The phone rang in my office and one of my colleagues told me I am needed in my sister’s office (we worked for the same company at the time).
I thought it was a prank and resisted at first, but the tone was serious, and I could sense some discomfort in her voice. As I arrived at my sister’s office, I saw she was crying. Unable to talk, my colleague told me my sister received a call from my brother-in-law who told her my sister who lived in Port Elizabeth, died that morning.
My first reaction was to take control of what I was about to feel. I decided that I will not feel the pain. I dialled my brother-in-law’s number. I chose to belief that the news of my sister’s death was a mistake, I wanted to confirm that this was the case. Alas, she died. It was true.
I walked back to my office and called the rest of my family to share the news with them. I went home and later that afternoon we made arrangements to travel to Port Elizabeth.
Yes, I was sad. Shocked, and mostly in denial. Death does that to us, all of us.
I denied my real feelings, I disguised it as something that was more acceptable and looked prettier to the world for about a year after her death. I denied myself the absolute gift to feel the raw feeling of grief. I refused to let that raw feeling overwhelm me and change me.
It is no surprise that all my pent-up feelings waited for me a year later. Like a platoon of feelings, I met with them, each demanding attention and waiting for me to see them, to face them and for the “at ease” command. All my defences were stripped away. It was time to be honest with myself, to feel the pain, to admit the truth, to allow every raw emotion to flow through me, to let the healing begin.
Our lives desperately want us to show up authentically. To be honest with ourselves. To name those feelings, whether negative, dark, and unacceptable to society. Our feelings are messengers to us. They provide us with data of what our lives require, where healing is required, what are important to us. Denying our own emotions, regardless how raw they may feel and appear, will only cause them to become bigger. They will become bigger and more powerful until they are felt, acknowledged, and heard – by you.
FEEL YOUR EMOTION!
Bring yourself to life by feeling both positive and negative. Be vulnerable, let that become your safe space. Let be the place where you can be you, no pretending, no acting, no being who everyone else around you expect you to be and expect you to act.
Compartmentalization is real, we do it to survive, avoid discomfort and pain, or so we think. We put our emotions in neat little nameless boxes. We vow never to open them because we want it to be “behind us”, we want it to be “in the past”, but let me assure you, those unexpressed emotions will confront you some day. It’s a scientific fact that repressed emotions cause disease. Many of us can attest to this.
We put on our Superman and Superwoman suits daily as we face the world. Everyone praises us for being strong, for being resilient, for being courage because we can keep it together and we are strong. Society labels this act as courageous, yet, it often leaves us broken, beaten and exhausted.
I dare you to write down what you feel, especially when you experience those so-called “bad” feelings. Write as if no one will ever read the words of your honest and raw emotions. Dig deeper than using the words “sad” or “angry” – try heartbroken, “infuriated”, “embarrassed”, “deeply disconnected”. Then dig deeper until your words reflect EXACTLY what you feel.
Break the shackles that are holding you back from being a whole human who accepts and embraces every single part of who you are and what you feel. You are not broken, you simply may have learned, and was taught over years to deny yourself the myriad of aspects your life encompasses.
I DARE YOU TO FEEL! Have the courage to feel!
It is with much love that I dedicated this blog to my family. I treasure each of you for the amazing person you are!