feelings

I buried my face in my hands and shook with the effort of not bursting into noisy tears.

Biff had just shown me an enormous Christmas Eve Eve surprise present: he'd written to a few authors I admire enormously to ask their opinion on my blog. And they responded. "Beautiful writing," they said. "Lyrical rhythm." "Storyteller's voice." "I dig it."

And I utterly dissolved.

I've been happy lately. I can tell you this with a fair amount of certainty because the recent effort to organize and optimize my life has included tracking my happiness over the past month — marking down a subjective 0-10 every day — and it's been, on average, a solid 6.95, including only two outliers of 3 and 4 on days when I didn't talk to very many people.

I have also, perhaps, been a little more focused on facts and figures than on emotions.

I didn't understand why I was weeping at news that should have been uplifting. "I am responding illogically and I don't know why I'm feeling like this!" I told Biff, shoulders shaking, hand shading my prickling eyes. "I don't feel things! Why am I feeling things?"

Writing is the closest I seem to get to falling in love. It's more me than me; it's my soul bared to the wilds of the internet. I shout into the void without a shred of fear, knowing that my words will get lost in the torrent and I can be honest. Knowing that my words didn't go entirely unnoticed — that they were read and acknowledged and even appreciated — is a jolt to the very core. It makes me feel things, and feeling things is a distraction from getting shit done. Feeling things is fucking terrifying.

So after I laughed and cried and shook and sat with my hands over my face for a long moment, I mindlessly got out my phone and swiped and liked and distracted myself from feeling things for long enough to "collect myself," which, I am beginning to allow myself to think about realizing, may not be absolutely essential. A long time ago, I actively sought out things that scared me and dove right in, building myself up from the crumpled little person I'd become after four years in an abusive relationship. I was antifragile. I taught myself to flinch towards terror, and faced it and got to know it and made it a cherished part of myself instead of building an endless series of walls to keep out every uncomfortable or worrying thought. I certainly didn't duck behind a screen as soon as an emotion stronger than mild cheerfulness appeared on my radar.

Ryan and Colin, thank you for the kind words and the unintended shake-up to my system. I have some pondering to do and some things to feel.

-b