Just under a month ago, I was looking desperately for a link that I wanted to share with you, in my post about the Dichotomy between tragedy and comedy on our blinking social media feeds.
As things go, I shared the link three years ago on Facebook - and that same social media feed regurgitated it this morning. So I can finally share it with you.
The problem was, I couldn’t remember where it had been published, and I had the writer/therapist’s name wrong altogether - which made searching for it hard.
By “emotion phobic” I mean that we fear our emotions and devalue them. […] But despite our fear, there is something in us that wants to feel all these emotional energies, because they are the juice of life. When we suppress and diminish our emotions, we feel deprived. So we watch horror movies or so-called reality shows like Fear Factor. We seek out emotional intensity vicariously, because when we are emotionally numb, we need a great deal of stimulation to feel something, anything.
I’ve tried describing this to people - friends, family - off and on all year. It’s a hard concept to explain, mostly because it hinges on acceptance of the premise that we are emotion phobic; that our culture devalues emotions AND that they are actually valuable and helpful to us as information. For all that - I think she’s right. I am a better person when I regularly feel my emotions, categorize them, write about them, and listen to what they have to tell me. Lately, the anxiety and stress I’ve been under is telling me that I cannot be happy living with the fear of eviction over my head. Security and Belonging are basic human needs, and our current situation does not contain those.
Similarly, I know that I struggle with scrolling the social feed - I prefer longer-form writing of blogs, which often tell a whole story (there’s some big biochemical stuff that happens when we hear the beginnings and endings of stories). The ups and downs of emotional content being marketed to my eyes feels unreal - I want to come back around to unreality some other day - and I’ve been a little more conscious since I started writing again about how much time I spend consuming social media. It’s not enough and it’s a start.