“Nicole, you have to do your work for real and get in touch with your emotions.”
This was a conversation that happened recently and to be honest, it is a repeated conversation depending on the day or month. I am a woman who will laugh way before she will cry. I run away from any feeling anything other than gratitude, hopefulness, and positivity.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that things can go left and at the same time I was raised to always be grateful and I wasn’t raised to deal with my true emotions. I didn’t see my parents move through any emotions other than gratitude and happiness. So here I am. I make sure that I am in the space of gratitude and positivity. How has that hindered me? How have I silenced my humanity in a way that promotes toxic positivity? I surely have. I look at my ancestor’s story. My paternal grandmother was emotionally unavailable to her children. She ran away from home as a young woman because she was tired of the responsibility of taking care of her younger siblings and as she searched for a better life outside of the constraints of caretaking, she found herself loving a man and having a child with him only for him to disappear into the wind never to return. How does a woman deal with that? She swallows her pain and moves on. She then finds the love of her life and creates a family, but she never deals with her pain so she then passes that on down to her children.
The day that I was encouraged to do my work “for real” came when I was preparing to go to a SHYNE retreat. In my mind, I was preparing to escape my reality of having a big move coming up but still no concrete place to go. Escape the reality of my body swelling because I don’t sit still and pay attention to how all this stress is showing up and how I really feel about it. Escape my reality of being resistant to what Spirit is showing me at the time. Escape any type of reality that doesn’t make me feel “good”... all because I have learned in church that in everything we give thanks. I overstand now that I can be thankful and in gratitude, and at the same time I can have feelings of regret, shame, fear, anger, etc. Having these feelings does not mean that I am not grateful, having these feelings makes me human.
When I got home on the day that I decided that I was going to attack these emotions head on…the floodgates opened and I realized that I was carrying a very heavy load. I wasn’t all put together as the illusion that I made up made it seem to be. Illusions. My go to medicine. Having the illusion that things aren't as bad as they seem to be, when things are so bad that I want to just lay in the bed and cry, instead of trying to find a solution. That night I made sure to slowly move my body and listen to what she was saying, a practice affectionately known as SLIMM, which caused me to release. Tears. Where did all these tears come from? Once they started falling I couldn’t make them stop. I just had to let all the shame, fear, doubt, and worry out. I fell all the way apart and I was the only one there to catch myself to put myself as a priority and to deal with emotions of fear, shame, and guilt and as I moved through them I felt lighter.
I am still working on honoring myself through the acknowledgment and feeling of emotions and as I am doing that, I am learning that my body will continue to do something to get my attention. I am worthy of the time and attention that it takes to acknowledge, identify, and move through emotions.