Monday, August 18, 2008


Sitting here, once again, in an airport. This time I'm on my way home to visit the fam. If I'm this close, and without job, I may as well get in some family time. Plus I'm desperate for a father's blessing. (Non-LDS friends: Dad holds the priesthood in my faith, and can give special blessings to his children. They've meant a great deal to me over the years.)

I was with a couple girlfriends the last night I was in Boston. We talked a little about the things we don't allow ourselves. I was telling them that I don't allow myself to feel anger openly. My friend said she did the same thing, only with sadness. These emotions make us feel weak. They felt like "should-not" feelings. And so we don't express them. Sometimes we don't even know we're having them.

My anger tends to come out in sarcasm. If you've read my blog, maybe this is apparent to you. Or, even worse, about every two years or so I have a complete blowout. A lash-out, a temper tantrum. I go off in a rage. I throw things, I scream, I get really crazy. And then I feel so incredibly awful aftterward I want to die. My most recent one was last month. And it was horrible. So I bought a book, and I started being honest about my inability to express anger and crap like that. And now instead of looking at my tantrum as something despicable, I'm starting to see it as an inevitable consequence for not dealing with it honestly.

I also think this blog (or rather, the last one) was an outlet for that anger, albeit a more civilized but brassy one. I admit I like my snark sometimes; it feels cathartic to be snarky. But I also want to be able to assert myself in person genuinely, not just cyber-sarcastically.

I've been trying to see all the different ways in which I distance myself from others, and eliminate them one by one. I've learned that my mismanagement of feelings is a huuuuge barrier. But I wouldn't have thought that it would be. Finally, I've reached a place where my need to connect overrides my need to be safe and sound.

I went to one of the university wards for church yesterday, and had a wonderful experience. I don't know what I was expecting, but it far exceeded those expectations. I came home feeling charged and optimistic about my new digs, and my ability to thrive therein. I'm hoping this will be the place where I try all this stuff out, all my new and improved life skills. Push back the temptation to stand alone and independent, soften, and reach out in openness. Oh man, I really hope I can do this.


Anonymous said...

Mary@McCormick: Learning to express emotions is hard to do. I do the same thing. I repress my frustration with certain situations and just end up exploding and then feel awful. I have a sister who is a therapist and she constantly expresses her emotions. If you say or do something to her that she interprets is being mean she will politely but firmly state, "I did not appreciate your comment and please don't talk to me that way again." She says this to everyone - her boss, clients, people at the store, etc. She really stands by it. I tried it a couple of times and it really catches the other person off guard - plus it feels good and just let someone know when they are being a jerk. They are not expecting it and usually apologize. In society we are just taught to grin and bear everything without expressing ourselves and it can and will catch up to us.

Grandy said...

Having been on the side of the bottle-up of emotions, I very much understand ther verbal vomit that follows.

I too have high hopes for you in your new digs.