During elementary school years my cousin, Krystle, and I loved playing detective. We attached a makeup compact onto a ruler with a rubberband, wrote our observations on a mini notepad, brushed baby power onto random objects around the house for fingerprints, and used hand-me-down shoulder bags as knapsacks. I called her Watson. My brother-in-law looked at our detective gear and asked, “What’s the slinky for? A diversion?” I didn’t know what diversion meant at the time or why we had a slinky in the first place, but that’s when I learned what a diversion is. Totally improved our detective skills even though there weren’t any crimes to solve.
I’m really good at diverting my attention from heavy life experiences. When I found out that my auntie passed away I shook off the moment by concentrating on my paper that was due the next day. I didn’t want to feel the cold sweat creep onto my forehead or the lost feeling in my fingertips. When my grandma died I was in the middle of hosting a baby shower. Again I shook off the moment by cleaning up after the party and binge watching the Summer Olympics that was held in London. When my long-term relationship ended I had a FRIENDS marathon for two days (I have all the seasons). When I didn’t want to face certain situations I would go to the beach, try a different coffee shop, read a book, go for a walk, listen to local music at a lounge, or watch reruns of Grey’s Anatomy.
I would do all that to numb myself from feeling anything that can hurt me. What I didn’t realize was that I was also numbing myself from feeling at peace. I was just going through the motions. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown explained how we can’t pick and choose which emotions to numb. When we numb our emotions we numb ALL emotions. We don’t allow ourselves to feel sadness, in which I thought, Duh! Who would WANT to feel sad, but we also prevent ourselves from feeling happy at the same time, which made me think of the characters Sadness and Joy from Inside Out.
Feel everything. Even if it hurts to do so. Hurt from grief or hurt from laughing so hard. Feel everything you need to feel and allow it to work, heal, and leave naturally. Then do it again. And again. Just remember to keep moving forward.
In spite of the ache I’ll rise up and I’ll do it a thousand times again -Andra Day