I went to play in a band tonight for the first time in roughly 5 years. It was a jazz band at my old school, conducted but a friend I used to play with. The experience was very pleasant, joking like old times, playing, if not as well as old times, at least with as much enjoyment. After the fond farewells I hopped into my car to drive home and burst into tears.
What? But I had just had a pleasant evening right. Surely I should be happy. Well strangely I was both happy and very sad. As I have been surely learning lately the human emotion is a hard thing to understand.
So what was behind this outburst of emotion. Well if we look past the obvious fact that the last few days have been highly emotionally charged, in the end I susinct that spending an evening at my old high school reminded me of the fact that I was no longer 17.
What? This post is just getting silly now. Of course I am no longer 17, surely that is obvious to everybody, even me. Well thats the thing, as much as I know this cognitively, emotionally I never quite accepted it.
Now here is where I am at an advantage over you dear reader, for I have an insight into my own mind that you will never have. So let me connect the dots for you.
I have always had a problem with change. Every major change in my life has taken me from a situation I was comfortable in to one in which I was confused and scared. Every change brought heightened stress and greater challenges. And although I can see now that those challenges grew me as a person, my subconscious doesn’t see it in the same way. All it sees is CHANGE = STESS= BAD.
And so each change brought greater stress, and now that I look back on it, a lot of surpressed grief. It’s not like my problems where any worse then any other awkward teen, I was just woefull at handling them. I never sat with my feelings. I never really experienced them.
And so the grief build up, unexpressed, every time I had a major change in my life.
The penultimate one, leaving Radford was hard. Because I hated change I hadn’t really thought about what I would do. I just picked what a good friend was doing a decided that was for me. Needless to say I wasn’t chomping at the bit to get started. On top of that the girl I had been dating through college and I broke up. Again a fairly normal situation left totally un dealt with by the emotion phobic me. All in all I was going through, if not a tough time (it is hard for anyone with the social and financial resources I had to have it truly tough), at last an emotional one.
But these emotions stayed locked away. Buried deep down. Occasionally surfacing as stress, which like any true modern man I ignored.
Then change came again. I was finishing university. The real world beckoned with its promise of a greater and more complete change than I had ever experienced before. More stress, less time to not deal with it.
Then I got cancer.
Now I will not say that my inability to deal with change and stress caused my cancer, in the end we just can’t know. But it sure as fuck didnt help.
So, to bring this long, and poorly typed (i am once again on my phone after the success of lasts nights rant at keeping me entertained while not able to sleep) story to a close, why the fuck was I crying after a very pleasant evening with friends.
Well all the grief of losing my old life finally surfaced. So I sat there, in my car, and cried for the loss of a life I havn’t had in 8 years, and which I probably wouldn’t want if I could have it again. For such is the way with emotions, it does not matter how silly they seem, they are real. It does not matter if you do not know why they are there, they are real. They are part part of you and it does not pay to ignore them. It does not pay to push them away with drugs, or booze, or anything else. They exist and they are part of you. And, if you will indulge the touchy feelie hippy in me for a moment they are beautiful just like you. How amazing is the system that keeps us alive that we have emotions so complex that often we dont understand them. It may not always be convenient, in fact sometimes it can feel pretty shit, but it sure is amazing. And in the end the price for those moments of joy and elation is moments of sadness and loss.
And so we end with a lesson, or a suggestion, whatever you want to view it as. Cry in your car for no reason you can understand, be angry at nothing, grieve for something you lost as a 5 year old that you could buy hundred times over. Just do not let those emotions sit unexplored, for who knows when, our how they might come out.