Sometimes I had an intense desire to cry because of something my father said, but instead, because life, cynicism, had taught me to put on a mask, I laughed. For him, I did not suffer, I felt nothing, I was a shameless cynic, I had no soul…because of the mask I showed. But inside, I felt every word he said. Manual, IN The Children of Sanchez by Oscar Lewis; quote printed in the opening pages of The Third Life of Grange Copeland by Alice Walker.
Find someone you feel safe enough to sit with unmasked. Cry, scream out, let yourself feel. Tell the truth about your suffering. All those distractions you use to keep yourself safe from your feelings don’t really keep you safe. They keep you separated from your real self. When you won’t deal with your feelings they find ways to deal with you. Sometimes they even create new problems. Feelings are normal. Feeling your feelings is normal and okay. It doesn’t make you weak. Expressing your feelings in a way that restores rather than destroys you can be a clearer path to your source of personal power. The path is easier to see when you stop pretending to be stone and give yourself permission to own and deal with your feelings without apology. It is up to you to take care of you.