I’ve been whispering sweet nothings to myself too often, things like “nothing is more beautiful than a girl who smiles” and “strength is beauty.” I’ve been telling myself things like this for years, since I was a child, and everyone always told me the same thing.
“Chin up. Smile.”
That’s all well and good, because of course, nobody ever meant any harm by that, but I’ve come to learn that it’s not the way to live. You cannot force away the emotions you have associated with negative events with a smile because a smile that hides pain is just a concealer that could wash off with a single word or phrase. A smile and a nod is not enough to erase pain, and in a time of despair, a smile which is forced is also not helpful. We are human and it is more than necessary for us to delve into ourselves and feel our emotions so viscerally that we can hear them hum in our ears, that we can feel the vibrations of them within our soul and see them even (and especially) when our eyes are closed.
Lately I’ve been trying to take away all of the negative associations I have with particular emotions and I’ve been trying to feel the emotions for what they really are, without judgement. There are a couple of things I have learned here…
1.) Anger is natural and is often associated with negativity, especially with women, because we are supposed to be nice little smiley flowers all the time and act like a lady. Well, anger is a defense mechanism and it is absolutely okay to be angry. It is important to feel rage like a wildfire within you because if you suppress it you will never be able to control it. So feel it, lash out, yell. Do not suppress it and make it worse for later. Don’t let it build up. If someone pisses you off, recognize your anger, get up, walk away, take a minute, take longer than a minute, tell yourself that it is right for you to be angry, and stand up to whatever it is that made you angry. If it’s a person, tell them to fuck off. When (if) they apologize, say “You should be sorry” and then forgive. If they don’t apologize, fuck them. Goodbye. If it’s a struggle you’re having internally, tell it to fuck off, then make some changes. The most important thing here is to recognize it and take it as it comes. Find the root of the problem, look at your anger without judging it. It is normal. It is human. You can feel this and you should feel this.
2.) Sadness. This one I’ve been feeling a lot lately. It’s funny, you know, when I tell someone I’m feeling down they’ll apologize. I always say, “No, don’t be sorry, I feel good” and they’ll say “No, I meant I wish you felt better than that,” and I’ll say, “No, there is no better than how I feel right now.” I don’t think I’ve met a single person who understands it, and that’s because it’s a little complicated. With looking at your emotions without judgement comes looking at them as all the same, as far as feeling good is concerned. I have happiness even when I am sad because I am happy that I have the very human ability to feel this way. Of course, in all reality, happiness will always prevail as the emotion that feel the best and is the most rewarding, but the recognition of melancholy as a state of beauty has increased my overall happiness and my positivity immensely. Now, there is no way to measure this, so you’re just going to have to believe me. I love sadness. I feel it a lot but if I see it through as it passes on by (and it always passes on by), then the happiness I feel afterwards is always much more, well, happy. Sometimes sadness lingers but that is okay, after all, there is much beauty in melancholy.
I urge you to take away the negative associations you have with your emotions and I urge you to feel them within the very depths of yourself. I dare you to immerse yourself in your emotions without drowning in them. It is important to feel them but without letting them consume you. At the end of the day, you are you, and you are not defined by how you feel but by how you handle how you feel. It goes like this always, for internal struggles and external struggles.
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right — for you’ll be criticized anyway.” -Eleanor Roosevelt