Lenten affirmation, day 35

It’s Holy Week! This is the last week for my affirmation and gratitude. I’ll talk more about how it’s affected me later. This week I am adding pictures of myself to my affirmations. I’ll try to explain why over the week. 

Today, I affirm that I have not lost my sense of wonder. I watched my kids play this weekend and I was in awe of them. They are beautiful, funny, energetic, creative and I love watching them. They are as magnificent as sunsets and ocean waves. I marvel at the beauty of the sky and the goodness of people. I’m captivated by a well turned phrase or a delicious flavor. I have not lost my sense of the beauty of the world nor can I ignore my part in its beauty.

I am thankful for a great day with the kids. I’m thankful for safe travels. I’m thankful for people who turn their hardships into vocations. I’m thankful that love doesn’t die even when it would be less painful for it to do so. I’m thankful for fish tacos and bourbon. I’m thankful for opportunities to be myself. 

  

Lenten affirmation, day 34

i get moody sometimes. Today was a day I got kinda moody and in my head. I get frazzled and overwhelmed. Sometimes I don’t know what I need to snap me out of a funk. I’m complicated even to myself. The thing I will affirm in all of this? I apologize pretty well.

Today I am thankful for earthworms, a car that got me through seven complicated years and the new car that will be my trusty steed through the next leg of the journey. I’m thankful for people who do not so fun jobs to make communities better. I’m thankful for seafood and waitresses you wish were your grandmother. I’m thankful that I get to see my babies tomorrow! 

Lenten affirmation, day 34

i love people. Yes, I’m an introvert and interactions drain me, but I love people so much! I love hearing their stories. I love being able to help them. I love when they hear and help me. I love the ways that we find commonality with each other. I love our diversity. I think much of what makes me good at what I do comes from a genuine love of humanity and I affirm that in myself.

Today I am thankful for company on door knocking days, team meetings, and brainstorming sessions. I am grateful for youth who want to empower other youth to make their voices heard. I’m thankful for audiobooks and introverted booksellers. I’m thankful for neighbors of all kinds. I’m thankful for seventy degree days. I’m thankful for slow runs because they are better than not running at all. I’m thankful that the panic attacks of last week feel like a distant memory. 

Lenten affirmation, day 33

i get daily emails from the enneagram institute. They are messages targeted to my particular type, which is five. Today’s was an affirmation: “today I affirm the value of my inventiveness and sense of humor”. Hey, why reinvent the wheel? That’s a pretty good affirmation. I am creative and funny. I value laughter and ingenuity in others and I love when I find them in myself. 

I am thankful for new friends who share my quirks. I am thankful for old friends that I’m longing to see. I’m thankful for my son and his total ignorance of the days of the week. I am thankful for my daughter and her total ambivalence toward my desire to see her face, knowing that it’s just a byproduct of being two. I am grateful for wine, Nirvana, and leftover steak. I am thankful for hugs around my knees. I am thankful for little girls who follow me from door to door as I’m door-knocking. I’m thankful that my thankful for lists are getting longer and longer…

Lenten affirmation, day 32

today I was pretty good at my job. The things I wasn’t able to do last week during my anxiety attacks, I was able to do without a second thought. I am well suited to my job. It’s nice to feel comfortable in my own skin, being the person I am made to be in a place where I can do some good. 

Today I am thankful for Marnie. I am thankful for her (redacted) years of life 😉, I am thankful for our years of friendship, our years of marriage, our two kids, and that I get to co-parent with someone that I deeply love and respect. I am thankful for deep conversations with people I’ve only recently met. I am thankful for an amazing tuna steak sandwich. I am thankful for tiramisu lattes. I am thankful for the feeling of stability that is creeping into my life even while so much is still unsettled. 

Hooked on Not Feeling

My new therapist said something last week that has been stuck in my craw for the last seven days… and you know how I feel about keeping a tidy craw. I talked with her about how I often feel numb instead of feeling emotions. I numb my anger. I numb my sadness. I numb my happiness. I get accused of being poker-faced. I’m considered cool under pressure, but “dead inside” in those moments that should be joyous. Numb is my status quo. In response to this, my therapist said that I lacked the “emotional infrastructure” to feel my feelings and so I numb them.

First off, slow clap for the term “emotional infrastructure”.

Secondly, as disturbing as that initially seemed, it rang true. Last week, I was angry, anxious, fearful and embarrassed. My response? I froze. For long periods of time last week, I froze. Unfortunately, I didn’t freeze during designated freezing time. I froze when I was supposed to being other stuff. The fall out has not been good. It can be fixed, but I’m stuck here feeling like a little afraid of my emotions turning on me and rendering me into a slobbering mass.

If you do actually see me out in public slobbering, a courtesy napkin would be awesome.

I am forced to deal with the fact that I am a highly emotional person. I am also forced to deal with the fact that I might be emotionally incompetent. Or that my emotions are a foreign language to me. It makes me question everything. Am I happy? Am I happy enough? Is happy even the goal?

Numbness feels safe. Well, it used to.  It used to be that feeling numb was a good way of avoiding the highs and lows that the “emotional” people I once mocked were so prone. I wouldn’t get caught up in fits of anger. Or embarrassing shows of exuberance. Or uncontrollable sobbing. Nope. Instead, I would laugh. People, generally speaking, like laughter. So, I became the guy who laughed no matter what his emotions said he should actually be doing. Only now, I don’t laugh as much. Now, I get bouts of paralysis and the label of being unapproachable or at the very least unreadable. No, numbness is no longer safe. It is a survival mechanism that has outlived its usefulness. At one point, it helped me to fly under the radar. It helped me to blend in. Now, it’s become a bit of a conspicuous maladaptation.

One of the things I love (and miss) so much about my kids is the genuineness of their emotions. When they’re happy, they laugh. When they’re angry, they scream and cry. At some point, society will try to break them of that. I may even try to help society out. I feel like I can learn a lot from them right now. They live in the present in a beautiful way. Their memories are short. They forgive and move on quickly. They’re not angry about things that happened months ago.

I fear that one day I’ll get in deeply in touch with my feelings and bust out sobbing. Or rage out and destroy windows. Maybe I’ll laugh hysterically like a lunatic. I equate emotions with “instability”. I hope that I can get to the place where I can see emotions and their proper expression as the epitome of stability. Right now, I’m content to be numb. It’s what I know, and even though it is clearly no longer serving me, it is where I imagine myself to be safe. I desperately want it to be okay to feel. I want to feel safe with who I am…

Lenten affirmation, day 31

Today, I affirm my imperfection. Or at least, I affirm my desire to affirm my imperfection. I’m not all that comfortable with the idea. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that I am perfect. I do secretly believe that I am perfectible. So, I not only affirm my imperfection but my imperfectability as well. It is my hope and prayer that, in beginning to believe and accept these things as true, that I can feel free to be me, in my wildly consistent inconsistency.

Today, I am thankful for the sun, holding hands, concerned citizens, lactaid, dogs, Amazon (sorry! They make life really convenient), the prophet Jeremiah, friendly deacons, and sandwiches.