I’m in rough shape today as I’m recovering from a 48-hour bug, so here is a post I tweaked from July 2011.
I want all of my feelings to be in agreement. I want to be either happy or sad – not both. Particularly not both about a single event.
Until yesterday, I was in Washington, D.C. for a wedding, which I decided to turn into a long weekend trip. I love Washington, D.C. I went to school there, I became an adult there, one of my favorite places on Earth is there. Yet, I live in California and I love California. I love the weather, I love my friends, I love my apartment, my life, my community.
I felt (and feel) sad about leaving the district because not only are my favorite places there, but also some dear friends. My heart is heavy because I don’t know when I’ll see them again. Washington, D.C. is a special place for me because I don’t have one or two good friends who live there, I have about a dozen. It’s hard to leave such a large and deep pocket of love and kinship. I was sad to leave but happy to come home. A part of me wants to pick a side, to say I’m either sad to leave D.C. or happy to come back to California. But that’s not true. I honestly feel both.
What I’m learning is my feelings are complex and multifaceted so that means I can feel both. I don’t have to pick a side. I don’t have to move back to D.C. because I miss living there. I don’t have to abandon my life in the Bay Area. I don’t have to do anything really except feel what I’m feeling. Allow myself to experience both happiness and sadness, yes, even at the same time.
My life these days is no longer black and white, it’s technicolor. I am an unlimited being so I don’t have to restrict myself to feeling one way or another. Perhaps that’s what it means to be an adult, recognizing there are numerous feelings and life isn’t as simple as I thought it was. I can feel both. I can love multiple people, places, and things, and nothing has to replace anything else. I can have multiple favorites.
I wish everything was cut and dry because life would be so much simpler that way, but in truth, it’s not. So that’s what I’m encouraging: to embrace life as it is, in all its technicolor glory.
I dream of a world where contradicting feelings may coexist. A world where we allow for all possibilities and situations without trying to force ourselves to feel one way or another. A world where we accept our complexity and our depth. A world where we know one thing does not have to preclude the other.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.