Where to put it all.
Most days I am overwhelmed by emotions. Before COVID I had to learn to manage this in public. Now, in the privacy of my own home, I can be or feel what I need to feel when I need to feel it. Before going 100% remote, it was painful and exhausting to hold back some emotions in the office and on the bus. Those times when, you may understand, when whatever it is there is just nothing you can do to keep the tears inside.
Most days I struggle with where I am in support of causes or what I perceive as injustice. Often I find myself in the middle and it seems there isn’t much room in the middle anymore. You are either on one side or the other. This is untenable for me. Untenable because I believe people should be allowed individual freedoms. Yet, there are strong forces that are pulling us miles apart. Some of the pulling are leaders some of us have voted or continue to vote into office.
I support Black Lives Matter. I also support law enforcement and the rule of law. Because I believe, I have to believe that there are good police officers, just like there are good in every other segment/profession of life. That said, black and brown people are black and brown 24/7, 365 days a year not 40 hours a week. Now you think I don’t really support law enforcement. Fine. I do. Legal, unbiased and fair law enforcement.
I made the choice to get vaccinated. I won’t lie or hide it, I do think others should because I see it saving lives and I also see the stress and exhaustion on the faces and in the voices of the Nurses and Doctors I support everyday. I hear the pain of loss and feel their struggles daily. That hits me at my core. I also believe that is a personal choice and decision to get a vaccination and it should not be forced. What I read says it saves lives and can get us back to a bit or a normal life. Others read the opposite. So here we are, divided. I grew up in a time when it wasn’t questioned. It was seen as a way to preserve life and minimize illness.
I saw this on Instagram; “@journey_to_wellness] Who says having a wide range of emotions in one day is a bad thing?
Our emotions are there to tell us something. Maybe they’re nudging you to rest, to spend time with a friend, or whatever it is that you take away from them. The feelings we feel so profoundly are what make us human.
So whether your wheel of emotions today looks like the one of the left or right, whatever your feeling today is entirely okay. 💕”
My chart, happy is a little smaller and most days, motivated and excited are taken over by stress, anxiety and exhaustion. And the exhaustion comes from feeling and realizing the exhaustion of others for the most part. What have I got to be tired about? Well, a couple things, but not ready to actually tell that story here yet.
I am in the middle more and more each day. More than I care to be, yet here I am. Maybe an assumption? Maybe a reality. My reality, I am in the middle of so much and have no avenue or platform to have any affect on that personally, locally, yet alone globally. Which in my reality is not for me to push or try to change with others. You have to come to your own conclusions. And we have to realize that often those will not be the same.
Ultimately we all have access to the same information. We all, for the most part have access to every bit of information in many forms. I think it’s our DNA that determines where we go, where we lean.
And by DNA, I don’t just mean biological. That could be part of it, but the DNA that we have within us from our lived experiences of life. The good and the bad. The new and the old. And by old I mean past lives. Yes, I believe there is something to that.
Our lived experiences are as vast and diverse as we are. Easy childhood, difficult childhood, adversity, wealth, poverty, abuse, neglect, love, disdain, adoration, abundance, lack, isolation. What does that do with our DNA and how does that affect of influence our relationships? How does that affect our response or reaction to what comes to us.
I’m not physiologist, nor have I studied psychology to the extent that it gives me any credibility to speak to this. I can speak from my understanding of my experience and years of observation.
Insecurity reveals itself in many ways. Me, saying I need to keep my words to myself and thinking I should stay quiet, it is my feeling that I wasn’t given much opportunity to speak out as a child or teenager. Knowing and now understanding introversion, odds were against me. What others had to say or say to me, was more important. Which maybe is why I easily headed down that path of religion in high school, people listened to me.
While I have settled into it a bit, I live a secondary life to everyone I am in relationship with. Many of us do, but there are some who have that one that is of the utmost importance, that one they think of when they wake up and when they go to sleep. If I’ve ever had that, I didn’t know it. And that’s okay. That’s not what this life was to be about for me.
What happened in your childhood do you believe affects how you interact or respond to another person? Have you considered their experience and how that has affected their relationship with you? Their response or reaction to you? I’ve said, at least to myself, I believe that more often than not, a response to someones words or actions are more a reflection of the person hearing or receiving not giving. Of course if it goes deeper, then both bring to the conversation, the situation their own … let’s just call it, baggage. And very often, I think has nothing to do with what is happening in that moment. What happened to you when you were 8 or 9 is triggered. And I bet 99.9% of the time neither has any idea that time is seeping into now. It is. Maybe we should all do a chart and put in it what happened to us as a kid so that we can have it for awareness and carry it around. If you have issues with trust and you are having a conversation with someone who has issues with trust. Guess what?
I am in the middle and have been since a child. If only I were a actually a middle child I’d have more to work with. I know that plays into who I am today and the relationships I am in. I would however like to shake some of that, but I’m not sure I can. It is deep in me and as I grew up and realized that being in the middle was where I was. As I got older I also had to come to terms with what that actually meant. Sometimes I felt like in that middle space, I was more of a pawn in a game for some. Something to barter with for love and affection or control of me. Also probably why I don’t care to control anything…exhausting. Let it go.
Most days I feel I have let this go. But has it served me? Being in the middle or letting go? I also know that it will alway be there as reminder to me. Yet, I can’t always control how it presents.
Again, I haven’t studied phycology a great deal, but that does tend to be where I read when seeking out answers. And have been in therapy a few times. So as I was writing this I found an old article in Psychology Today, “6 Ways that a Rough Childhood Can Affect Adult Relationships”. Number 4 kind of hit home;
4. Avoidance of relationships: “I’m someone who is better off alone.”
Alternatively, people with negative developmental experiences involving intimate relationships may opt to avoid closeness and isolate themselves. Sometimes this starts early on and sometimes later, as an attempt to break the cycle of harmful relationships. But healthy relationships with other people are crucial for personal development, presenting opportunities for growth and change. Missing out on them in adulthood as a self-protective measure further impairs development of a fully adult identity, solidifying a self-perception of unworthiness and self-condemnation. There are many exceptions to the feeling that we are too flawed for others, who deserve better. Most of us have the capacity to offer more than we think we do, and thereby become more appreciative of ourselves. It’s too complicated for here to talk about hope, faith in oneself, and how a long process of recovery unfolds. It’s worth noting that sometimes we unconscious push people away, appearing to ourselves be a threat when we do not so intend.
In terms of harmful relationships, mine were not harmful like others. I wasn’t physically abused. But maybe I was manipulated or used. Do any of us really know how to navigate life in a clear and balanced way? Do most of us think that someone is out to get us or is there to disrupt our life, take something away from us, to ruin our day or make us feel something? My Mom has said to me many times, ‘people don’t make you feel something, you let them make you feel it’.
We all struggle. Who knows how to do any of this? Who knows anything? I know I don’t. I just know that I want there to be fairness. I want people to treat each other with kindness and care. I want the lens of fair to be so sharp and bright that there can be no question.
Right now I am still in the middle and while I know the side I would move to if I had to I will still fight for the other side as well. As long as their goal is also equality, fairness and no one is harmed. Right now, I don’t see that or feel it and I am pretty sure it has nothing to do with my childhood, but pure lack of enough concern for humanity and a lot of misinformation. We have to fight together and fight our personal bias. We all want our rights and our freedoms, we can’t eliminate those for others because they believe or feel differently.