Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Emotionally Present and Accounted For

I'm learning to be present in my emotion. While that might not sound like a big deal to you, it's a new development for me. I don't know why, but I've always lagged in my emotional development, and I process emotions very differently than most people I know. Friends have suggested I might have some slight form of autism. I don't know. But I'm learning.

Although I do experience emotions immediately, it takes me time to process them. I don't often come up with the appropriate emotion in the moment. With respect to controlling my anger, this is a helpful thing. I do have a wrathful tongue on occasion, but my word choice and my inflection play larger roles in that than anger (people perceive what I say differently than I intend). I get mad, but I don't act on it until I've had time to process the feeling. On the flip side, I don't experience lust much. I don't get caught up in the moment when I'm spending time with a special guy (not that I have one currently). I don't realize that I'm attracted to someone until later. This delay of emotion makes living in the moment slightly more difficult.

When someone asks me, "how are you," I respond with something canned: "fine," "good," or "ok." But if someone asks me, "I noticed you were a little down earlier. What was wrong?" I'll be able to give them a detailed answer because I've had time to process the emotion (if I've been alone since then). I can tell when I'm happy or sad or angry, but I might not be able to articulate why immediately.

Lately I've been forced to deal with sorrow. Losing Grandpa has been difficult, and I find myself digging deep into emotions I haven't been around in a long time. Never have I been able to cry so readily. That which I used to bury to deal with "later" comes up quickly now, and I'm working to let the emotion dictate my mood instead of trying to control everything dictatorially.

Nevermind that I also process emotions as colors in my head, and that I don't always understand what's going on up there. I figure I'm physically in my mid-twenties, emotionally about 19, have the knowledge of a thirty-something, and the life and social experience of someone half my age. No matter the age or ability, I'm learning to be present in my emotion.

I'm learning, but oh! how I hate the lessons.

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