Emotional Wasteland

I remember times when I was younger desiring to feel something. For the most part I think I was and am well in touch with my emotions, but there were times when I had this desire to feel. It was almost like a hunger, like I hadn’t felt any emotion in a while, so I wanted to… needed to… feel something.

I remember thinking it was an artist thing. I took great pride then thinking that I was an Artist, capital A. I thought the desire for emotion was somehow connected my love of writing poetry. I don’t write poetry much anymore, but I wrote a lot in those days. My poems were almost exclusively love poems. More appropriately love lost or love can’t have or yuck you’re a not my type get away from me poems. I don’t remember writing any happy love poems. I honestly don’t think there was a single happy poem in the bunch. I recognized that the good ones came from a place of deep emotion, so I thought the desire for emotion was for the sake of “my work.” I saw pain as my muse and I guess at times I even felt rejected by her.

I’m realizing as I type that there are two consistent themes in this story, a desire to feel and a desire for love. There were two important desires going on in me in those moments, but they both had root in the same event. When I was about three years old my parents got a divorce. This instilled in me a desire that I suppose we all have, but I suspect it was/is less a healthy desire and more a broken obsession in my life, the desire to be loved. I know my parents love me in their own way, but when you’re a kid of divorce (isn’t it interesting that we refer to ourselves as children of divorce as if divorce is our parent) there is always an underlying question about your parent’s love. They stopped loving each other, could they stop loving me? Didn’t they love me enough to stay together? Am I unlovable?

The other thread is the need to feel. Like I said, at the time I thought the desire was more for the sake of the poetry, but I think now that my soul was crying out to feel what I didn’t or couldn’t feel when I was three. No three-year-old is capable of dealing with the pain of divorce. So you don’t feel it; the feelings are too strong for your little spirit so you stuff it way down until it comes out sideways. You get angry at other things. A generally peaceful kid punches another boy on the playground at his daycare (interestingly, a place he felt abandoned) because he got on his tricycle. Eventually when you are older you begin to realize that you don’t feel deeply. Or maybe you feel deeply and it scares you.

I think those poems were incredibly helpful at the time. They helped me to get in touch with some deeper emotions and do something about them. Now as a thirty-year-old I understand myself a little better, so those feelings of grief and loss aren’t as easy to deal with in an abstract way. Or maybe it’s just that the time has come to deal with it head on. I don’t know. I’m sorry for the rambling post this time, but maybe with this perspective it make a little more sense why I have such difficulty engaging with my story.

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