Thursday, July 14, 2011

isolation and emotion

Some things help you relate with others. Some things make you feel far away from others. I think some of our deepest things make us feel far away from people, because we can't talk about them. It's not appropriate, or it leaves us too vulnerable, or it's just not quite like anyone we have access to.

One such question is on my mind tonight. How do you deal with the thought that you may have caused it? And by "it", I mean the death of another human being. You know somewhere in your head you didn't cause it. You know it was AML. But it doesn't stop the picture in your head. It stays with you.

I can't even say there's no denying it, because everyday, you walk around fine. You really are fine. But then, there are these flashes of what happened that day - the scene that summarizes the whole memory. It's PTSD, and we all have it. It must be the degree that diagnoses us. For me, it's seeing him lying on the bed all haphazard, lying on the bed not breathing. It's weird how you can be in two places at once. I can be in my car driving home, but then I'm not in my car, and then I am again.

I told the story once before. It's nice that someone can read it, and then forget they ever read it. But it's not like that about this. You forget, but something in you doesn't ever forget, and it pops up with no announcement. It's not everyday. But it's enough to make me ask the question.

Yesterday, I was thinking more about how our jobs isolate us from each other. I had a friend over, and I kept wanting to ask her about her job, but I couldn't think of anything to ask. "So, how's your desk been decorated lately?" No, bad question. "So, have you found some great new outfits to wear to work?" No. "Is your copy machine at work cool?" That one's really dumb. The truth is, I have no idea what interesting things there could be to talk about. So then I think about talking about my job. What I really want to talk about is some awesome pathophys or how human we are in life and sickness and death. But I know I should tone it down. I really try sometimes.  Like one time, somebody asked me about the grossest thing I ever saw. So I started telling some funny poop stories, and everybody was laughing. But then, I remembered a far grosser story about bile, and it might as well have hit the fan right there in that room, because it was all over.

Then again, our differences don't have to isolate us all of the time. Sometimes they make us better. I live with someone who is different from me, but when I talk about the things I experience that he doesn't, he helps me. I'm pretty eccentric in my emotional life. At least I think so until I talk to other women candidly. Just like everything else, it's all relative - and in this case, it's usually relative to our significant men. I live with someone who is a sort of emotional oak tree - slow to change and strong. I'm more like those flowers that come and go with the sun. I don't think our emotional temperament is something we can totally control, but we do have choices about our behaviors. I have a strong motivation to let my behaviors be governed by the truth of life in spite of what I am feeling. Sometimes Thomas helps me by reminding me about the truth of life when I can't feel it.

For now, I'm done trying to make myself feel less. I don't need to control my emotions. I just don't want them controlling me, and that's the real kicker. I want to teach my daughters someday. I want to say, "Dear one, I know you are feeling a lot," and I'll tell you: I really know, "but dear one, our emotions do not control us. We feel them, but they do not control us." It's truly something to be learned.

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