Do I eat my feelings?
Of course I do.
What are the other choices? I have tried to share my feelings for my entire life and ended up being told that I was too intense, too overwhelming, too queer, too confusing, too challenging, too weird.
Sometimes that meant people just walking away and sometimes it meant them trying to silence me, but in any case, it left me to do something with my own feelings, to soothe and stabilize myself.
I write when I can, I sleep and I eat. Boo.
My gender seems to be guru. People expect me to be of service to them without having to be present for me.
Because they see me as a mirror of their own expectations & beliefs, a screen to be projected upon, they can’t imagine how they can be with me, can enter my world, can engage my feelings.
I have done work they see as mystical and beyond them, have transcended the space they inhabit, have moved beyond their understanding, so I am a wonderful resource to let them play out their own spirals and mess, to give context and mirroring, to offer a guide to better and more conscious choices.
That’s lovely. It is a service I am proud to offer. “In cultures where gender is rigidly binary, rituals of gender crossing remind us of our continuous common humanity.”
I am a healer. But I am also a human, with my own emotions, my own exhaustion, my own wounds.
And so I indulge the flesh in a limited attempt to stay nourished and functional. I eat my feelings, I sleep my pain.
The nature that I have found I cannot share is the nature I have to hoard and nurture in myself. I must value the jokes, the tender truths in my heart that others cannot afford to get, have never been willing or able to get.
In deep cold, the body shuts down the extremities to keep the core vital.
I know the extremities that I have cut off, made invisible. It hurts, but the heart & mind have the imperative to survive.
In a culture where either/or, where us/them is the norm, my meaning gets trounced on. Even those shouting that they are non-binary usually still want to draw a line between themselves and the assimilated, creating their own hip good vs evil binary.
Anytime the world is divided into a binary, even by Dan Savage, I am destroyed. My liminality is the essence of me, a walking bisexual who crosses sex/gender and many other imaginary boundaries between humans.
What we did for love drives the story of almost every human life. Our struggle to get enough love becomes the driving force behind our choices.
The more we have to comply with expectations to get the love we need the more we internalize the shame projected on who we are.
For me, with my Aspergers parents, understanding and love was hard to find, even the basic tactile engagement all mammals need.
I needed to learn, therefore, how to live with scarce love, how to eke out what I got and swallow the parts of me that needed more. “Nobody loves me,” was my understanding, partly from the limits of what was on offer and partly from an understanding that to get even what was available I had to hide my nature by ferociously controlling my choices, keeping my emotions hidden and in check.
The cost of scarcity is high, especially when it is the scarcity of emotional mirroring. It leaves us to struggle with our own shame.
Fighting for others was always powerful to me, but fighting for myself was much harder. Not only did I not have someone who would fight with me and fight for me, I knew that my family would run from conflict, shaming me if I brought any unwanted attention.
Aesthetic denial was my only strategy, but without a cultural support network, the underlying feelings had to be eaten, and they were much better when washed down with fries and a Coke.
I eat my feelings, but that is a meal of bile and degradation.
No one, though, has shown me another choice for big, bright queers in a terrified world where people feel entitled to box up other people with a dogmatic set of labels.
To be present is a joy.
To not have others be present for me, though, is reason enough to open the refrigerator.