Repression Would Be Handy Right About Now

Repressing Less, Feeling More

Getting honest with myself is having repercussions everywhere in my life, good and bad.

The upside of less repression is that I am losing weight effortlessly and, wow, am occasionally feeling (could it be?) joy.

The downside of less repression is that my reactions to situations are swift and powerful. I am accustomed to just not feeling things. Yesterday, my husband and I received an invitation to his daughter’s second wedding—in Mexico! Seriously? She is having the ceremony while on a cruise. Going would entail spending thousands of dollars on a cruise and, worse, would likely kill Barry. The issue is that Bailey knows her dad can’t travel. He has Huntington’s Disease and she knows it (and might get it herself because she hasn’t been tested for it as far as I know). If he could travel, I would take him. I could never deprive him of a wedding of his own daughter. I accompanied him to her first wedding. This is not the worst part of it, however. The zinger is that she sent this invitation to a ridiculously expensive wedding to the man she didn’t even send a Father’s Day card to. Her message came through loud and clear: I don’t really care about you and, by the way, could you please send me and my fiancé a very expensive present? I was instantly pissed off. It was such a slap in the face.

This is where I am losing my mind. I am tired of being burdened with the social obligation that I respect and honor other people’s asinine, bullshit, and profoundly disrespectful expectations. And when I fail to do so (deliberately and in good conscience), I am made to look like the bad guy. This is the kind of stuff that would have been instantly repressed this time last year. I now understand the upside of repression.

And now I don’t repress much of anything anymore. Part of it is that I don’t use emotional eating for repression purposes now. Also, you cannot repress something right there at the surface. It’s too late. Trying to shove down those feeling with an entire package of cookies can only leave me wretchingly sick and still pissed off. It would solve nothing.

I have used Zen to avoid feelings for many years. I have also wished to live in a monastery to focus on purely “spiritual” concerns. I now recognize that the main reason I’ve wanted to be a monastic is to avoid precisely these kinds of social/emotional issues.

I am realizing that I have an entire lifetime of repressed anger coming up. I have tried so many years to meet people’s expectations. Regardless of how ridiculous those expectations have been. Take the lid off a boiling pot and this is what happens. It’s all coming out now. I almost pity the person that gets in my way today. Holding things in has made me more socially palatable, but it has also kept unnecessary weight on me and emotionally deadened me for years. Other people liked me more—at the expense of my own self-respect and emotional growth. It was a truly sucky trade-off.

I will let go of this, too. Time will pass. Barry, for that matter, will pass as well. This will be “ancient history.” I will release the anger and also the grief that Barry’s daughter could ever treat her dad that way. I will release the heartbreak.

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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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