Last night I was at a dinner and someone close to me made a joke. It was a stupid joke. Harmless really except it made me feel like nothing. It made me feel disrespected. And it made me feel foolish. The waitress was part of the joke, she didn’t find it amusing either. She was kind of offended and made that known.
I felt like someone sucker punched me.
So there I sat with all these feelings, all these immense feelings of shame and fear and horror. Why did this just happen? Am I over reacting? Why can I never just feel my feelings without my mind taking over and making all these fucking decisions about how I feel and why?
Truth is that I felt like I didn’t matter. My feelings didn’t matter. My importance in this person’s life, grossly lacking. I know that isn’t true. But that comment made me doubt everything.
I couldn’t look at the person the rest of the evening. I wasn’t sure what I was holding back: rage or tears. It didn’t take me long to figure out what I have come to believe is always true for me: it is always anger covered fear. Always.
I so wish I could be the person that bursts into tears and runs to the bathroom. I have so much respect for people who are capable of being so swept away by their feelings that they don’t appear to even notice that their behavior has a negative impact on others. They just FEEL it and then they move forward based on feeling alone.
Not me. No way. I am overwhelmed by feeling and my mind steps in and shuts the whole fucking thing down. No feeling. No action. No nothing. Me and my feelings are on lockdown.
Then my mind goes into hyper overdrive. I have to figure it all out. Find out if I have a right to feel the way that I do. Most of the time the feeling dies right there because I go over onto the other person’s side of things and start thinking about how they might have felt, that they didn’t mean to hurt my feelings, that I am overreacting. And there is absolutely nothing to do with the pain I feel. I have just thought my way out of how I feel, which could really be good news...except, I still feel the pain.
I am totally lost on what to do with it. Where do I put it? How do I process it? How do I get to the place where I am hurt and can communicate it effectively when everything in me just wants to cry buckets. And yet, not a tear shed...yet.
I told the person they hurt my feelings. They apologized. They told me they didn’t mean it which I already knew. They then moved on. Which left me feeling worse than before. I mean the apology was nice but I don’t feel like my feelings really mattered. I don’t feel heard and I didn’t feel supported or loved. I felt dismissed which is a feeling that is becoming more and more common.
I tried to just go to bed but I couldn’t. This refrain: what to do with the pain just kept running through my head. And I knew that it would plague me all night long so I might as well get up and just let it out of the cage of my mind. It wreaks havoc if I don’t. And the slumber, if I get any at all, is fitful and paltry.
I think the part that hurt the most is that I have worked so hard to show up for this person this week. I have bought things, made plans, scheduled things and generally gave of my time and energy to make this other person’s life better. To make them feel special. And while I wasn’t expecting some sort of grand acknowledgment of all my efforts. I wasn’t expecting to be publicly disparaged either.
So now I am in the usual quandary of my emotional landscape. I have said how I felt. An apology has been made, but I still feel like shit. I don’t feel like anything was really resolved. I feel lost and unsure about what to do next. I am trying to connect. I am trying to reel myself in. But maybe that is the problem. I really do not know what to do with my pain. All the things that I come up with are maladaptive and self destructive..still. When I hurt, I tend to want to wound back, and luckily for all of us, I have this lockdown mechanism that shuts me down and off before the wounded becomes the wounder.
At 10 pm last night I felt like I had been up for days. I am exhausted by my life. And I can’t seem to find a way forward because I really do not know what to do with the pain I feel. I do not want to lord it over the other person. They apologized and I knew they were joking to begin with...it is just that it wasn’t funny to me...like at all. And I don’t know what to do with the pain that I still feel even though the event is now long over and has been apologized for...
The only thing I know to do is pray. Pray for them. Pray for me. Pray to be relieved of this pain. I have no container that will hold it comfortably. So I must just sit with it and trust that this too shall pass. It is just another moment in a long line of moments that I didn’t really enjoy all that much. Maybe it speaks volumes about things. Maybe it doesn’t. I don’t really know. And that is where my mind goes berserk. I want to know. I want to think myself out of this hole. And I can’t. I just have to sit with hard feelings and try not to do anything that will make it feel worse. And that is not easy to do when all of your solutions, well at least the ones that come naturally, are born of creating more pain and suffering for all.
I guess it comes down to forgiveness. I have to forgive myself for having feelings. I know that may sound dumb. But that is how it feels to me, that feelings are here in my life fucking it up and I have to forgive them for it. So I have to forgive myself for feeling and being hurt. I really, really hate being hurt.
I also have to forgive the other person. It wasn’t malicious. It wasn’t meant to hurt me. And I believe they are sorry. I would have liked a little more emotion in the apology if I am honest. A hug would have also been nice. I felt so disconnected and alone, a little connection would have gone a long way to making me feel less shitty.
But I lack the power to make the other person do anything. Like at all. I am responsible for me. And that is sometimes a daunting task.
So I guess what I do with the pain is that I sit with it, forgive myself and the other person, praying I learn something from the whole ordeal. Life is funny like that...I want to feel better immediately but I have a mind that likes to take pain out and turn it over and over again, massaging it almost. Not really helpful if the goal is to move on and feel better.
I can only take care of my own needs. And do my best to show up for others. And it looks like tonight I am getting more practice in forgiveness and sitting with pain that I do not really know how to manage, let alone sit with...
Life is complicated and hard. And I feel like I am coming to this question a little late in life...like I should have figured this shit out by now. But I haven’t and have no real confidence that I am going to any time soon. Tonight, I have poured myself out here with the hope that my mind will be empty enough for me to get some sleep.
I am being given information...and there is a lesson in here somewhere. I am sure of it. I just wish that more of my lessons could involve less pain, doubt, fear and feeling. Is that too much to ask?
Apparently...yes. So, I work with what I have. I begin again. I forgive and try to move forward. Trusting that all lessons become apparent in perfect timing. I do not have to pull up my old trauma stoked responses. I cannot think myself out of this whole feeling game. Feelings are inconvenient, and painful and hard. And sometimes there is nothing to do with the pain except sit with it, trusting that it is here to teach me something and though it remains obscure at the moment...it will clarify in good time.
Pain is part of living. No one lives a pain free life. Not one being on this earth. I am not sure why I find it so objectionable then...it really is just a condition precedent of being alive. This thought makes it more palatable...but there I go thinking again!
Well my brain let me sleep until 3 am. Have you ever wanted and needed a vacation from yourself?