Fighting old habits to make way for the future

The other day, while trawling mindlessly through the internet, I managed to stumble across a beautiful quote that has stuck in my mind. It was one of those meaningful quotes on a scenic backdrop, the ones that sometimes make you cringe, but other times make you feel something that you can relate to. The quote said “I am a raging sea trapped inside of a raindrop” and of course was pasted over a dreary picture featuring raindrops. I don’t know who wrote it, or where it came from, and the internet offered me no answers, but it really resonated with me. Its strange how one picture, song, movie or quote can make you feel so much and feel that you are somehow connected to the world again, and that you are not alone. As with everything, there are a million different interpretations you can take from it but it spoke to me on a deep level and really hit home, in terms of emotional expression.

We all experience emotions even though sometimes it seems as if you cannot feel at all. Personally, I often struggle with the ability to identify and express emotions. It can make me feel like I am feeling nothing at all. Almost like I am not connected to my own body, as if I don’t belong here. It’s a sense of depersonalisation. Feeling disconnected, dissociated and desensitised to your own being and the world around you. It can be frightening at times. It can make you feel less than human, robotic almost. As though you have been switched off and are operating on auto-pilot. For a long time I thought this would always be my reality. I don’t know when it started, and how, or if it ever really ends. I just know, that despite how terrified I am of strong emotions, when I experience one, it makes me feel alive, and I live for those moments. Perhaps its a defence mechanism or a result or the lives we live. I don’t know all the answers. If I did, I’m sure I would be off being an expert somewhere, and doing something useful with my life.

Sometimes we shut down our own feelings before we can have a chance to feel them, without even realising it. Maybe it is our minds way of protecting us. It can be such a difficult thing, to realise that your own emotions are valid and that it’s ok to feel them. For someone who has a lot of feelings and opinions about the world, and someone who likes to believe that I have a good understanding of people, I can quite be quite detached and distant at times. I feel shame about my own emotions a lot of the time. I enjoy being able to use them to try to understand others, but I will always feel a sense of guilt about expressing my feelings for my own benefit. I think a lot of people probably feel this way, at least to some extent.

I can be hard on others and often not very tolerant of their emotions. I get angry at people for having such strong emotions sometimes but this is most likely because I do not know how to express my own. I often don’t realise that I am repressing my emotions, I just think that they are not there. In this sense, I am much like a dormant volcano. Quiet and calm but every now and then I will erupt when you least expect it, and when I do I will destroy everything in my wake, without seeing it coming or knowing why.

This might sound very warped to some people, but I hate the idea of being selfish with my emotions. I’m so afraid that  if I place importance on my emotions that I will dismiss someone else’s. This is not to say that I’m not selfish with my emotions, of course I am. I think the strangest part, is that when you become so accustomed to being a certain way, you just don’t know anything else, it is so hard to change. It’s hard to be the person who asks for help, or cries, or expresses anger towards another person. Feelings are replaced with logic and rational thinking. Its like seeing things from an objective point of view. It’s good sometimes to step back so that you can have perspective and see things clearly. It however, it not good to completely remove yourself and your own feelings from things which affect your life. Nobody has to be more or less than what they are, and I’m trying to figure that out along the way, instead of expecting everyone else to adopt my warped way of thinking. I’m trying to find a balance between thinking and feeling. I’m trying to realise that I because I am hard on myself, I am also hard on others and sometimes expect too much from people. That you can’t tell people not to feel or ever truly connect to someone without letting them see your own vulnerability.

I have spent so much of my life being avoidant and living in denial. I find it hard to be close to people emotionally, or physically, and could never stand the idea of being dependent or reliant on anyone. Writing about all this is one thing, letting someone into my life is another thing entirely. I imagine being my friend is very difficult at times, like talking to a story (I don’t know what that means either, I couldn’t find a word ok) instead of a person. I will tell you all my thoughts and views about things, even the ones you don’t want to hear, I will tell you whats going on in my life, but I will rarely tell you how I feel about it if it affects me personally. I’m a hell of a lot better than I was a few years ago, when I’m fairly certain I was vacant from my body and mind and living in another planet entirely. In fact, I’m getting better at it every year, I’m almost where I need to be. Every small step feels like a giant leap towards a better future and a life that I don’t mind living. A life that I look forward to living. Every year, I find myself doing and saying things that I never would have imagined doing before. Being allowed to step out of my comfort zone has been challenging but the most rewarding experience. There’s still some way to go but every step away from my comfort zone is another dream lived, and I want to keep stepping forward.

I don’t think that everyone should be an open book or wear their hearts on their sleeves but I have a deep admiration for the ones that do. People  may think that they are weak for being that way, but those people are the bravest of all. Feeling exposed and vulnerable is a scary thing, but it gives me so much hope to see people express themselves and show you a bit of their soul. I’ve been so lucky to have met such wonderful, brave, loving people throughout my life, who have shown me that people can make the world a better place ,and that I won’t always have to daydream about living on another planet, but that I can take that magic with me wherever I go.

The happiness and hope that I get from other people is what makes me want to keep trying to be a better person and keep striving to achieve my dreams. Instead of just dreaming about things, I am starting to ask for them and I can’t believe the difference it has made. Because if you never ask, you will never know. I wish that I could give people even a fraction of the joy they have given me by being there, by simply existing and expressing themselves, their beauty, their creativity, their kindness and courage. So here’s a big shoutout to old friends, and new friends ,and strangers alike. For continuing to inspire me by being yourself and not being afraid to share parts of you with the world.