Take Cover!

5:36 AM

In the World According to Bailey, emotions would not exist. Fine -- they could exist on select few occasions, after being approved by a board of Emotional Experts and stripped of their more negative qualities. But they would be on strict watch: no interfering with regular bedtimes, no lengthy inner battles, no hateful or despairing whispers. They would immediately flee when conflict arose so that everything may be resolved peacefully. They would not overwhelm young people age thirteen to nineteen. And they most certainly would have restricted access to females in general.

Ever wish life worked that way?

People say that females are the more emotional type, as if we enjoy tossing the bed sheets into a knot and crying our eyes out and hiding in a closet. Nothing makes me more jealous than to hear that, allegedly, men are able to shut off their brains at will. Two words to that: Not fair.

To be perfectly honest with you, I've been a crab this week. Everything gets under my skin. Internal pressure rises in 0.6 seconds. One word, one look, one twitch of the eye and I'm running, running, running for my locked bedroom.

Maybe I'm just a "teenager" and maybe I'm just a "female," but I do not wake up each morning plotting my next hormonal explosion. I don't delight in my touchiness. There are times when I just sit still in one spot, arms wrapped tightly around my balled-up body, trying to contain myself. After a couple weeks of sleepless nights and torturous days, I've had it: I hate emotions.

The nice ones I sometimes can handle -- fuzzy wuzzies, the ones that make you feel alive. But even joy can make me ping off the wall uncontrollably to the point of physical exhaustion. Anticipation is the worst of the best feelings. (And I'm still young enough to wait beside dark windows and crane my neck for car headlights. That's likely the real problem.)

Emotions make things special, I understand. Nobody would get married were it not for the obsessive-compulsive flutters that drive men to buy flowers and women to coo and giggle. Hanging out with friends wouldn't be as sweet without that gut feeling of affection. Plays would be no fun without the freaky-excited pulse as we wait to flood the dark stage.

But emotions are so draining. Many emotions are like fists squeezing the life and sanity out of me. A good round of hormones knocks me out dead cold in ten minutes. They trap a girl into a cage of their own building, with no life occurring beyond the bars. Ironically, the times when I can't contain myself are the times when I feel most contained.

Please tell me you haven't left and are still around for my stunning conclusion. Please crowd round and assure me with your tales and sympathy that I am not the only person in the world who feels. Please admit that you've been tempted to bang your head against the wall you've just been driven up.

My stunning conclusion? I still struggle with emotions. Let me rephrase that: I fight emotions tooth and nail, bad and good. I'm super sensitive, I specialize in reading between the lines and I take things harder than most people. I've resigned myself to the fact that I'll go to my grave emotional.

But I've learned that while emotions cannot be banished, they can be controlled. The Lord, bless Him, gave us minds and wills as well as hearts. We've no choice in experiencing emotions but we can control that experience -- control it like chasing fire and wind, true, but we can weather it. And emotions go away. They're like pain -- like the feeling when you eat too much too fast and it burns a hole between your lungs and you're certain it's the last day on earth for you. It hurts so hard that breath and words can't catch up with it. But it goes away. Completely away. In about thirty seconds. And tomorrow you won't care that you nearly exploded your esophagus from scarfing down noodles. You won't remember that pain.

Emotions are like that, too. They come, yes -- we get that. But they also go, just as quickly. And nothing short-lived is worth yanking hair over.

(Why are these simple things so complicated?)

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18 impressions

  1. "And tomorrow you won't care that you nearly exploded your esophagus from scarfing down noodles." Ha. :)

    I struggle with emotions, too- most often things like fear and anxiety rather than anger or sadness.

    I tend to hold in how I feel, though...which can be a really bad thing when I try to bottle up too much.


  2. I've never heard that we guys can shut off our brains, we just bottle the emotions into little Sundrop bottles that will eventually explode and spray soda all over the place leaving a major mess all over everyone involved, not just the person holding the soda.

    What I'm trying to get at is, don't fight your emotions too hard because they usually find a way to make things worse if you do.

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. It really did me some good to read it. :) I can't say I haven't had emotional days, trust me, I have. I've cried until I've felt sick. But I have to be honest, as of late, I've not been really feeling emotion. I don't know why, but I haven't felt deeply for a few weeks. However, I feel like by the grace of our Lord my emotion is returning. I've FELT emotion, but I haven't felt deeply for a few weeks. Funny how a good blog post can cause you to pour yourself out to a perfect stranger. :) But I loved your post, I love how honest you were.

    God bless,
    Anne Marie

  4. I found your blog 3 days ago and have happily been reading away. Though I come from a small family (I'm the oldest of 4)there are so many ways I relate to you. I loved your "eligible ladies' post and the one on our roles in ministry. You have the guts to type up and display for all the world to see what many of us just talk about. (Actually, if I were more articulate, I might be convinced to blog but knowing my horrific spelling and utter contempt of all things grammer, it would be a disaster!) Thank you for sharing with us as the Lord shapes you and forms to be more like Him! Thank you for being open and honest and sharing things just as they are, flaws and all. And about emotions, though I wouldn't be classified in the "extreme emotion catagory" I can identify, particularly with Jake in that earlier comment. I tend to do the same. I don't get mad easily, but I do get grumpy. Grumpiness is my way to be frustrated and -not- get into too much trouble. I'm admitting it too you: I learned very early on that yelling and stomping will get you spanked, but grumping will get you called down. Isn't that terrible!?! My innate sin nature is far too visible in this area! The Lord has been convicting me of these habits, and slowly teaching me His ways. So, in short, though my struggles may appear slightly different, they all come from the same areas and God will help us as we continue to learn and grow in Him. God bless you sister!

  5. Ugh. Emotions. Sometimes I have it all down, running in perfect order (you know how well I am at fooling you and concealing my emotions *coughs loudly*). And then there's those days when all emotions seem to rebel and hold me hostage. It takes weeks of negotiating to get them under control.

    And they can be controlled. I agree.

    But not without a fight. And tears. And sister talks. ;)

  6. Loved this post, just one addendum to "They would not overwhelm young people age thirteen to nineteen." I would change 19 to 30, at least. I know your point was directed to teenage emotions, but as someone now in her twenties, let me just give you a heads up that the emotion fairy does not appear at your door on your twentieth birthday to collect your surplus of teenage angst, like the toothfairy collects teeth. In some ways, your emotions and anxieties about the future (who will I marry, what will I do for a job) deepen because the future is now the present and you still may not have answers to these questions.

    Please try to enjoy seventeen, Bailey, because in five or ten years you will wish you could use the line "I am just a kid" but you wake up and find that you truly are not.

  7. Kristin, you're right -- it's easier to fight anger and sadness than fear and anxiety. Maybe because the latter reflects on things that might happen and the former on things that already happened?

    Jake, I wouldn't know. I just go by what I'm told. ;o)

    Anne Marie, I had a period of my life where I felt no emotion either. It was the scariest, weirdest feeling ever -- or rather not, since I didn't feel anything. Now that I think about it, I'd rather fight my emotions than have them taken away from me.

    Savannah, so true! We seem to treat grumpiness as an acceptable alternative to tantrums but it's really the same root cause. I used to be more explosive when I was younger until I made a conscious effort to hold it in. I feel I'm like...I don't know...someone who holds everything in but is so transparent that everyone sees it, anyway.

    Bethany, your hostage/negotiation example? Perfect. And huzzah for sister talks! *HUGS* You're the bestest ever, Miss Heart Reader. ;o)

  8. Anonymous, I was afraid of that. :{ ;o)

  9. It is weird. But it's nice to know you've been through that as well. For me, for instance, if I'm sorry for something, I don't feel sorry (I don't FEEL regret) but in my head I know I am. That's what's been difficult for me. I'm not looking for sympathy, just sharing. ;)

  10. Emotions? Let's get rid of them. Who even needs those, anyway?

    (Okay, so ... like, everyone on earth.)

    Awesome post. I relate 100% to that "GET OFF ME, HORMONES!!" feeling. It's really not fun. Don't we all wish we could've appreciated our younger years more?

  11. Wow Bailey. I can completely understand where you come from. I'm the oldest of 4 girls who range from the over-emotional to happy balanced 9 year old (oh the fortunate days of childhood). And it's hard. And tiring. And it can get pretty ugly. And there are some days when the mouth-of-the-south syndrome flares and I wonder if I just need to duct tape my face because no matter how I try say what I say it continually gets taken the wrong way. Thank goodness there is a God who forgives, and gives grace, and who continually renews us as we seek Him. But I can totally relate to Anne Marie on emotional deadness. After having come through a year where I did not feel anything, I can understand and appreciate the gift of emotion so much more now than I did before (for years before when I felt like I was losing it I would go to my room and literally bang my head against a wall until I was focused more on the external pain than the internal chaos). Now that I'm almost 17 I've gained a lot more outer composure, but inside the feelings have only intensified as I've grown. But as I get older I'm also realizing that some of the things that really made me tick when I was younger don't affect me that much any more. Not all of the things, just some of them. My hardest struggle right now is that while I am outwardly very controlled, I have sisters who are not, and we are all very different, with different things that make us upset. My labels run from "The Tin Man" to "The Snow Queen" (supposedly my heart is a good source of ice for drinks in the summer). It is hard, so hard, to press in to relationship with the girls that God has given me for sisters, and I am so thankful that he provides patience and mercy and understanding!!!!

    Thank you so much for doing this blog, and for allowing other fallen girls to see and share.

  12. Oh, Bailey...
    Hahahaha. You know, if I had read this post a couple of months ago, I wouldn't be laughing nearly as hard.

    That's because I wasn't in the second trimester of my first pregnancy at eighteen years old.

    I feel so bad for my poor husband, whom, when we were engaged, I promised with so much certainty that I really didn't cry as often as a lot of girls.
    It used to be true. Now, I really don't think I can boast such a thing. I've been as surprised as he has at my fierce every-other-day bouts of sobbing. So take heart. It's not as bad as it will someday be. ;-)

    In Christ,
    ~Hannah May

  13. Thank you muchly - I needed this today!! :D

  14. Bailey,

    I think you are wrong about emotions. Yes, letting them overwhelm me is wrong, but they are, at root, good things.

    Stoicism used to be my friend in my teenage years. I worked for several years to eliminate emotions, tried to stop crying every time someone looked at me wrong, tried to stop feeling angry when someone went and trampled all over me. And you know, it didn't really work. Now, I know you aren't suggesting this--mine was an extreme case, I suppose.

    But at the same time, I have come to view them differently. Mind over heart, not the other way around, you know. But that doesn't mean one's mind should ban all emotions. It means that you (in the general sense of "you" meaning "people") go and see what God has called you to. God has called us to a variety of emotions. Yes, bouncing off the walls can by exhausting. Yes, going and being overwhelmed by the world can be draining. But God has given those times to us. To extol Him more during the high times. And to seek His face and comfort during the hard ones.

    I think this is one of those posts that you'll end up disagreeing with, though. It is a lovely thought to be able to not have emotions. It is just a wrong one.

  15. Jenny, no, you're completely right. This post was written sort of tongue-in-cheek, after a long battle with overwhelming semi-inappropriate thoughts.

    I have a love-hate relationship with emotions. I'm kind of "all out there" -- that's my personality. And I like it -- it makes friends and influences people. ;o) I prefer sensitive people to stoics myself. So this wasn't a diatribe against emotions: just sharing how I was feeling this week, knowing that some girl out there could hopefully relate.

    This is so true: Mind over heart, not the other way around, you know. But that doesn't mean one's mind should ban all emotions. It means that you...go and see what God has called you to. God has called us to a variety of emotions. Right now, that's what I'm trying to figure out. It was encouraging to read your comment today. Thanks.

  16. Oh... I've had times when all I want to do is run full speed into a brick wall. And I had a time when I couldn't feel - actually I was feeling one emotion to the exclusion of all others and I didn't realize it was happening until one day I got properly (in the sense of actually) angry about something and my dad properly (in the sense of it was the right thing to do) spoke sternly to me, and I felt hurt and started crying, and then I kept crying because I thought, "I can feel again! This is so good!" What I do when I'm feeling emotional is tell myself, "This is right now. Tomorrow will be a new day. This won't last forever." And I know that as long as I can laugh at myself I'm okay. :)

  17. I had a really bad last three weeks - I'd been really irritable, angry, and frustrated. I felt like going outside, lying in the middle of the road, and banging my head on the concrete. A too-loud conversation between two brothers, a sister wanting a fruit bar instead of a granola bar, and an accidental pen mark randomly stroked against the page all blew me into a fiery rage. (Scratch that last part. I always get irritated over that. ;P)

    Notice my usage of past tense, Bailey dear. ;) Funny how a little prayer and some quiet Bible time can blow over almost anything. (Scratch that again. *Everything*)


  18. Hi Bailey, I found your blog on Raisinghomakers about a month ago and have really enjoyed reading your posts. Some how they always are so close to what I'm going through. I really needed this on eon emotions. Spent some time crying our to the Lord this morning. Emotions sure are hard to understand at times, but the Lord has a purpose in everything He allows to come to us. That is my only hope...He would be glorified through my weaknesses.
    Thank you for writing.


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