Over the past two weeks, I have been attending a seminar at work in which we have been discussing ways in which we can change our outlook on situations, especially at conflicts we face in our jobs, and creating a safe distance.

I was struck by something the lecturer said regarding the power of communication:

Something you say out loud has a charge and significance that something kept silent cannot.”

Ah, catharsis.  My old friend.

There is power in the expulsion of pent up emotions. Some people do it better than others. Some, one could argue, may do it too freely.

Catharsis can take shape in many ways, to many different ends.

Catharsis is telling your mother after years of silence that the way she discussed your weight was hurtful.

Catharsis is running to the bathroom, releasing the floodgates of tears after struggling all day to put on a brave face.

Catharsis is listening to angry music when you just want to scream and hit people.

Catharsis is the first kiss, the grab-and-pull-in after what feels like years of anticipation.

While some hold their emotions, their true selves, tightly to their chests, I have never been that sorta gal.

I am hopelessly transparent.

When I’m sufficiently and successfully medicated with antidepressants, I feel emotions fully. I have magnificent highs and crushing lows. (You read that right, that’s when I’m successfully medicated…I went through a couple years in which I just didn’t feel anything.  That was rough.)

I can feel a supreme sense of exhilaration while listening to certain songs (so much so I made a Spotify playlist called exactly that.)

I feel joy at little things like seeing a fox in the middle of a residential area one misty morning on the way to work, or when my DumpsterCat is sitting in the window waiting for me when I come home from work.

This little dude brings me so much happiness

Sometimes while experiencing happiness, I actually feel that heart-swell people talk about. Sometimes I brim with so much excitement that I actually shake my non-existent tailfeathers. Maybe that’s weird. I don’t know.

Sometimes I can’t contain myself and I have flailing-muppet-arms while recounting a story.

Flailing Muppet Arms.gif

Catharsis, man.

The release.

It feels so good.

I’ve never understood people who bottle up their emotions.

Scratch that, I have done such things before, and it’s not good. That’s when I throw pants at coworkers.

But throwing pants at coworkers is also a type of catharsis. Maybe not the nicest or most constructive form, but catharsis nevertheless.

It’s all gotta come out somehow.

During my most busy, stressed out, pissed-off stretches in undergrad and grad school, people would know that it was a good idea to leave me alone when I had both earbuds of my iPod in. If I needed to keep my shit together on the outside, I could put on some Mindless Self Indulgence {link] to force my body to release its frustrations, all to the problematic falsetto lyrics of Jimmy Urine. (Hey, I’m not proud. The heart wants what it wants.)

I like my coffee black just like my metal

If I needed to relieve my stress and center myself, it was the trip-hop band Halou.

Music released my tensions, melting my moods into jelly.

In grad school, sometimes I went to the bathroom and kicked the cinderblock walls. Sometimes I retreated to the “crying corners” in the hidden hat or shoe storage vaults. I allowed myself these displays of emotion. I needed them. I didn’t have everything under control, and that was okay. It was responsible to let them out. It was less responsible to keep them in until they festered, threatened to bubble over into an ugly mess. Sometimes they did.

And sometimes when I need a good sobfest, I just watch the final montage of Six Feet Under set to Sia’s “Breathe Me.”


I watch Moulin Rouge.

Even a crappy camera-shot-at-a-tv-screen version of these scene is a whole lot

I watch Dancer In the Dark (oh man, all the tears…)

The most depressing Bjork musical by Lars Von Trier you’ll ever see.

I give myself permission to feel all emotions deeply, the good and the bad, the effervescence of joy, the raw anger, the hopeless feeling of falling in love, the loss of heartbreak. I am experiencing the same things that people have always felt since the beginning of time, and I feel inexplicably linked to the core of humanity.


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