Thursday, May 20, 2010

Don't Tell Me How to Feel

I have a lot of people telling me that I shouldn't feel this way. Mostly in real life.

I guess they see that I'm a generally happy person, that I have lots of friends who love me, they tell me I'm beautiful and that I don't look 40 (as if that changes anything), and that I'm successful in that I've fully supported myself all these years, own my own home... that sort of jazz.

I think it has a lot to do with my unemployment struggles lately. I just hate that there is no work for me and it makes me feel like a failure. A failure even though mostly, I just picked a career field that is A) volatile B) changing and C) no longer valued.

But it is humiliating to me to be single and unemployable.
That translates to all kinds of unwanted.

Employers don't want me? Fine. I'll go home and raise babies. Oh wait, I don't have any. I don't have a husband, and no I'm not having one on my own because guess what... I can barely support myself!!

Yes, I know that being married doesn't validate a person. That it's not all rainbows and sunsets and hot sex.

The bottom line is, I want to share my life. I want a partner. A teammate.
I am so over coming home to an empty house.
I am so over everything I do, on a daily basis... getting groceries, putting gas in the car, earning a paycheck... is done for me.
I am so over my own needs and wants.
I want to share.

Don't tell me I shouldn't feel this way. God made us to want to share our lives.
It's natural. It's Christ-like.

Yes, in a little way... as the kid who wasn't popular in school, who never scored the best grades, who didn't grow into her looks until after college... I sort of feel like I'm proving everybody right on their first impressions that I would never amount to anything.

I say that... but I know that I am deeply and passionately loved by God. I know that. I feel that.
I just also want to feel arms around me at home.


Herding Grasshoppers said...

I wish I had comforting words, but you already know them. And you're already telling them to yourself, which is a good thing.

Praying for your comfort,


Ps 56:8
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.

Liza said...

Your feelings are your feelings and they lead us to our values and what we really want out of life. Once we know what we want, we can go after it. I fully believe that everyone should be able to feel what they're feeling without judgment. (Doesn't mean you have to ACT on it - if you feel like punching someone, great, feeling like punching someone. But don't actually punch them, you know?)

I hope your feelings help lead you to make some decisions that get you what you want! Sending the best your way!

Rachel said...

I hope you can feel the hugs from NC.

Anonymous said...

You are right - no one can tell you how to feel. It's normal and healthy to FEEL sad, lonely, frustrated, anxious, confused... but I believe that I do have at least some choice in how I respond to those feelings. I don't know you in person, but I started reading your blog a while back because you are a friend of a friend of mine and she suggested it. I found you to be witty and thoughtful, so I added you on my RSS feed. However, I've decided to unsubscribe from your blog because when I've read your posts in the last few weeks, I have felt sad and angry.

I am dating someone right now, but I didn't have a boyfriend until I was 28, so I've experienced loneliness. I won't advise you, and I won't comfort you, but I will offer my experience. I believe that I met someone when I finally stopped whining about being alone. When I stopped treating every man I met as a potential husband. When I stopped thinking my life would only be complete if I had a man. I think this is because no man wants the burden/responsibility of being anyone's primary source of happiness or completeness. No man wants to be the reason someone lives. No man wants to be with someone because she can't stand to be alone. No man wants to be treated a guaranteed hug/sperm-donor/bread-winner. When I began to recognize how unattractive my desperation was, I finally began to enjoy my life.

I pray for you (even though we've never met) and I hope that you find the abundant life promised in Christ.

TRS said...

Well Anonymous, it makes me sad that people only find me interesting when I'm cheerful through the muck.

Just remember you're 28 and you have a boyfriend NOW. There's no guarantee it will last...and in the next 11 years, you could go through three more relationships just like this one and be in the exact same position I'm in now, wondering why you don't deserve someone to love.

You are no more special than I am.

If there is anything I've learned. ... it's that it takes TWO people to be in love... and in most cases, one of them is not. And even if both are, it takes the miraculous work of God to really make it work.

I know it's wrong to feel like I deserve love. I guess I should be grateful that I'm alive, alone and unemployed.

I've been where you are. I've been happy for years. I have been (and still am) the type of woman men are attracted to physically and spiritually.

Trust me, it doesn't guarantee that the right man finds you. Many men of my generation don't have the guts to commit to anyone or anything.
That's why I feel that I've been gyped.

Men of your age group are learning from my age group that they can't wait that long... and no one is perfect. They're gettimg married sooner. You're welcome.

You sound very naive when you conclude you have the answers because that guy of yours could flake out next week.

Please, talk to me when YOU'RE 40.
In the meantime, work on not flaking out on your friends when their lives get rough... cuz one day... there may not be anyone there for you when you find you are barren or widowed or even still single.

Genevra said...

All I have to say is that I just loved the title of the post. I hate being told how to feel, or why I am wrong to feel a certain way. That just makes the feelings stick around that much longer and get more intense. I love it when my feelings are just accepted as feelings at that moment, nothing more, nothing less.

TRS said...

Thanks Genevra,
Suggesting feelings aren't valid is very damaging.
Telling a friend to push through the crap feelings to hurry up and get to good feelings so that you can feel comfy again is selfish.
A friend says, "that must hurt. I understand why that hurts you."
If you must, say "it won't be like this forever. I love you and I will be by your side while you feel this crap."

If I had turned away from my friends when they got depressing to be around. ... I'd be low on friends by now.
No one's life is fabulous all the time.

Genevra said...

I was falling asleep when suddenly a thought popped into my mind and I was compelled to share it. Which I may be completely off base here, by the way. In that case just disregard. :)

Your posts of late have struck me as someone who is in the grieving process, just not for someone who has actually died. More of a dream and/or expectation of how your life was suppose to have turned out by the time you were the age you are fast approaching.

Grieving the deaths of hopes and dreams is just hard as grieving the passing of a person, in my opinion. Maybe harder, because people can concretely understand how it feels or must feel to have someone you love die. I think it is harder when it is not a concrete thing. Plus, in my observations people are fabulous about being so supportive at the onset of grief or having a bad day, it is when it lasts longer that it starts to get uncomfortable for people, because not everybody has the same timeline for going through the grieving process.

I was listening to a Caroline Myss lecture on my ipod the other day and she made a comment that struck me. She said that sometimes the greatest gift another human being could give another was to just sit with them through their grief. I liked that, because it reminded me of how when I lost my grandparents, my essential parents and safe haven, within six weeks of each other. The depth of my grief was great and I sadly found that very few friends were able to just sit with me in my grief. However, now I'm eternally grateful for the few friends that were able to render me that service.

I'll sit with you.

TRS said...

Genevra!!! I love you!

Yes, that is exactly it. I AM grieving. I sort of identified that myself, but not as eloquently.

As I said a few posts back... if I were a widow, or divorced or had lost a child people would understand and sit with me... but because I am grieving something intangible... I'm supposed to just get over it.

Which is why I sort of snapped at Miss Anonymous up there /\ because I felt she was dismissing WHERE I AM. I am at a place of loss.

Thank you for holding me on your heart enough to think of me as you drift to sleep! Thank you getting up and sharing your thoughts.
You have brought me to tears... because you understand, and in a weird bloggy way you love me... because you care for me.
And I you!!

Would you please come move next door to me? I'm collecting friends that I want next door to me... or in my neighborhood... and you are one of them!

Good night friend!

TRS said...

Also, I'm so sorry about your grandparents. <3

Genevra said...

TRS- Aww, thank you so much. I would love to live next door to you. One can never have enough good friends. I'm so happy I wasn't way off base with my grieving thought. I feel I went through that as well a couple years back about different things, mainly that my immediate family was always going to be chaotic and I didn't have to rescue them. That I could have a happy and peaceful life.

I don't know what the other side holds for you, but I do know there is another side of the grieving valley. I think you are doing an awesome job of not staying stuck there, by processing and sharing your thoughts and feelings.

Have a great day!

Kathleen said...

First of all, I'm ticked off that people have the nerve to tell you that you should feel a certain way.

Let me tell you that your feelings ARE valid. You have dreams, and naturally since you haven't seen them come to fruition yet you are sad. Who wouldn't feel that way, be it sad from not having met someone or being sad from not having gotten into a degree program they were working towards?

Also, you are correct--you appear to be in a field that is not consistent. How to separate your view of who you are as a person from your work is very difficult, but in order to not be down when your work slows down I think it may be beneficial to have an identity outside of your work. Just a thought.

I do think you're a bit hard on yourself. Seems to me that you created a beautiful blog, are in a career field that has meaning, and support yourself and you did it on your own. You say that you appear to be proving folks right that you'll never amount to "anything". What would be the "something" that would be considered successful?

I'm also an older person (in my 30s), a Christian, and single. When people ask me when I'm going to get married, I tell them in 10 years, and if they ask again I'll up it another 10. The way I figure it, I'll get married when I do, although it would be wonderful it it were soon, but in the meantime I'm just going to enjoy life. For all I know, I could pass away the day after I'm married. The Lord gave me a life, I'm going to enjoy it, working for His glory, and pray that someday I'll have a family too.

Wanting a family is natural. It's O.K. to want one, to wish for one, to long for one, and to think about it. Allowing these desires to to interfere with your ability to enjoy life is when it can become a problem and that's only because it's unhealthy at that point.

Hang in there chica. There's a lot of folks here in the weberverse who care about 'cha.


kaci jo said...

What I love about your blog is how you bring people with you through your joy but you also bring people with you through you sadness and pain. That is a beautiful thing. Continue being authentic. Dismiss people who only want to recognize the joy in life and who ignore suffering and pain. The abundant life is full of both. No one would say that Christ didn't live an abundant life and he experienced both. He rejoiced but he also wept.

My prayers go out to you that you would feel the pain but cling to Christ during this time.

Jennifer M. said...

Oh my word this sounds like me. You're right that we can't know how you feel, but I know how I feel being single and miserable at age 30, and it completely sucks. I too am so done with my boring job and buying groceries for myself and plugging on day after day for nothing. I really really want someone to share myself with. Someone to love and hold and grow with. I know that I am loved by God, as you so smartly pointed out, but I also know I need/want to feel that deep connection with another human being. Hopefully someday...

Jennifer M. said...

"As I said a few posts back... if I were a widow, or divorced or had lost a child people would understand and sit with me... but because I am grieving something intangible... I'm supposed to just get over it."

Yes! This is very well said. I often feel that way and haven't really been able to pinpoint what I was feeling. Often people ask me why I'm not married yet, as if that were my choice. They don't seem to understand that that is my dream to be married and have a family but that for whatever reason God hasn't chosen to bless me with that yet. In a way, a small part of me dies every day that that dream goes unrealized. And it really hurts when people suggest that I should be grateful that I'm single and "free". Singleness feels like a curse a lot of days.