At least a couple times a week, I walk into a major heart to heart between Brooke and one of our daughters.
A couple of teenagers, one who sure acts like one and the youngest daughter who may as well be 20 by all the stuff she already knows at seven with four older siblings.
I’m sure our parents said this same thing, but damn it’s a tricky world to raise kids in right now.
The pressure of perfection. The influence of social media. Never being able to escape because you’re always on camera. No outward secrets but tons of inner ones.
I really do think I would have burned my life down at 13 if I had access to the same things my kids have.
One of these heart to hearts happened late last week. The details will remain in that room, but let’s just say at times the pressure mounts to a boiling point.
Brooke has this intuition where she knows when to keep poking, even in the midst of a shut-down, stone-walled heart.
I’ve been on the receiving end of the prodding, and though it’s never pleasant, it usually ends in a breakthrough of some sort.
Such was the case that night.
“I know you don’t want to, but you gotta get it out. If no one else knows your feelings, it will continue to poison you…”
She was talking to our daughter, but that language still resonates with me. Like I’m the teenager, at least emotionally.
It was a game I’d mastered.
Tell enough of the truth, open the door to the heart just slightly for others to see the best parts, and then shove the hard feelings so far out of sight that I literally didn’t ever feel them.
Anxiety? Nope, I’m good.
Jealousy? Of what?
Anger? I mean, only when it really boiled over.
Sadness? Who is so miserable to be sad all the time?
Fear? No way.
It feels so elementary, but now that the heart is feeling again, the emotions flood with specificity.
And the only way to deal with them is the same way Brooke helped our daughter learn.
You gotta get them out.
Like literally, out.
Out loud. Spoken. Shared. Not kept inside to swirl and poison and infect.
The thing about emotions, I’m learning, is that in and of them themselves, they’re not good or bad.
They just are.
But if they’re left to themselves, rattling around in that heart and head of yours, look out.
I tried that trick for too long. And it about took me down.
But now that I’m learning, like a teenager, to get them all out, a new emotion has started to emerge more frequently.
It’s still hard for me to name them sometimes, but getting those feelings out, is really good medicine.
Even if I need to be prodded at times.
Breakthrough is on the other side. As long as we get them out.