I woke up when the sun came through my window. Everything was flat and gray in the morning light. I got up, ate breakfast, and pulled on a flannel. I considered my face in the mirror, then grabbed my makeup bag. I filled in my eyebrows first, coloring them thick and dark and strong. Then my lips—I painted them a deep plum, running the lipstick over and over my bottom lip until the color was dark enough. My eyes I left mostly untouched—just a quick sweep of black eyeshadow along my upper and lower lash lines, then three heavy coats of mascara, until my eyelashes were long, spidery, ridiculous.
“I only wear makeup when I want my outsides to match my insides,” I told my roommate. She told me she’d never wear lipstick that dark.
I got to the coffee shop a few minutes early to meet up with my co-conspirator. The place was bright, all glass, with the doors flung open to welcome in the cooling breeze.
The others arrived and we settled into the routine for the day. As we started, I felt myself disconnect. Oh, I realized. I don’t want to be here.
Always the too-late understanding.
I’ve never had a firm grasp on my emotions. Hour by hour, when I survey myself, I come back empty, nothing in my nets. And then, I’ll be sitting in a coffee shop with friends, and something will break through—a sour feeling in my stomach, a burning in my eyes, a listlessness—that clues me in to whatever’s going on inside of me. Ah, I think, I must be feeling something. But what is it?
It’s like the thermometer in my heart—the one that’s supposed to gauge the temperature of my emotions—has broken. (Or maybe it never worked to start with.) And I’m left with no data, nothing to work with.
Everything is a deep, dark blue, hidden in the depths of my unfathomable emotions. I catch a glimpse of a fin or a tentacle—grief? Anger? Plain old sadness? But it flicks away before I can reel it in.
I’ve just re-read the paragraph above. Clearly, I’m an emotional person who veers dangerously close to purple prose. It’s maddening—clearly, I feel deeply. Clearly, I have strong emotional responses. So why can’t I feel them? It’s like some necessary connection has been severed—my spinal cord cut so I can’t feel my legs.
I want to attempt to regrow that connection (or forge a new one.) I want to access and understand my emotions as they occur, so I’m not left in the dark. Meditation, morning pages—anything that can help me tune in with my emotions.
I’ll keep working on it. And let me know—do you know your emotions?