Thursday, 9 July 2015

Being real

I will be moving across the world in two days. 
For a long time, I felt nothing about my move. Literally nothing. No excitement, no sadness. Just neutral. All I thought was, 'Well, moving is normal, all a part of life. Just one adventure ending, another one starting. What is there to be sad about?' In actual fact, I had numbed myself, shutting my emotions away so that I wouldn't feel sad about moving yet again to another country, leaving behind beloved friends and colleagues, a man whom I have come to deeply love, his dog, my second family of close friends, 'nieces, sisters and brothers', and a place that I have grown to love and wish to live in for the rest of my life. 
For a long time, despite spending my time finishing up the work I have left here, spending time with friends, and exploring places that I won't be seeing for a while, there was always an element of doing things 'just because'. It never really felt real enough, nor deep enough, often simply a skimming-the-surface kind of feeling. I always felt like there was something missing, but what was it? Why is it not enough to spend the days in fun and laughter, in enjoyment of people and things? What would I want to be anything other than calm, positive, and upbeat? 
Because, sometimes, it simply felt.. mechanical. I was living within a shell of 'happy!! I'm-doing-totally-fine!! Everything's great!', when in fact I had blocked off a part of me inside. The part of me that feels hurt, sadness, longing, regret, anger, and disappointment. That very part of me that is associated with what may be labeled as 'negative' emotions. As I reflect on this, I wonder if, in my recent efforts to become a happier and more positive person, I had even attempted to kill off that part of me.
The turning point came when I realized that I had stopped being able to cry. Being a sensitive individual, sentimental events would often bring up tears in my eyes... until a few weeks ago. While those type of experiences left me feeling sad (or I think I felt sad), I started being aware of a barrier within my chest that was blocking out my emotions. I realized that I was... unable to feel. I was disallowing myself to feel. I observed myself pushing not only my feelings away, but also people and things that I loved, keeping my distance from them, acting from behind a wall which I could retreat to whenever I sensed 'negative' emotions coming up. That realization forced me to consider this -- is this the kind of life that I want? To live flitting superficially from one experience to another, while protecting my heart so that I would never feel pain? Or would I rather feel pain and let myself cry through that pain, without a guarantee that the pain will go away?
I suppose you could guess what my decision was. And I did cry. I cried so hard that it was sometimes difficult to stop. I cried in church, in the theater, in my car, in my office, in his arms. Yes, I allowed myself to cry in front of a man I loved, someone whom I wanted to be a perfect, happy, girl for. Sometimes this was not the simply tears flowing down my face kind of crying, but the non-stop, body-shaking uncontrollably kind of sobbing that I would never want anyone to see. (and yet, I am writing this all out before the world. I am ironic that way.) I let myself feel, I stopped trying to be strong. I wore my heart on my sleeve. I let myself be real. Sometimes I couldn't even explain what had gotten me going, but I just let it come. I stopped trying to understand why or how, I stopped trying to decide what I 'should' be feeling or doing. I just let myself be. 
And you may wonder about how I feel now? 
Well.... I feel... good. 
Feeling the pain, releasing the pain, admitting that I will miss this place, that I will miss all my friends and second family here, that I will miss my life here, that I will miss him and whatever we have had, was the greatest gift I could have given myself over the last few precious days I have left here. Because I let the sadness be, I also invited love and happiness in. I finally felt so much more love for everything and everyone, the kind of love that I truly had inside for them, the kind of love that they deserved to experience from me. I was able to appreciate them more, tell them 'I love you' genuinely from the depths of my heart. Which, unexpectedly, led me to feel even more love for them. 
So much love, so many gifts that I was able to give and receive. All because I finally became real and opened the door to my heart.