No Emotion Lasts Forever

About a year ago, I thought I met the guy of my dreams, AWLOB. When we first messaged each other, I remember feeling like, wow, this guy is different than anyone I’ve ever met. I remember feeling relieved in December, when he said he needed space to sort things out with his boyfriend, so I could get distance from my own desire, then giddy in January when he told me he broke up with his boyfriend and had feelings for me. Then when he said he could not commit to a one hour phone call without telling me why and just wanted to be friends in the future, I felt it all: anger at him, sadness that it did not work out, disgust at myself for caring in the first place, and confusion about why this went down how it did.

But no emotion lasts forever. About a month ago, I stopped looking him up online and reading our old emails. Before, I thought so much about what made his feelings shift and if he still liked me. Now, I do not care about how he feels or what he thinks, because I know my self-worth, and my self-worth does not include caring about a random boy who cannot commit to basic communication. At times I catch myself thinking, ugh, AWLOB is a great writer and I’ll probably run across his first book on Goodreads in a few years and that will suck. But I remind myself that he made me feel how I felt, the good and the bad, and no external accomplishment or product (e.g., a book) can erase the truth of my emotions.

the revolution will not be funded cover

Though AWLOB screwed up majorly with his communication with me, he does have pretty good taste in books. I just started this title I found on his Goodreads shelf like nine months ago and I’m learning a lot about how to be more radical, it’s great!

I guess I share this update for anyone going through a shitty time. I have a fair amount of privilege and also have gone through a lot of hardship: living with my abusive mom for 18 years, past experiences of anorexia and PTSD, the turmoil of thinking that I may have met the guy of my dreams and realizing the truth about him. I feel emotions intensely, so when shit happens sometimes I feel like my whole world is imploding and all of my control has collapsed.

Through present moment awareness and aligning with my values, I know though that I will be okay. I will be more than okay, really. This weekend I strolled down the streets of Atlanta listening to “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored” by Ariana Grande after having a conversation that affirmed my strong sense of self. During this stroll I felt the best about my life and my relationships than I had in a long time. I wrote this blog post on my flight back from Atlanta, and the evening of my return to D.C. I have plans to play tennis with my super fun and kind tennis friends. When I take a step back and then sit in the present moment, my life feels like a dream: I have red hair and wear tons of floral shirts, I have the privilege of providing therapy and I read a ton of great books, and I will fly to Seattle to visit one of my best friends, Bri, in January. I feel joyous, fulfilled, and in awe of my perseverance.

Positive emotions also fade with time, though. So I’m committing to staying engaged with the present, enjoying every moment of connection to others and to myself, because who knows how things will change. I rest assured knowing that whatever force tries to conquer me, I will survive. Even if it takes time, I will rise.

2019 atlanta cheesecake and smoothie yay

Okay check out this iconic turtle cheesecake and strawberry and mango smoothie with mango popping boba I got in Atlanta though. Felt no guilt while eating, only enjoyment. Anorexic preteen me would be shocked to see me make it this far. We had to stan.

How do you cope with negative and positive emotions? What experiences or emotions felt like they may last forever when they did not? Other reactions to this post? Hope you all are well and until next time!

13 Comments

Filed under Personal

13 responses to “No Emotion Lasts Forever

  1. x.w

    Hi Thomas,
    The title is so interesting! It makes me think is there any good or bad feelings that lasts longer than I expected? So far, I think most feelings will get much less intense or just fade away. For example, anger, like you’ve mentioned. Or the feeling of crushing on someone. Many emotions becomes apathy. I found that when I apathy towards an ex, then it is a very good state of my mind for me. 😀 Also I found that PTSD could still happen even if I don’t have feelings with a particular person, but the trauma has been stayed with me. I didn’t know until earlier this year, when I was in a relationship, I suddenly started to think, was my then boyfriend cheating on me (or ever intended to). I was lying in bed, and suddenly I felt this overwhelming tension from my body and I knew I was having a panic attack. In fact, this recent relationship was the opposite compare with the one i was being cheated. I think because I got cheated before and had a toxic relationship in the past, my ability to trust has since changed. Even though I communicate better in this relationship, still I didn’t tell him 100 percent the truth why I have trust issues. (I was embarrassed to say someone cheated on me) I didn’t tell him about the panic attack, and I didn’t tell him that I have known my mom’s affairs (with married men) since I was little and how it has impacted my love life. I didn’t tell him many things that I told my therapist. But I tried my best this time. I think in the future, I will be better talking about my issues.
    I feel like i’m off the track a little. I guess the trauma would become less and less powerful with time and healing? Any recommendations on books about dealing with trauma? I think some feelings do last: the feeling of reading some good passages even though you’ve read them before; listening to your favourite mustic; the feeling when you visit some beautiful place, or talking to a very good old friend… …
    Xin

    • Aw thanks for this thoughtful comment, Xin! Yes I think that intense emotions fading into apathy can be such a healing experience, especially when those emotions were painful,s o I’m glad that’s what’s happening with your feelings toward your ex right now. And I appreciate you sharing about what’s going on in your current relationship right now, the notion that you can be self-aware about your past has affected you and hope to work through that with that baseline level of self-understanding. I’d recommend The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk for a book about trauma, it’s one that has been making its way around psychology and therapy spaces I think. I also love the notion of some feelings lasting as you write in your last few sentences, because those experiences (e.g., listening to music, talking to an old friend) are ones we can seek out intentionally, too. Thanks for your well wishes about AWLOB too, looking forward to hearing from you again in the future!

  2. x.w.

    oh I forgot to say that I am so glad to see your feelings about AWLOB has gone but you enjoy the book he likes. High five! 😀
    xin

  3. First I must say, I am incredibly proud of you, Thomas.

    When I’m consumed by negativity I tend to isolate and introspect (and mope), but most helpful has been the habit of journaling. It’s quite insightful to look back to what past me had experienced and then overcome … over and over again.

    As for the positive, I know it never lasts. I’m a wee bit of a pessimist of this, happiness is like trying to capture water in my hands, however, I often negate that with enjoying the clean, crisp and refreshing respite it brings, for how long that lasts.

    Hoping this finds you well xx

    • Thank you for your warm and thoughtful comment, Devina, I always love hearing from you. I’m glad journaling has been helpful, I do that a lot too! It’s great to gain awareness about our emotions and what makes us experience them, and things like that. What you write makes sense to me, how we can both feel sad or cynical about how positives do not last while also honoring how amazing they feel in the moment. I hope you’re doing well, or as well as you can be in the moment.

  4. Great post. This, too, shall pass is a mantra I have adopted over the years. The joy at finishing a marathon, the awful sadness when our beloved pet cat died, both finished and are memories, although I can summon up something of the feeling still. Some things last and pop up to remind us, and they’re probably the things we need to address in therapy. I think it’s great you have the maturity to write this post like you have.

    • Thank you Liz! Yes, I love this notion of how even though emotions fade, we can still bring them into memory or encounter things that evoke those feelings. Thank you for sharing some of your process as well and I appreciate how we can both disclose how we have grown from the challenges we have faced. (: Also, I read Girl, Woman, Other a couple of weeks ago and really liked it (gave it four stars) – so thank you for your recommendation and featuring it on your blog.

  5. I think the key is understanding when and how to move on. And then allowing the emotions to subside which doesn’t come easily. The cheese cake and mango boba look intriguing. I love cheese cake but I have issues with lactose.

    I love the feeling of happiness and empowerment in this entry. 🙂

    • Thank you for reading and commenting Matt, and for encouraging and supporting the happiness and empowerment in this blog post! Yes, I think what you write makes sense, about how moving on takes time, sometimes a lot of time, and giving space for the emotions to subside is important too. Hope you’re well.

  6. Elle Szabo

    awe this reminds me of a lot I’ve been through, including an eating disorder as well. I found your blog from goodreads. stay strong!

  7. Pingback: Dreamland | the quiet voice

  8. Pingback: Worthy of Me (His Loss) | the quiet voice

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