The Crowd at the Door

It's been rough for me, the last few weeks. I'm not exactly sure why.

Maybe it was the play we were involved in. It was incredibly emotional for everyone, even us costuming people couldn't hear "Jesus" suffering, we couldn't see his "blood" and wipe it from his face without being touched by it. And I've gotten really good at supressing my emotions. But I couldn't surpress what I was feeling as I painted a crying Jesus on the cross.

I find now, that when I let some feelings out, all of them tend to come crowding behind, like they've been waiting. When they see the door's open, they push forward to try to make it through too.

It takes me by surprise. I couldn't understand that, when I used to hear people say that, how suddenly the pain could come and take your breath away out of nowhere. Maybe because it was so fresh then, and it hurt almost all the time. I couldn't push the pain aside for long enough to be surprised by its return. But I get it now.

I miss Dad every day. I think of him every day. I still do. But I don't ache every day. I can push those feelings out of my way, and after a while they seem to take a step back. They are patient. They watch for the door to open again.
And then they rush it.

I always tell students lined up at the door I have three rules for walking in the halls, single file, keep quiet, and walking feet all together with no rushing ahead or lagging behind. Crowds are so much easier to manage when you can get them to line up all neat and tidy and threaten them with going back to the classroom to try it again if they can't behave themselves.

How do I do that with my emotions? I haven't figured it out yet. I need a substitute Becky to take over and whip them into shape. Maybe bribe them with gummy bears if all else fails. (This doesn't make sense anymore. I'm going to bed.)


  1. I like the way you describe this feeling stuff. You've got some good images to work with.

    The image that I've come up with is that feelings/emotions are like waves and they rise and fall and come and go. And if we recognize that they will pass, it makes it just a little bit easier to ride the wave -- especially of unpleasant emotions.

    However, when we try to push the feelings away, it's like pushing away those waves. And you know how easy it is to keep even the bath water at one end of the tub? Imagine an ocean of feelings! When we push it away it eventually overwhelms us, knocks us over. That image has been helpful for me personally as well as with clients because it helps me remember that pushing stuff away can actually be really overwhelming.

    Can I put on my counsellor pants for just one minute?

    One thing you could do when those feelings all start to push through your door is to simply name them. You can do this either by stopping for a minute and paying attention and in your head name all of the (often contradictory and complex) things you're feeling in the moment. Or -- even better -- jot them down: words about feelings or images or memories that are there too. If you jot them down you can go back to them later, too.

    The thing is, those feelings are there anyway and it's often a lot scarier to wonder what they are than to stop and simply name them. When they're named they somehow lose a bit of power.

    There. Counsellor pants off. Back into comfy yoga pants. :)

    Take care, Beck!

  2. I'm not "scared" or "avoiding" my emotions so much as pushing them aside because .... .... Actually, that's a good question. Mostly because I can't feel sad every day I think. I need to move on. And I think I am mostly, doing all right with that. But every now and then, out of nowhere, REALLY out of nowhere, I am just so sad all over again. And it seems like whenever I am emotionally raw about something else, suddenly I just MISS MISS MISS him so much. I miss him all the time, but suddenly....

    Anyways. I'm not sure I've explained myself better here. But that's part of why I write, I think. To "name" what I'm feeling. That's another reason why my blog is so full of posts like this one. I usually only feel compelled to write when I'm overwhelmed in some way by what's going on, good or bad.

  3. Becky, I found it very helpful to write my thoughts and feelings down at times - it's a way of processing for me, and quite possibly for you too. And from what I've seen, having moments when the feelings leap upon you is all part of working through, but as you've found, the times they do that get bigger gaps in between. Those gaps never become infinitely long, but they do become long enough to live normally most of the time.

    Just beware of feeling guilty because you don't feel bad. ;-)

  4. I wish we both blogged more like we used to do. Things went all wacky after your dad died and I understand how that changed things, but sometimes I want to go back to the way it was when we all blogged and talked while we worked on our farms and played around with silly gnomes and stuff. I miss that. I do the same thing (avoid, push aside, ignore) which is why today everyone who shares anything birthday related is making me cry. Don't ask. Even when you posted your silly Happy Birthday to Arianne I teared up. Birthdays are making me extremely emotional the last few days and I can't explain it, except to know that it marks the passage of time and I am aware at how (in the grand scheme of things) I more than likely have less than half of my life left and not ready to retire. (can't afford to, yet) (those stay-at-home-mom days coming back to bite me in the butt) (I didn't picture being on my own) (want to get more money in the bank to travel)(and this is way too many parentheses but I don't care). hahaha. So I am extra emotional because even though I know we all have to leave here, I don't have to like it. There is just no good time. There will always be that one more little person that I want to see grow up or that one more thing that I want to do and ...well, you get it, I'm sure. I need to get back to being compelled to write. I think my photography is taking its place, but it does't express feelings and thoughts. Only creativity. Sigh. I love you, Becky!


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