I’ve always been someone who could be described as being too sensitive or having a lot of feelings. When I was very young, I didn’t quite understand the description. Doesn’t everyone have the same number of feelings? At some point, I put two and two together and surmised that to have ‘a lot of feelings’ was a very bad thing indeed. It did not engender strength or resilience. It seemed to contradict directly with how to be valued among my culture and my race and perhaps broadly in western society.
As my life unfurled I devised ways to deal with the problem. Firstly I resolved to ignore all feelings and pretend they did not exist. When this became overwhelming, I decided to simply live in the middle. I created my own cap for my emotions and decided never to go over it. I learnt how to filter my emotions before I could even experience them.
And then, an unexpected roadblock. One day I realized that all of my emotions had left me. It was as though someone had gathered them all up and stole them away in the night. They were beyond my touch and I was left alone with myself. But who was I, if I could not feel happiness, or sadness, or anger? What was my motivation for anything if I felt so removed from the essence of me?
I altered my life plan. And I went searching for all of the feelings one by one. The journey back is ongoing and difficult. But I now believe that an intricate web of emotion surrounds every human being. The emotions are like bricks in a wall. Placed there by stories and memories and history and ancestry and love.
I attempt to relish each one as I experience them. I greet them like long lost relatives. Now that I know how easy they are to lose, I allow them their time in the sun.