn’t hold it all inside.

So use your time wisely. Don’t waste important experiences by pretending that you’re not affected by them.

We only get so much time on this magical floating rock. Love and hurt and feel while you can.



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