F has some of the best feelings! Are you feeling feeble? Foiled? Feisty? Fainthearted? There’s a little something for everyone on the “F” list.
Why write about feelings in this blogging challenge? Two reasons. First, as a writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about how my characters are feeling. In order to create complex characters, my understanding of their feelings and emotions has to reach beyond happy, sad, scared and angry. It’s interesting to think about how different people react to different situations based on their personalities and backgrounds. For instance, a person who’s never had their heart broken is going to react differently than someone who’s been through it before. Victims of crime often behave in ways that confuse others or even hurt their credibility. But their feelings are informed by their life experiences and their tolerance for pain, fear, anger, happiness, etc. Every person is unique.
Second, I have a Master’s degree in psychology. I LOVE feelings J Both personally and academically, I’m completely fascinated with how emotion impacts a person’s decisions and how hard it is to heal from psychological trauma. Feelings are just feelings, right? But somehow it’s near impossible for some people to just sit with their feelings. Have you ever seen a person who keeps themselves in a perpetual state of motion to avoid having to deal with their feelings? I have. This person can’t sit down. And when they do, they have to create things to do to fill the void.
Truth is, it can be frightening to face our feelings. Fear of the unknown can be difficult to overcome. People sometimes dismiss our feelings – after all, they’re all in our heads, right? But it’s just not true. Feelings manifest themselves physically. When we’re happy and in love, we might notice that aches and pains disappear. We have more energy and stamina. We are able to accomplish more. When we’re depressed, we feel knots in our stomachs. My anxiety gives me hot flashes. Just try convincing me while I’m sweating profusely and the room is spinning that it’s all in my head, as if I can just stop the crazy with a flick of a switch.
The problem with dismissing a person’s feelings is that it also cripples our own ability to empathize with that person. It allows us to jump to conclusions, to make wrong assumptions and to judge another person’s behavior without truly understanding them.
Be fierce. Embrace your feelings. And acknowledge that every person around you is also full of feelings. Ask yourself the next time someone is rude or does something you don’t understand, “what might they be going through right now.” You’ll find it a whole lot easier to empathize.
Sure, I could have gone with something easy like excited or elated. And they were at the top of my list a little while ago. But then I started feeling at peace with the world, balanced…and wouldn’t you know it? There’s a word for that! Equanimity is a state of psychological stability or composure, undisturbed by external forces (thank you Wikipedia!) Today, I find that my feelings truly are balanced. I feel…well-adjusted. Huh. Who knew?
My personal favorite on the list of “E” feelings words is emotionally bloated. Yes! Now THAT is my usual state of being. Or maybe just emotional “fullness.” (get it?) I like to think that by keeping an open mind and heart, I allow myself to have experiences in life that fill me with emotion – both good and bad. Being an emotional person, and allowing myself to feel even the negative emotions fully, makes me very empathetic, I think. It’s easier to put myself in someone else’s shoes when I just go with the flow. You know?
The world is full of possibilities and I intend, as always, to dive headfirst and see where I land. But for the moment, I’m going to enjoy this feeling of equanimity as I expect it will be short-lived. (I’m easily excitable after all).
How’s your Wednesday going? Feeling excited, elated….maybe a little evil?
I decided to write about determination today since, in my humble opinion, it’s critical for any writer (and also for any parent). As a writer, I can find a million reasons not to sit and write. Too tired. Not motivated. Having a bad day. Can’t think of what to write. Have other things to do (just nine more rounds of Monkey Wrench on my iPhone, right?). No one likes my writing anyway (this thought usually comes on the heels of a rejection). The thing is, if you want to succeed in writing, you have to be determined. And when you feel determined, it’s a whole lot easier to sit down and do the work.
So, determination. A good feeling, eh? As I was contemplating “D” feelings, I scoured a few websites to look at lists of feelings, emotions and traits. This is a rather common activity, actually. These kinds of lists are great brainstorming tools for writers – that and a handy dandy thesaurus. So, as I’m perusing the lists, I realize that “D” has a definite disadvantage (there it is, did you see it?). A lot of negative prefixes start with “D” including –de and –dis. As a result, the majority of “D” feelings tend to be the negative. I can feel dejected, disappointed, despondent, dismissed, disoriented, disrespected…the list goes on and on. I got a little dismayed as I read the “D” list, but it also made me feel defiant! Yes! I would write about determination to transcend negative “D” syndrome. It was a daunting task, and at first I was dubious, but feeling decisive, I plunged forward until I felt delighted by the silliness of the result. OK, you get the picture.
Back to determination. I’m determined to have two complete first drafts done by the end of the year, to enjoy the beautiful weather and to learn a few more words in German before I embark on my honeymoon this summer.
What are you determined to do?
Oh boy, oh boy! Monday is in full swing as I write this post. I wouldn’t consider myself a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, but for several years I worked as a contractor for the federal government and my start time was 6:30am. That, plus an hour-long commute, taught me to perk up before facing my co-workers and employees. (It also taught me to set my alarm on the bus, just in case I fell asleep on said commute) As a result, I’m not a complete ogre in the morning, Monday included. It helps that I’m a cheerful person by nature, and I’ve managed to extend that to the wee hours, despite my desire to stay tucked under my covers.
Now, my children on the other hand…yikes! Crankiness is the word of the day every Monday morning. It’s not surprising, right? After a weekend of staying up late and sleeping in, facing the new week is just no fun. I remember being a kid and being intensely cranky. Of course, my dad woke us up every morning for school by singing a loud and off-key version of “School Days” so I might have been a teeny bit justified in my mood.
So, in order to keep the Monday crankiness at a dull roar, I’ve developed a system. I wake my kids up half an hour before I need them dressed so they can play, dally, moan, groan…whatever it takes to make that second pass through their rooms less traumatic. Generally, it works. No matter how cranky they are on my first pass, they’ve perked up by round two and we can conquer the morning routine without (much) resistance.
Are you cheerful or cranky in the mornings? Is Monday different than the rest of the week? Is your caffeine consumption higher on Mondays?
Looking forward to hearing from you. Happy Monday!!!
Boredom is not something that I feel terribly often. This is mostly due to the fact that I keep my to-do list REALLY long. And if I have some down time, I pick up a book. So, in honor of boredom, and as a recommendation on how to curb it, I thought I’d dedicate some space to another B words – books. Here are some of my favorites.
Mystery / Thrillers / Suspense
These are my primary source of entertainment. I’m currently reading through the D.D. Warren series by Lisa Gardener. I also enjoy Gillian Flynn and Mary Kubica for psychological thrillers. And I love me a good detective novel. The Prey series by John Sanford is wonderful and for a little serial killer action, Tami Hoag’s Liska & Kovac series provide hours of gruesome entertainment.
Can’t go wrong with Isabel Allende for something beautiful and full of emotion. I started with The House of the Spirits and went from there. Allende’s tribute to her daughter Paula is so touching, it’ll bring you to tears. And there’s nothing like the classics. For romance, a little dose of Jane Austen. For drama, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina was already on my list of favorites before it made it to Oprah’s list.
I have kids so I read a lot of kinds books. My son is a voracious reader and we just finished the Harry Potter series. It had been years since I read those books and it was even better the second time through. We’ve also read every book Rick Riordan ever wrote. He’s turned my son into a mythology nut and the books are just plain fun. Some of my other favorites from my childhood including Lloyd Alexander’s Book of Three series, Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising series and, of course, C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia.
What are your favorites?
April Fool’s Day for me this year is April 3. This morning I woke up and realized it’s the 3rd day of the month and I’d completely spaced – and I mean, entirely forgotten – to get started on the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Luckily, I’d decided to talk about feelings this month and guess what? A is for anxiety. A perfect segue into today’s blog. Yippee!!
I suffer from anxiety. Not the passing “roller coasters make me nervous” (though they do) or “ack! I have to sing in front of how many people??” (I get this one every single time I perform) anxiety. My anxiety is chronic and has made it difficult, at times, to function normally. After my daughter was born, I realized I was having crippling panic attacks every time I breastfed. As it turns out, there’s an actual reason for this having to do with fluctuations in lactation-related hormones. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that at the time and the anxiety was so bad that I had to lie down so I wouldn’t pass out (not exactly ideal when you have a newborn to tend to). People with anxiety are faced with many choices. During my daughter’s infancy, I chose to give up breastfeeding so that I could function more normally as a parent. I wasn’t thrilled, but given the information and resources I had at the time, I think it was the right decision.
Over the years, I’ve thought quite a lot about how my anxiety has affected my choices. For instance, I love to travel. But for a while there, I wasn’t sure I could fly again. On one flight, I spent the entire time in the air with my head pressed against the seat in front of me, struggling to regain control of my insane thoughts. And because I come from a long line of anxious women, there were moments when I resigned myself to my fate: a quiet life keeping my anxiety in check.
Fortunately, I crave adventure. As I get older, and my kids grow up, I realize that there are a million things I want to do, both on my own and with them. And as a writer, I need and want to have adventures. To experience new things that I can write about. To put myself out there in the world and see what happens. And in order to do that, I need to conquer my anxiety. Actually, I’m not sure I believe in “conquering” my anxiety as much as I believe that I must learn to work with it and around it. The truth is, I still experience anxiety daily. I have a whole arsenal of coping tools and I use them faithfully, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel anxiety. I’ve just learned how to deal with it more effectively.
What I find interesting is that, the more I share about my experiences with anxiety, the more I hear similar stories. Anxiety is one of those conditions that makes you feel isolated and alone, and yet, it takes almost no time to find lots of kindred spirits in the fight against anxiety.
Feel free to share here. You (WE) are not alone.
I'm generally pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Here's a glimpse of my life - hope you enjoy it! And if there's a big lapse between posts, well, that's the way life goes in Amy's world.
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