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2020- An emotional roller coaster!

"I like crying. It helps me slow down and obsess over the weight of life's problems."

- Sadness from the Disney movie Inside Out

With everyone being home for the holiday break we’ve had more time to cook, hang out and watch movies together. The other day I sat down to watch Inside Out with my husband. I hadn’t seen this Pixar movie in a while, but I love the characters as emotions of 11-year-old Riley, who moves across the country with her family when her dad gets a job transfer. It is this pivotal moment in Riley’s life that takes her on an emotional roller coaster as she navigates her new life in San Francisco.

Watching Joy & Sadness fight at the controls of Riley’s life made me think of how we wrestle with our own emotions. We think we should be happy, or joyful all the time. And if we’re not then something must be wrong with us. This is often compounded with societal pressures and conditioning that we should “be happy” ALL THE DAMN TIME. We are constantly striving for happiness in life. And while we certainly “feel better” when we are happy, we would not know joy or happiness without sadness. This is exactly what the characters in the movie discover by the end of the film.

After watching this movie I got to thinking about what a roller coaster of a year 2020 has been and how I’ve personally experienced EVERY. SINGLE. EMOTION. It hasn’t been easy either.

By nature, I am a happy, optimistic person. This year I felt a lot of heavy emotions that were hard to allow because not only do they go against my nature, but they are also emotions that I consider negative because of my own personal experiences. For instance, when I was a little girl my mom considered me to be dramatic and would often tell me to “Stop acting like Sarah Bernhardt!” Or, if I started to cry she would say “Stop crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about!” So, I learned from a young age that it was not safe or acceptable to express sadness or frustration. Anger is another emotion with which I have an aversion. I saw this emotion acted out in unhealthy ways as a young child, and as a result, I often decided that it is easier to “not rock the boat” rather than risk a confrontation.