I play pretense with emotions… and I’m tired of it


I never know what I’m supposed to be feeling.

I live in this constant in between of being told that I feel– that I worry– too much, while also suffocating myself by the ceaseless worry that I do not worry about the things I feel enough.

I know my feelings can be overwhelming, but I have not come to the conclusion if this is some fault of the way my mind was manufactured or due to a dislike of the public I was introduced to.

I have some friends that assure me that every feeling is valid, that no matter what it is, I should not be ashamed to embrace them to their fullness. That I should not hide them beneath the shadow of doubt in which they fester. And yet, I continue to fear that if I project them as big and loud as they will go, I will be eaten alive by the expansion of them.

So, I am stuck. I am stuck between expressing everything I feel and hiding it forever, and yet the complexity that these feelings impose upon me do not limit their hassles to one area.

I still do not know what I am supposed to be feeling, or if I should feel anything at all sometimes.

Is there a unanimous way that one must react to hearing specific information? If so, I can say that I have often feigned these responses. When upon hearing typically tragic news, I find myself searching for a way to express the feelings my brain formulates, and yet it never seems to be the right one.

Therefore, I create. I mimic. I judge my responses off of others because once again, I never know what I am supposed to be feeling.

Round and round the message goes; I supposed this metaphorical game of Telephone lost its reception when it came to me.”

Am I supposed to be eaten alive by this fiend of worry that bubbles inside of me? Or should I simply accept its presence and learn to live amongst it, taking its repercussions as they come? I often find myself swinging like a pendulum between two extremes, never quite able to rest peacefully in the middle. And so, I do not.

If I do not know what I am supposed to be feeling, how can I know how much? How little? It is not that I never experience these emotions that others emulate, they just always seem to be at the wrong time.

Is there a right time?

I have been countlessly reassured that there is not, and yet, I am not sure if it is the worry living inside of me or the rigid glances aimed at me that convince me otherwise.

If every feeling has a time and place, how do we know which belong to which? Can we ever know?

When growing up, I was taught how one should act and how to act where. In church, I was told to sit quietly, taking in all the words I did not yet understand, simply mimicking the actions of those around me. Fold your hands now, stand now, sing now. Maybe it is because I have always been instructed for which occasions feelings and actions are acceptable that I do not quite understand how to decide for myself.

But maybe I have been searching through all the wrong books and emulating all the wrong feelings. Maybe no one knows how they should react, but we simply all copy each other. Round and round the message goes; I supposed this metaphorical game of Telephone lost its reception when it came to me.

I do not have any answers for the above questions for I am still discovering them myself. I cannot conclude if it is better to project the feelings others wish to visualize or keep those emotions that I cannot quite discern inside.

I do not know how to feel. About anything. So I guess I will continue to feel everything and nothing all at once.

But that leaves the impending question: which is better? To accept the natural state of my emotions and all that may or may not come with them or to frame the emotions that I read among others onto my own face?

The only issue with this question is that in order to gain a response, I must ask those I’ve been imitating this whole time.

And I do not know if I wish to expose myself like that.