You can’t make people feel any way other than how they already do. You can try—we try like hell every single day to convince people to agree with us, to love us, to say our opinions and our choices are valid, that we are valid—and you can succeed in convincing them, but you’re not so much changing their minds as you are igniting a spark and leaving the rest up to them. Sometimes, you’re lucky and it’s an instant shift, and sometimes, the fuse is a little longer.
And sometimes, you’re the only one who gets lit on fire.
And you burned from both ends, but still, you burned.
Because just as you can’t change the way somebody else feels, you can’t change the way you feel. There is no right or wrong way to feel any one thing. A feeling is a feeling is sad and happy and ecstatic and terrified and angry and is a feeling. Nothing less, because it is real and true and important to value it, but it’s nothing more than that to, because there is nothing more. All we are is our feelings, and how we react on those feelings, on those thoughts, on those emotions.
All we are is how we feel, and we feel every way we possibly can. You can’t help it. You can repress it and ignore it, but how you feel usually points to something you might need to deal with, something you’re burying deep down or trying to ignore. But no matter how scary it might be, no matter how much we might want to run from it, that doesn’t make it wrong. It’s just there. Something planted itself deep within you; it grew roots and it told you to pay attention. It wants and needs you to listen.
And you should listen and pay attention and learn if you can, or you run the risk of becoming stuck. Or you’ll feel numb, and numb is no way to live at all.
There’s no shame in being the person who feels more, who invests more, who cares more, who lays themselves out on the line more. Yes, you risk more, and yes, you take that chance, and maybe going out on those ledges is new for you, or it’s scary, or it’s out of your comfort zone. But you’ll grew a little bit, you know. You will learn. And if you’re not learning, what are you doing? Why are you living? Are you living at all?
So what if you interviewed for your dream job, only to hear the interviewer say they’re going in a different direction? So what if dinner plans fall through, if your friends all flake again when you really need them, if you spent that worst night ever after that worst day ever with a box of take-out and Netflix? So what if that person you had a really good feeling about decides they’re busy all of a sudden, or that they want to hook up with their ex instead? So what if things don’t go according to plan?
You’re allowed to be pissed. You’re allowed to be disappointed. You don’t have to match the impassivity and the nonchalance of everyone around you. Not caring is exhausting. Actively trying to make yourself forget how your heart feels is futile. It’s written deep within you, on your muscles, in your blood. You were invested when no one else was. You had the right to be invested. You always have every right to be invested. And if you don’t at least acknowledge that, you’ll end up worse for the wear.
Feel how you feel. Yell and scream and cry and find the friends who won’t flake on you because they’re there and get a little tipsy and say everyone is awful and then, prove them wrong. Let your feelings fuel you. Because they will. Because feelings are good, and feelings are a sign that you’re alive.
But you can’t get drunk on that numbness. You can’t desensitize yourself to how you feel. Because if you don’t acknowledge how you feel, nobody else will.