Emotion takes time to process. And you just have to let the time pass – there are no short-cuts. As Bear-Hunt says: “Can’t go under it, can’t go over it, gotta go through it.”
Except we can kind of skirt around the edges of it a bit. We can cheat by using various somatic devices: alcohol, tv, binge food, a conversation with a friend, facebook /social media. excessive cleaning; whatever takes your fancy.
Some of those are obviously enough better coping devices that others. Luckily enough, the emotion will pass with time, regardless of whether you’re actually processing the emotion or not. The downside is that unprocessed emotions will always get you in the end, when you least expect it. All of a sudden, and out of the blue, someone over-sweetens your tea, or leaves a door close in your face, or cuts you off in traffic and you CANNOT COPE. Cue meltdown.
And it’s not about the specific thing; it’s about that wretched stinking bezoar of unprocessed feeling from the time your pet died, or you lost a job or a lover, or you spent five years subjugating your very own personality to the whims of an abusive partner. That one time.
That one time, but repeated. Each incident adding to the heavy growing knot that you carry around in yourself.
I don’t know if last night’s spiral of emotion was connected to carrying the weight of a whole load of other stuff, or if it was a primary contributor in itself, but either way I had a tough time getting through the evening and all I wanted to do was to be on the other side of it. I knew if I would just go off to sleep I’d wake up mostly through anyway. For some reason I’m never really able to do that.
Now that house is (more or less) on the other side of planning, we’re facing into the great yawning chasm of the actual project itself and all the work and stress and money (oh god, so much money) and well-meaning advice from others (seriously, I’ve been living this for about 20 months, why do you think you know more about what I have to do than I do?) all stretch out ahead of us and I’m suddenly terrified. It was all locked in a Bluebeard room until we were through the governmental and planning red-tape, but now that door is flung open and oh gods the gore and the stench. It’s a bit terrifying.
Of course we still want to do it. Of course. And also, what else would we be going to do if not this? Every other option is worse. I think.
Well, it’s more comfortable to feel like the choices you’re making are the long-term right ones for you anyway. I mean, probably life would be fine with a whole bunch of different choices, but it feels better to kinda believe in a one true path.
Anyway, I’m feeling better about the whole thing today, but I can’t escape the feeling that I’ve not really processed anything. I’m no better equipped for the next time I’m confronted with future uncertainty and unknowns – and I’m pretty sure it won’t be long before that happens again!
Basically, I’ve learned nothing. I’ve grown not a whit and I’m spending my time once more running over the same old ground in circles.
It’s evidenced somewhat by the resurgence of my desire to drink alcohol again. Future events like the France trip and our booked in post-baby dinner in a Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant all feel like they’re lacking that extra splash of colour if I don’t indulge myself in the “odd” glass of wine or sake.
Except it won’t be the “odd” glass of wine. And I don’t even like the taste of sake so much as I like the masochistic ritual of drinking it with raw fish. And I like how drunk it makes me. I like the type of drunk it makes me. It triggers a real devil-may-care, I can conquer the world type of feeling, rather than the chilled, chat-to-friends feeling of beer or wine.
But in all cases it’s a drug. Plain and simple. Part of me wants so very much to partake in small quantities of drug. What harm in small amounts, right? But then once small amounts are taken, the question becomes “what harm in one blow-out night?” and all the self-justification of deserving and even needing but above all else, it all comes down to wanting.
And how much of it is coming from wanting the actual thing as opposed to wanting not to experience what you’ve got?