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?)