Just the other day we were talking about happiness and finding happiness within oneself. Being tuned into one’s mood and emotions is a complicated task. As humans we are unique in our ability to not only feel emotions but to also have some control over the way we express those emotions. But even when one tries to mask how one truly feels in donning a ‘poker face’, there are times when the feeling overtakes any efforts of constraint.
I often find myself struggling with my emotions, clumsily shifting from extreme numbness to overwhemling emotion. I can’t say why really, and sometimes I surprise myself in my reactions to certain things. (Max is amazingly patient — I’m truly lucky for that!) Yet at the same time, I can’t say that my emotions themselves span the enitre spectrum; I can only recall a few times in my entire life when I’ve been genuinely angry, and in the past five years at least I can’t say that I’ve been jealous or bitter. It’s mostly feelings of hopes and fears, sympathy and irritation, sadness, worry, amusement, and, on the occasion, senenity. I’m really trying to work on being zen, but really, when I sit down to enjoy the moment and someone lights a cigarette next to me and the smoke is blowing in my face, it’s hard to relax and I fight feelings of annoyance. Yes, I can get up and move, but that doesn’t prohibit someone else in the next spot from doing the same thing or something else that stresses me out. Basically people bother me and I recognize that and I’m trying to work through it until I can move to a remote location where only people I permit can be present, mwahaha.
Now as I am writing this, I am saddened, but I can scarcely explain why. I feel the fleetingness of time, I am nostalgic, and I am overhwelmed about the stuggles the earth and people face. At times when I watch all the tired faces stream past me in the metro, their pains feel like a constant weight that tugs at me. Even when I burrow myself into my book or phone I am constantly aware of the struggles that surround me. I find myself distracted and falling into loops of pity and shame relating to so many things — excess and lack, ignorance and condesendance, extremes of all kinds that don’t allow for compromise and middleground.
Yet at the same time as I am often overwhelmed with saddness, I also find that there are moments, regularly, when I am walking around and I am recognize that I am truly happy. It can sneak up as a surprise or it can be an dull buzz hanging around for a period of time. I think about how grateful I am for the experiences and people that I’ve been fortunate enough to have in my life.
I don’t know if living abroad has made me hyper-aware of my surroundings or if this was something that I always tapped into as an insecure person growing up. Sometimes I am too overloaded by all the things that are going on around me and I have to tune it all out. I do think that living in Russia has made this easier and more acceptable because people don’t really interact with strangers, so you can ignore people and it’s not seen as rude or antisocial. In fact I think that when I do communicate with strangers here there is an initial surprised reaction of ‘what do you want from me’ until it is clear there is a good reason for engaging. I haven’t decided how exactly I feel about devoting attention to strangers. I think it depends on my mood and frame of mind. When you’re travelling and you have a lot free time, it can be funny and interesting to converse with people, or perhaps if there is a situation that is worthy of discussion. But the mundane small talk that is so typical in the US? I guess it lifts some people up, fueling them with energy while to others it is draining and pointless.
I think that lately I’ve been even especially emotional and nostalgic since I’m about to embark on a serious change in my life. Listening to a postcast or reading a passage in a book can bring me to tears, or upon seeing an old couple with linked arms can touch me. I am excited in both the positive-anticipation way as well as the untamed-nervous way because there are still so many questions to be answered by time. I know that everything will continue to work out, or that it will get worked out, but still, the fact that it’s so ‘real’ in that it is official and binding makes it seem like a huge deal. I don’t want marriage to be the defining moment of my life, but just one of many meaningful steps along the way. I certainly don’t see marriage as an accomplishment or a rite of passage, but more as a fact and a celebration.
I understand that happiness and sadness, truly, are states of mind, but that they have such a deep bodily impact. I am glad that I can feel things so wholly even though it often makes for extremely uncomfortable moments both physically and socially. I cherish that in a way because even though sometimes I can sink down way low, I’d rather feel that and have a slight grasp on how people who really suffer feel constantly, than to live on a steady plane numb to the highs and lows. I do think that I am, to some extent, both manic and bipolar, but I think that anyone who is real with themselves and listens closely to their inner emotional dialogue can recognize moments of inbalance. But once again, we are complicated animals with such diverse ranges of experiences, and the added dimension of relationships is simply abstruse. I think that these tendencies don’t always need to be ‘fixed’ or addressed if the individual can cope with it on their own. (Yet I think that sometimes chemical intervention is very effective and necessary — it’s for the individial to decide with their trusted medical advisors.)
Anyway, for now I’ll keep feeling all the feels over here. Love you!