It's OK to Feel Like Shit Sometimes
“The seat of human emotion should be the liver,” Doc Homer said. “That would be an appropriate metaphor: we don’t hold love in our hearts, we hold it in our livers.” I understood exactly. Once in ER I saw a woman who’d been stabbed everywhere, most severely in the liver. It’s an organ with the consistency of layer upon layer of wet Kleenex. Every attempt at repair just opens new holes that tear and bleed. You try to close the wound with fresh wounds, and you try and you try and you don’t give up until there’s nothing left.” —Barbara Kingsolver
I wrote this quote down after reading Animal Dreams in high school. It resonated with me then, but only now, at 30, do I feel I’ve experienced it. Every time I go through a gap in writing I’m typically going through a life transition. This time I’m going through a breakup. Or maybe I went through it. If it ends with the pain then I’m still in it.
The good news is that I became deeply depressed. I say it’s good news because I think we’re only able to feel as much pain as we’re able to feel love. I loved a man so deeply I felt really depressed when I lost him. Makes sense. I’ve been depressed before, and those times I knew I could cover it up and feel better soon. This was different. This time I sat in it. I let myself feel everything I needed to feel. And I went deep down to a place I’d never been before. I’m an eternal optimist, someone who deeply loves life, and I couldn’t care less about anything.
That wasn’t scary to me.
What I realize is scary is that we can hide from love.
I didn’t know I loved as deeply as I did until it was over. I was living in my head instead of my heart. This must happen to a lot of people because, you know, you never know what you got ‘till it’s gone.
Well, why the hell don’t we know?
Because we’re cut off from our knowing, from our intuition. I’ve gone through all of the cliches—and that shit becomes cliche for a reason. We all have the same human experiences, and when you love deeply and then it’s gone, everyone feels the same thing: pain.
The beauty about being human is that our states aren’t static. We’re constantly moving. If you’ve ever watched your emotions you know what I’m talking about. Even a somewhat consistent person, like myself, can have a variety of emotions throughout a single day.
I would wake up depressed, brush my teeth complacent, make a smoothie feeling a hint of optimism, talk to a client and feel presently sane, go to yoga and feel rejuvenated, talk to a friend and remember how amazing life is, walk the dog and miss the shit out of my ex, bump into a friendly neighbor and laugh, and on and on it goes.
Sometimes we’re happy.
Sometimes we’re sad.
Sometimes we’re in relationship.
Sometimes we’re not.
Nothing stays the same.
So through all of this pain I decided to focus on healing myself. I started doing breathwork (amazing!) every week, process painting classes, zentangling, photography, yoga, writing, design, communicating with friends…everything that feels important to my soul.
I’m healing. I can feel it working. I can feel the painful days spread further apart. But, then a moment or two pop up that feel really rough, and I realize my heart is in my liver.
I thought healing was in a direction, that once I felt good I couldn’t go back to feeling not good. Right? No surprise that it isn’t that simple. It’s not just time. It’s not just moving forward. It’s allowing yourself to be with the things that feel bad. It’s letting it be ok that I still miss his heart a shit ton. It’s forgiving myself for all of the ways I could have been better. It’s letting everything be just as it is.