Monday, 12 December 2016

Not everything needs a shape.



Today, I cried. Then I smiled and then I whooped and then I laughed. And later I cried again.

There was a good reason for the weeping. It was proper sorrow. Even as I got it all out and it started to ebb, I began writing it down in my head. It formed itself into an essay. It moved away from being an overwhelming, painful feeling in the gut, a feeling of despair and defeat, up into the head, where it formed itself into sentences.

Because, you see, if I can put a thing into words then I have an explanation. I always need an explanation. If I put a thing into words it has shape, and coherence, and even reality. There it is, on the page, making sense.

And then, much later, after all the emotion had drained away, I thought: does it really need explaining? In life, humans are sometimes happy and sometimes sad. Sometimes they are baffled and sometimes they are blithe; sometimes they are beaten, and sometimes they rise again like a phoenix from the ashes. Sometimes they are confused and sometimes they are wrong and sometimes they are found and sometimes they are lost.

All this does not necessarily need a shape. It does not have to be mapped. It does not have to be justified.

I sometimes feel painful emotion as a failure. I should be stronger, better, bolder, tougher. I should be able to face the blows; I should be more flinty and less self-indulgent. The should voices are quite loud and very bossy.

But there it was,  that overwhelming emotion, this morning, in the field, as the red mare dozed by my side, waiting for me to get it all out so we could do some work. I was sad and there was a reason to be sad. And I did get it all out. And we did do some work. We did some proper schooling and then we rode all the way up the hill and far away. We crossed the high road and we went deep into the woods and we went over the scary bridge. The sun rose and glimmered and glinted through the trees and gentled the land and made everything all right. ‘If we can cross the scary bridge,’ I said to the mare, ‘we can do anything.’


Sometimes I am happy, and sometimes I am sad. I don’t need to write you an essay about that. It does not need shape. It simply is. 

1 comment:

  1. You have a lovely way of dealing with, and describing, your emotions. I've come to similar conclusions via circuitous routes.
    Being brought up with a stiff upper lip and big girls don't cry, I learnt to suppress anything that smacked of emotion, especially painful ones.
    Later many many tears were shed and much anger expressed during the learning process,as I learnt to put a name to them. These days I can feel them as they happen! No longer have to analyse them, just feel them, express them if I want, and then get on with it.
    Val Symonds

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