These Feelings Are Real

I've been struggling a lot lately with sharing my feelings - I say it's because I don't want to be a burden on people, that I don't want to be annoying etc. But recently I've been thinking that there's a lot more to the issue of being real than not wanting be a nuisance. It's something that latches onto my pride, the existence of which I often refuse to acknowledge. When I am open I often give sensored translations of my emotions; when despair has flooded my core I say that it is merely creeping in at the edges, when my heart aches incessantly with brokenness and grief, I assert that I'm just a little sore, when anxiety rattles my thoughts day in day out, I say that I'm a little bit stressed...nothing to worry about.

Why do I do this? Furthermore, why do I expect this from other people? There is something in our society that labels the depth and intensity of these emotions as overdramatic and almost fictitious. The strength of them and the concept of their reality is frightening and awkward to address. We often only experience them on a day-to-day basis in films and literature, thus we indadvertedly associate them with the epic and the cliche. We claim that, in movies, emotions like love and depression can be heightened and exaggerated through music and lighting, the same in literature through language and syntax - but I would argue that such emotions would have had to be experienced at such an intensity in order that such interpretations of feeling might be created. I often wonder, as someone who enjoys acting, whether once I experience a certain emotion I instantly and unconsciously mirror the response of a character in a film or a novel that I have seen or read. In these instances I am prone to beating myself up for being so pretentious and silly. However, I am now starting to believe that perhaps instead of mirroring these characters I am simply understanding them better and feel connected to them on a deeper level.

What's more, our response to these stories tells us a lot about the reality of these feelings. Why do we cry at those scenes in The Notebook? Why do we despair in the final moments of The Way We Were? In the Holiday we see Kate Winslet's character practically howl her way around her kitchen because the man she loved is engaged to another woman. Even though the plot lines in these films might be called smushy and cliche, the emotions that they represent are real. The silent scream of Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice is certainly an excellent and potentially deliberate dramatic effect, but the reason it is so effective and moving is because it is rooted in reality. There are moments in this life that cannot be expressed in words or sounds or tears. The evil, injustice or pain of these junctures runs so deep that they leave us silent and numb.

I have noticed among my peers at university a fear of the 'deep' and an unwillingness to engage with the harsh realities of this life. Death is inevitable, failure is possible, heartbreak probable...and what about God? If he exists then surely he cannot be ignored, which is probably why so many are resistant to even investigating the possibility of his existence. They confine themselves to the surface level of their humanity only venturing into the deep every so often, whilst trying to brush over the fact that a tidal wave of profound emotion is nipping at their heels. We are deep, emotional, messy people. By straining the bigness of our emotions and feelings in the giant colander known as 'appropriate topics for conversation' we are not acknowledging who we are and consequently we are unable to fully address the problems we are facing. We might be able to suppress and quieten them for a while but they will continue to resurface. These feelings are REAL. Let's not be afraid of them.


  1. totally what im feeling like about sharing. i'm getting good at advising people.

  2. Amazing. So true, best post in a while. :) xx

  3. Amazing and insightful honesty Ellie...keep blogging you have a wonderful gift of communication keep using it