Rational Feelings

I’m a very logical person, which means a lot of times I’m basically a mystery to myself. The issue is, I get the thing I’m feeling confused with what I think I should be feeling.

Case in point: I went to the 1989 World Tour a couple weeks ago. And objectively, I’m not the biggest Taylor Swift fan in the room. I don’t really like country music. I don’t understand why our culture idolizes performers so much. And although I know enough about her to say she seems quite sweet and charming (she gave some of her fans christmas presents, which I find adorable) I don’t know enough about her to like her just as a person like a lot of fans seem to.

So I’m sitting in my seat waiting for the concert to start, and of course I’m excited. I’m about to see an artist I love perform songs from an album big enough that my own children may listen to it someday. That’s exciting stuff! I’m smiling to myself and feeling good! But then… the lights go down. The stadium screams. Swift comes on stage. And I start crying. Which is embarrassing, because no one else in my section seems to be reacting with half as much emotion. But I just, I can’t stop. I cry all the way through the first three songs (and yes, the third song on the setlist is Blank Space, and I never imagined myself crying to that one, but it happens anyway).

Eventually I get ahold of myself, only to break down a couple more times during particularly meaningful songs or speeches. After the first time, I’ve surrendered myself to it. Because, I realize, this concert means a lot to me.  Objectively I’m not the biggest fan in the stadium–not even close–but I know this is going to be one of the defining moments of my year. I still couldn’t tell you why, even if I had hours to write down every possible cause and effect (it had been a long week, I wasn’t sure if I’d make it to the concert, and the way the stadium lit up was pure magic). It’s beyond explanation, but deep down inside myself I feel sure that that concert will be one of the most incredible things to happen to me all year.

But the tl;dr in that story is this: I have reasonable (logically thought out) expectations about how I should feel about this concert. I show up and my emotions are not at all what I thought. And it surprises me.

I surprise myself with my feelings a lot. Last year I had a lot of tension with some friends, and for a while, being around them made me feel sick. They hadn’t explicitly done anything, there were no big issues or fights between us, so I was confused until it finally hit me that I was mad at them. This was, to say the least, a shock. It literally took me *months* to figure out, and I’m almost certain it was because I was angry over such petty things the logical part of my brain was like “you just can’t be upset about that, it’s not possible!” and I decided I wasn’t. Except I was, and our relationship suffered a lot because I couldn’t be honest about how I felt. I felt too stupid about it, because it was irrational, but that doesn’t mean it was any less real.

I don’t want things to be like that anymore. I want to be able to talk to people about how I’m feeling even if especially if those feelings aren’t “reasonable” or don’t “make sense”.

So I leave you on a positive note: I spent a lot of this past weekend feeling down. I wasn’t eating. I’d sleep all day. I think I only left my room one or two times, and only because it was absolutely necessary. But nothing was actually wrong, and I hated that. I couldn’t bring myself to ask for help without being able to explain why I was so overwhelmingly upset, and there was no explanation. And then, weirdly enough, I asked for help anyways, and I got it.

I think sometimes it’s okay to feel things you don’t understand.


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