I Think, I Feel

"To the soul, there is hardly anything more healing than friendship." – Thomas Moore

So I stuttered a few times, giggled at a few spots, even said one site name wrong. It was nerves, anxiety and oh yeah, that thing called triggering emotional memories.

Overall the show taping went well and I like the way I sounded. Michelle sent me the unedited version just so I can hear. And she might be able to fix my error.

It was rather odd to hear myself talk about the experience. Its one thing to write it, yet another to tell it and still something different to say and then hear it back. Very odd.

My stuttering was do to overthinking or getting ahead of myself. I started to share some parts of my story, as it related to my parents, and I caught myself. I felt badly. I did not want to speak bad of them or how they failed me or what they did or did not do.

Even still, today, after all I have gone through, I am protecting them, thinking of their feelings.  I am keenly aware of it now and I falter between loyalty to myself and loyalty to them and the family I shamed. It’s difficult at best.

One of the questions she asked me during the interview was if I “FELT” something was wrong during my stay in maternity home. Did I feel that I was committing a crime against nature, against my daughter, against my own soul. Did I feel something was being withheld from me.

Hell yeah. I did feel that. I felt it  when I was treated differently by the other girls in the maternity home, I felt it in my interactions with the Director of the home, I felt it in the conversations I had with my caseworker. It was always there. Some underlying, blackness, some deep dark evil, anger, rage. Something was WRONG.  It was like those little ghostly figures that come up and take the evil doers in the movie “Ghost”. It was a feeling of sickness, of wrongness.

I could not put words to that feeling back then  I did not question the feeling, I did not look at it, I did not give it rise. I just went along for the ride. I did what I was “supposed” to do. I was a good girl. I did not question my elders. They were right. I was wrong. My bulging belly was proof of that.

Honestly, I internalized the feeling and just assumed it was about ME. That I was the evil bad, wrong one and NOT that something outside me was wrong.

Thomas Moore might say it was my soul speaking.  Others might say it was my True Self. Regardless of what it was, I denied it. Ignored it.

I believe, now, that behaving in such a manner caused some sort of split in me. That I worked hard at controlling and denying my feelings and I forced myself to stay in the higher, thinking, ego realm.

Over the years of in therapy and with friends, I have often been chastised for over thinking and not enough feeling. Guh. How many times I have heard “That’s a THOUGHT, Suz, not a feeling”

Of frig you, I wanted to scream, when you hear me say “I think” just substitute, “I feel” okay, and oh yeah, get off my case.

What was the big deal anyway? My Jungian Type is a Thinker. ITSJ.  Beating me up for my feelings (or lack thereof) was just further proof to me that I was once again wrong, not good, not right. It made me cautious to express myself AT ALL to anyone.

But alas, lo and behold…things have been changing.

Over the past two years with my most recent therapist, there is a marked awareness and expression of my feelings. I am aware of them now. I say them “I feel sad, mad or scared”. I feel uncomfortable.   Sounds trite perhaps, but I FEEL the change.

I believe in part this change was affected by not only my therapist and my own work, but by my friends, support network of moms and adoptees and even fellow bloggers.  For the first time, EVER, I was in the company of people who not only FELT like I did but expressed it.  They met me. They stood in the fire with me and did not shrink back.  And even those that did not feel it, respected it, allowed it to be. Did not move to fix it, fade it, change it or deny it.

And it was okay to express. They wanted to hear it. They wanted to share theirs. Being so transparent and sharing, gave others the comfort to do the same. It was one massive support group meeting. Group hugs across cyberspace.

In surrendering my daughter, I denied my own feelings. I abdicated my needs and desires to the agency, my parents and the “greater good”. They were more important. She was more important. I was worthless. Nothing.Nada. Nunca. Niema. Zilch.

To survive that loss, I suppressed my feelings. I lived in LaLa Land (for a few years anyway) and told myself I did the right thing, it was okay, she’s okay. NOW GO AWAY LITTLE DEMON NEGATIVE FEELING. Alternatively, get away from me Truth. Go away Soul. Screw you my True Self.

I was afraid of dealing with my feelings. I was afraid I could not handle them. I was afraid they would overcome me. I was afraid I would have an abreaction (not unlike what I did at the Fessler presentation).

Over time, I have dipped my toes in the waters of feeling and heeeyyyyyyy, would you look at that, I have survived. I am growing, learning, feeling and you know what? It aint so bad.

If my thinking self needs proof of this, it can be found in the fact that these days, when I take an MBTI test, I have different results. Shocked, I take the tests over and over and take different ones.

Same, differing result.

I now rank as an INFJ.  Maybe not a huge deal but it kinda is to me. Well, at least to my thinking self it is.

5 Thoughts.

  1. Feeling is so hard sometimes, I know I was in this sort of wierd limbo place for so very long when it came to these feelings. I hate the phrase “that’s a thought, not a feeling” I truly do. I get it really, but to feel it changing and feel yourself changing is scary at best. I have changed so much in the last two years, and have watched you change too. I like the changes in myself, and I like the changes I see in you too. Never thought I would be able to talk about any of this and be accepted, let alone validated in my feelings. Keep growing and changing Suz all it does is free you from the bad-gunky. ( I Like that phras cos that part of my life sure was full of bad-gunky, ty Stephen King for the phrase) I love you lady..

  2. … especially when you have others older than you in a position of authority and power telling you how you are supposed to feel and think. If what is inside doesn’t match either, then where else does it leave you but split?
    I’m very much looking forward to hearing you on the 3/4 show.

  3. Hi Suz,
    I’m an INFP, emphasis on the P.
    My emotional feelings are conditioned through my thoughts and beliefs. Trying to live in my head with the programming I adopted about adoption contradicted the feelings and hormones of my body. Crazy making.
    It’s weird how what we believe affects our feelings. I’m striving to observe what IS rather than relying on what I(make)believe.

  4. If you feel it is a big deal Suz, then it probably is. Your thoughts and feelings are like your two eyes guiding you through life. Using both you can see and feel the forest. And how big it really is 🙂

  5. I think there’s a time element to allowing ourselves to feel, too. At times in my life I’ve pushed feeling away just to survive, and I’m sure that was the case for you, Suz. The first order of business in the beginning was to survive what you knew was an experience that just shouldn’t have existed. But now that you HAVE survived, you are able to express those feelings. I’m guessing they are what has given your voice its power.

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