Just back from dropping one son off to the airport. He has been here for the Christmas season and now goes back to work interstate.

Dh finds this separation, this saying goodbye, this letting go hard. Much harder than I.

Now, it is not that I don ‘t care. I do. I’m a mum.

But I learned long ago to get over my emotions. To not give in to my emotions. To move on, put the sad or cross or unhappy or melancholy feelings away. To be Pollyanna. ( Pollyanna and Pippi Longstocking were two of my childhood heroines.)

I learned to not think about things. To just move on. To enjoy what I have.

In the book and movie Because of Winn Dixie , an older lady gives advice to Opal, the ten year old girl and main character. Opal is sad. Sad because her mother left many years before. Sad that she has lost her dog.

The advice? You can’t hold onto the things you love. You can only enjoy them while you have them.

So, that is what I do. I enjoy today, this moment. I pray. And I try not to think about sad things, things in the past, worry about the future. About letting go.

I have put away some things from my childhood, from my past. Mentally. I don ‘t go there and re-visit certain things. They happened. I’ve moved on. I won’t bring up past emotions.

This is how I deal with emotions. By not dealing with them. One could say. By putting them away.

A doctor friend once told my dh that I needed to talk about the miscarriages I had experienced. My dh shook his head. He knew me and knew the way I dealt with things.

I tuck away my emotions. This, too, shall pass.

I saw how destructive some dwelling on emotions can be, in my growing up. I learned early on not to show emotions, to not to let yourself be vulnerable as then others used that to hurt you more.

This caused my parent, when I was young, to call me a hard hearted b**ch.

Maybe. But maybe I just deal with things privately. Differently.

So, I stuff those emotions aside. I pray. I go on. I do something that makes me happy.

Or I eat. Arrgh! Working on that…I remember after one miscarriage eating pizza and corn chips and dip and chocolate….Definitely don’t do that any more!

Or I write (now also blog).

Some people think it’s holding on that makes one strong- sometimes it’s letting go. singer and musician Sylvia Robinson


4 thoughts on “Emotions”

  1. Hey Leonie, I hear you about hiding away those emotions. I grew up in a family where you didn’t have emotions, and I learnt that lesson very quickly. I have learnt to solve my own emotional difficulties by working through them alone, but I have found that even though that works for me, it doesn’t always work for people around me. I find that when I am emotionally vulnerable in a relationship, then others feel they can be open with me too, which takes both of us off the perfection pedestal, always a good thing. I used to feel a bit of a fraud, like I was manufacturing emotion to further a friendship, but now I find that anything painfully honest that I mangage to share with someone else forges an extra bond between us. Even if it’s only about what a crappy parent I have been that day. And amazingly, it makes me feel better. A trouble shared really is a trouble halved (with the right person of course). Who knew.

  2. Oh, and I am also familiar with the chocolate and corn chip method of coping with emotional trauma. How did women survive before chocolate was invented?

  3. Jo brings up some really good points! It’s not really about all the sharing and crying and going on and on about things. It’s about knowing one’s own limitations as a human person, and then being wise enough to choose the person (or people) you can really talk to, and then being brave enough to let them in. “A trouble shared is a trouble halved.” That’s very wise indeed.I don’t do the sharing thing about my deepest self. Things need to stay nice and analytical thank you very much. Letting others into that most vulnerable of places was just too potentially dangerous for me. (Another of the learned childhood pattern for self-protection. I think this must be very common.) What I’ve started to figure out, though, Leonie, is that it’s not fair to the people who love me — really love me — not just people who should love me or who say they love me — it’s not fair not to let them in. It takes a lot courage for me sometimes, and I have to pick my moments, and take full responsibility for me. But it’s a learnable skill with practice. And guess what? It’s completely tied to weight loss. I suppose letting go is letting go, and our bodies and psyches aren’t separate. It’s all us.(But — just so you know — being a goopy mum who needs to weep to everyone who’ll listen, and needs to have her child pity her — this I am NOT recommending. I think that’s a different kind of emotional bullying, and I loathe it.)

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