So… do feelings matter or don’t they?

That saying, “tomorrow is another day”? Doesn’t really work for me. It’s always rough going at the start of a new day. Wake-up time is always the wrong time. That might have something to do with the fact that I start beating up on myself before I’ve even gained full consciousness, gotten out of bed, set my feet on the floor. Today I woke up feeling as grey inside as it was outside, only a darker shade of grey. Feelings of inadequacy came rushing in. About my lack of motivation in general, and in particular as pertaining to my homemaking skills, and the usual conflict of not wanting to go outside even though I know I should, and for good measure, the nagging thought that if I’m not a speed reader, it must mean I’m not that intelligent. I believe the words uttered in some part of my consciousness were “mildly retarded”. Completely absurd, I know. All because I’ve ordered new books and want to finish the 500+ novel I’ve got going so I can move on to other novels. There was also the good old “I’ve grown heartless and I’ll never want to make room for someone in my life again”. All that — and more! — which all led to me feeling shaky and deeply depressed, and once again considering not getting out of bed because “what’s the use?”.

But I’ve figured something out with my therapist over the past couple of months; apparently gaging how I’m doing by how I “feel” is not helpful at all. There have been days where I’ve felt like a handful of dirt (the kind that you can’t grow anything in) and somehow managed to do a bunch of small things that all add up to breakthroughs. Today for instance, I was fairly sure it wouldn’t be much of a productive day, but then to the contrary, I ended up doing a bunch of small things; I felt inspired to tidy up a few spots in the apartment that had been sorely neglected for the past few months. Then I remembered I had a few bills and bureaucratic matters to take care of, which I normally put off till it’s past overdue. I decided that since I was already feeling depressed, there was no chance that it could possibly put me in a worse mood. Then, after making a phone call where I was put on hold for 10 minutes at a time, transfered from one service to another after following endless voice prompts, and then finally told I had the wrong number, I was naturally wanting to kill someone, but instead I decided that was the perfect time to figure out my budget and savings situation. This when the very word “budget” usually sends me screeching to the hills. Again, I figured nothing could be worse than feeling this crappy — making lists in my head of who my various possessions, cat and books should go to crappy — so I just sat down and worked it all out, and at some point caught myself… dare I say it? Almost enjoying myself. Especially when I went online and gave myself a nice little chunk of money for future use. That felt good.

Now as I sit here writing this, I don’t feel any better, but at least I have some sense of accomplishment. Which really, in our goal-oriented society is something to feel good about, apparently. All of which is well and good but all my life I’ve learned to listen to my feelings and it just doesn’t add up.

Painting: “Morning” by Maxfield Parrish


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