I had two conversations this week that really impacted me.
One was with a dear friend of mine about how much I love running.
Another was with my very best friend of 14 years, and it was about how I am an emotional robot.
This is an ongoing joke between us because I am the Queen of emotional displays and she; as my Very best friend and an Amazing former Pregnancy Care Centre counsellor and now current Social Worker is a Wonderful human, full of empathy, but void of much in the field of emotional expression.
Her emotional intelligence is off the charts, but when it comes to having her computer-like brain actually Emote something for itself, my best friend has always been more like a robot in that department.
Sure- over 14 years, I’ve seen her tired and sad and upset about things- but I’ve never seen her dive deep.
I’ve never seen her Lose Her Shit.
Or in the words of the very clever Dr. Jodi Carrington, (https://www.drjodycarrington.com/media-kit/) child psychologist turned author/basically Human Emotional Intelligence Goddess and Guru- I have never seen Tina ‘flip her lid.’
If you don’t have the time to read Jodi’s book ‘Kids These Days’ (which by the way, if you have Any children at All in your life in any capacity- you Really should read this book!)-
But if you don’t have any time these days, here’s a quick sheet on what it means for a kid or adult to ‘flip their lid.’
So I have blissfully made fun of Tina for Years for never flipping her lid, and thereby in my terms being ‘an emotional robot’.
We always joke about how it’s possible for us to be Best friends when I am the Queen of emotional displays and she plays her cards So close to her chest.
And then this week some things shifted in the way I see myself.
Number one- this very dear friend of mine and I had just added each other on the running app Strava, and we were chatting on the phone about running and how I had just hit the gym this week at 25 days postpartum and ran 2K.
When I had gone to the gym, it was with Zero goals or intentions.
I told myself I would drop Sadie off for 30 minutes at the gym’s in-house childcare and whatever I did upstairs for 30 minutes would be great.
I was open to doing some light weights and arm exercises; I was open to doing some light stretching and foundational yoga poses, and I was open to walking the track gently and seeing if my muscle memory wanted to wake up the Looong-dormant running function.
So I hit the track expectation-free and just started walking.
I walked one or two or three laps and then my body started jogging, so I went with it.
I just focused on my breathing and keeping that regulated.
My legs did the rest.
After 2 or 3 laps of jogging, my legs started pushing and I entered an almost-sprint.
It felt Awesome.
So I focused on my breathing and just let my body do its thing.
I don’t know how many laps went by like that, but it became harder to breathe at some point, so I shut ‘er down.
I walked one or two recovery laps and then clocked off the track.
Turns out my average speed was a Perfect 5-minute mile.
I have Never run a 5-minute mile in my Life; much less in under a month since pushing out a baby.
The last time I had a baby- I tried to run a competitive 5K at 6 weeks postpartum.
It was Not pretty.
I kept looking behind me to see if bits of my pelvic region were on the race course.
My time on that 5K was somewhere around 40 minutes.
So I was on the phone with this friend of mine who has also recently gotten into running for mental health reasons, and he said ‘I just don’t know anyone who actually Loves running. We all seem to do it for mental health reasons. To fix something or to get away from something.’
And I said ‘I love running. I LOVE it. It’s Me! I’m the One person you know who just legitimately Loves running. I don’t run for a time or a new high score or to stay healthy- those are all neat- but I do it cuz I just Fuckin Love it.’
And he said ‘Wow. I’ve just never heard you talk this way about running before.’
And it hit me-
I am as Open Fuckin Book as you could get.
Or at least-
Prior to this near-death postpartum experience-
That’s what and who I Thought I was.
I have a tattoo of 3 hearts on my sleeve; because I Believed I wore my heart on my sleeve.
I wrote this blog- because I am an Open Fuckin Book and I want people to read my chapters.
I realized in this last month that I’ve been holding back.
I’ve been holding back my emotional cards in two departments.
For Years now- ever since the end of my first clinical severe depression, I have been Terrified to do ‘extreme’ emotions.
I have worked So Fucking Hard, through therapy and yoga and running and medication to Never Experience or Emote Extreme Emotions Again.
I Don’t Want to Scare People.
I don’t want to make other people uncomfortable with my trauma history.
I don’t want people to feel sorry for me things that happened in my childhood.
I don’t want my loved ones to worry that I am entering another clinical high or low that might require another suicide watch or a hospitalization.
I have spent so much fuckin time trying to Protect Other People over the last 7.5 years of my mental health journey that I’ve completely missed the point on something.
Whether you ‘let’ yourself feel them or not- extreme emotions are there for a reason.
Extreme anger has its place.
Extreme sadness has its place.
Extreme joy is amazing and should be invited to the table.
When my dear friend expressed that he had never heard me talk about running so excitedly before, I realized in limiting all of my ‘extreme’ emotions so as not to scare other people- I haven’t even let myself emote extreme Joy to people.
Holy Fuck- I’ve been half-assing my life for 7.5 YEARS!
What a Sin!!
And for What??
For me to have a near-death experience and to have all the people around me think I was flipping my lid Anyhow!!!
So my great masking attempt of the last almost decade did basically jackshit for the people around me, and it served relatively little purpose for me too.
I mean- okay, sure- I didn’t get thrown in the loony bin This Time for being myself- but let me tell you- there were people that wanted to see me thrown in there.
Big emotions Scare People.
Big emotions are Scary to let Yourself feel.
And my near-death experience just shredded all the extra layers off and let me lay myself bare, and that scared people.
The rawness of all my blog posts.
The rehashing of old traumas.
The pictures of me bawling my eyes out on social media.
The all-hours of the night social media activity (I was doing night feeds and was bored- but I was also seeking Authentic connection with like-minded people who Aren’t scared of big emotions.)
All those things scared people in the ‘OMG EMILY MUST BE HAVING A BIPOLAR EPISODE’ camp, and I just decided to stop giving a Flying Fuck.
And that scared people the most.
I am often a ‘fixer’ in my friend’s lives.
Whether they know it or not- people tend to come to me with their family drama or their relationship drama or their medical questions or their early childhood questions-
I Love being this person for my people.
I am resourceful, engaging, knowledgeable, funny and patient. When I give advice, people seem to enjoy the experience.
So when I am not Well- these people who usually come to Me for advice have No idea what to do.
I am the fixer in the relationship- not them.
It is very lonely being a fixer;
When the fixer needs fixing- who fixes it??
I am also depended upon by my people as a ‘joy-bringer’- I am loud and witty and can read the room in an instant and I curse loudly and constantly, and I make self-deprecating jokes about how I can’t stop shitting myself (I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome- I really can’t stop shitting myself.)
People Love this behaviour, because I am a Ridiculous person.
I Love this part of myself too.
But when the Joy-bringer needs to feel sadness-
Who brings the joy?
When I recover from traumatic events in my life and come back to Joy (as I Always do)-
I often hear the line:
‘Aaaaah (big sigh of relief)- There’s the Emily I know/was missing.’
And that’s nice and all-
But when the Joyful one Needs to be sad,
Who honours that side of her being??
So that brings me to the title.
I have decided, moving forward, to actually Become
The Sum of ALL My Parts.
I’m going to cry and dance and sing and scream in rage when I need to and when it feels appropriate.
I’m going to do it recklessly and with abandon, because apparently I’ve been an emotional robot for the last 7.5 years and just not known it.
I’m going to let life push my little robot buttons and do shit and feel shit I haven’t let myself feel in possibly Ever.
And some people are going to love it.
And some people are going to hate it.
And I’m So Fucking Done giving a Shit about what other people think that I just don’t care.
Unfollow me on social media.
Unfollow my blog.
Block me on Facebook.
Stop answering my calls.
Stop inviting me to your house.
If the sum of all my parts scares you-
I openly invite you to minus me from your life.
Please do- because I don’t want My journey to negatively impact anyone else.
But I am also SO, SO excited to start living my life on my terms.
If you’re still here and still reading- Shit is about to get Real real- and I’m Pumped for the journey.