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Posts Tagged ‘emotions’

“Smile!”

Just for effect, let’s have that again:

Smile!

I went into town today, and that was exactly the word someone decided to yell at me in the middle of the local shopping centre. I was too busy trying to eat an ice cream before it melted to be able to point out that smiling while eating an ice cream is actually rather tricky (but I digress…).

I don’t know why he did that, and it’s not really my place to theorise about why he might have, but it’s certainly a complaint I heard from plenty of people when I was growing up. I assume I can’t be alone in this? There’s two reasons why, I think – one is that, obviously, depression doesn’t really make it easy to walk around looking like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. The other is kinda linked to my shyness – when I was growing up, I found that showing emotion (of whatever sort) often got attention, ranging from the innocent

“You look happy today”

through to the cutting

“Why are you happy, eh?

and to the absolutely well-meant but deadly

Are you ok, Chouette?

So I trained myself not to. Someone who knows me quite well once described me as “incredibly self-contained”, and it’s very true. In a way, this helps to feed depressive episodes, because it gives me sharper knives to hurt myself with in my mind.

I was told, in a school drama class once, to “act angry” (we were doing improvisation). I, er, did what he said. I snapped. All the anger from what had happened to me, and all the anger at myself, suddenly found an uncontrolled and unsuppressed release. I have a strong memory of seeing the poor girl who was my partner cowering up against the opposite wall, with real fear in her eyes. I think that memory will last forever.

I only got a B for that “improv”…

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