Swallow Your Feelings

Swallow your feelings. Scoop them neatly and don’t let them spill or leave a stain. Chew them quickly โ€“ don’t savor them โ€“ just long enough to make them an unrecognizable mush before pushing them down to be dissolved in the acid below. Start small, just the ones you can handle: sadness when someone dies in a movie, anger at tech support. Those are the ones that make sense, that go down smooth.

Others are harder to swallow, the complex, multi-course meals made of layer after layer of uncertainty and guilt, warring flavors of disbelief and longing to believe, fear of getting what you want and fear of losing what you never had. It’s okay if you can’t choke them down right away, if they get stuck halfway and leave a lump in your throat, if they make you sick and some of them leak out through your eyes and nose or burst out of your mouth when you least expect it. It happens to the best of us. You just have to build up a tolerance. Consume them little by little, and before you know it, you’ll have room on your plate for something else, something better.

Just as you can’t remember the time before you ate solid food, soon it will become second nature. One day you’ll wonder when the last time you cried was, and find you can’t remember. That’s great, you’ll think, no one can hurt you now. No one can touch you. You are a pristine and impenetrable fortress of stoicism. Everything is blank and immaculate.

Carry on and don’t give it another thought. Not until someone asks you how you feel and you don’t have an answer because you just don’t know. Not until something happens and you laugh when you were supposed to cry because somewhere along the way the wires got crossed. Not until someone is sitting in front of you, spewing their feelings and begging for yours and all you can think is what a mess they’ve made in the place you’ve worked so hard to keep so tidy. TC mark


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  • Sophia

    I found this to be very sad. I think I’ll always be a wear-my-feelings person.

    • CN

      I thought I would be, too. but then comes a wound that you and you alone must heal. so you clean up the mess, sweep it under the rug, and then you do your best to keep it from being unearthed. before you know it, you’re an unyielding pillar of strength. but everyone is so proud of you for bypassing that place of weakness, including you. so, you carry on unfeeling.

  • MC

    Somewhere along the way the wires got crossed.

  • Arthur

    there are always easier ways to BE… the choice is yours to make, in every moment

    however everyone has free will and can choose to learn the hard way by trying to kill their feelings, which in the end only serves to damage you… its your decision

  • Laura Lee

    I love this because it’s short, yet manages to convey what I’m feeling a lot of time. Plus, it has references to eating. =/

  • Guinevere

    Wow. This answers what’s happening to me now.

  • Lindsay

    wow. so short and so powerful. great piece!

  • Katie

    thanks for sharing. the last paragraph brings it home for me.

  • FK

    Or until something happens and you cry when you were supposed to laugh.

  • amphx

    This is just a little too familiar. You must live in my mind (:ย 

  • amphx

    This is just a little too familiar. You must live in my mind (:ย 

  • Benjy

    Wow… I uhm… yeah. I’m there. Scary. Thanks for cataloging this thought.

  • Kiley

    amazing. thank you.

  • Skinnypignyc

    dark but very real for some… “fear of getting what you want and fear of losing what you never had.”ย 

  • kaylee

    made me think of this: “He said, I can’t feel everything. I didn’t know if he’d meant to say he couldn’t feel anything.” -Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

  • http://twitter.com/Nour2357 Nour Oueidat

    Greatest thing I’ve read in a while! Awesome Job !

  • Anonymous


  • Iris

    Last line – perfect.

  • Ellecat

    this is so beautiful and powerful. it really hits your heart.

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