I started my morning by having a conversation with myself. I’ve been thinking about my blog and questioning whether I’m writing what people want to read. Something I’ve learned in my writing class is the importance of considering my readers when writing. So, when I got up this morning I asked myself whether I was going to send out the blog I originally wrote, or if I should change it. Being honest, I must tell you that I second guess myself a lot. I’ve written all of my life, but putting my writing out there for the public to read is very different from writing for myself. They are animals of a different color. Writing for myself is easy, because no one reads what I write, but, writing for others leaves me open to either acceptance or rejection.
I’ve been questioning myself about whether I should keep my blog light and fluffy, or if I should write about what really matters. I’m aware that some people would rather read light fluff , while others like reading something with a bit more substance. This morning, I talked to Paul (my husband) about my dilemma and he reminded me that my goal in writing has always been to put words on paper that will encourage people to look deeper, climb higher, question more, and love themselves and others more fully. That’s why I named my blog “Streams of Consciousness.” My intention is never to preach but to stream my conscious thoughts to you in a well-written, easy to read manner. I want my writing to be such that it entices people to question, “what if?”. So, I’ve decided to stick with the genre that expresses my goal for writing. I’m aware that everyone might not want to read “streams of consciousness”, but that’s okay. I’m going to continue to put my conscious thoughts out there for whoever does want to read them. And as much as I’d like to think that everyone is interested in conscious living, reality reminds me that my thought may not necessarily be correct. With this in mind, I now present my this weeks blog, “The Biggest Little Word”, which is about conscious living.
Paul gave me some good prompts this week, but the word that really impacted me was the biggest little word, or. Though the word is only two letters, it is a huge word because it offers choices and possibilities. Using the word, or, can quickly remove me from a dead-end street. When I’m faced with anything in life, if I can give myself an or, the context of the situation many times changes.
A large part of my healing journey is noticing how easy it is to hide my truth behind a powerful emotion, usually anger. When I see that I’m very angry, I know I need to take a moment and ask myself the” or “question; “Am I really angry about this situation or is there something hiding behind the anger?” Many times, I find that I hide my fears behind anger.
Another part of my healing journey is paying attention to how easy it is to confuse emotions, and not really be clear about what I feel or know to be true. Sometimes I hide my sadness behind anger, and there are times when I hide my anger behind tears. I don’t always know when I’m doing this because I’m caught up in feelings. But when I take the time to ask another or question; “Am I really sad or am I really angry?”, my truth becomes clear. It can be easy to laugh when your heart is breaking, or to cry when you’re furious, because many of us don’t know how to identify what we’re feeling.
Sometimes, not knowing what we’re feeling or how to express ourselves is due to our upbringing. Unfortunately, in our society most girls are raised to know it’s okay for a girl to cry, but it’s not okay to be angry. Girls are not supposed to be rowdy and fight. In some instances, girls actually learn how to get their way by crying. Boys are just the opposite. They usually get the message that it’s okay to be angry. In fact many boys are encouraged to fight and be agressive, while being taught that to cry is to be a sissy. Too many men have been raised to believe, “Boys don’t cry.” No wonder we grow up confused about what we’re feeling, and if we do know what we’re feeling, we don’t know how to express it honestly. It’s not easy to change a habit or break a lifelong pattern, but what it is, is life changing. Thanks to the word “or“, we do have a choice about what to do with what we’re feeling.
I had been in therapy for about three months and was very adept at covering up my sadness and anger. One day, I was talking to my therapist about a very painful incident in my life. When I finished my sentence, I laughed. I will never forget the way she leaned forward in her chair and asked me “Why are you laughing? Is this really funny or are you hiding behind the laughter?” I didn’t know how to answer the question. She then asked me, “What are you really feeling right now as you tell this story?” At that moment, what I felt, was that a dam was getting ready to burst inside of me. It was hard to speak because I was being overwhelmed by a tsunami wave of sadness that was threatening to break loose and carry me away. With tears glistening in my eyes, I told her,” If I start crying I’ll never stop, and I’ll wind up running down the street crying and screaming like a banshee and they’ll put me away.” Just speaking the words and identifying my sadness helped to open the floodgates. My therapist came across the room, took me in her arms, and said, “There now, it’s okay to cry. I’m here. Just cry.” And cry I did until I was cried out and wrung out. Having that experience opened up something inside of me and helped me to know the difference between identifying what I’m really feeling and giving myself permission to express the feeling, or making a choice to stuff the feeling and pretend there is something else happening.
Life is easier when we’re clear about what we’re feeling and when we know how to express our feelings truthfully. Next time you have a strong emotion, I hope you’ll consider asking yourself, “Am I really (name the emotion), or is there something hiding behind this emotion?” Once you correctly identify what you’re feeling, I trust you’ll take the opportunity to express your feeling appropriately. That one little word, or, can make a difference in life when we are ready to choose to see our truth.