There are some words that feel smooth coming up my throat and delicious on my tongue, but buoy is not one of them. Buoy reads like it makes no sense and sounds like it should be said some other way. But it’s the meaning – keep afloat – that’s most pleasant and runs deep inside me like a thick raw honey that coats and soothes all hurts.
A highly sensitive person, my nerves are always “on”: a sound, ten thousand drums; a smell, a thousand broken perfume bottles; a feeling, marrow deep.
Often I think of myself as a mooring place away from the shore. Some distant object that must be kept away from everything, plopped into the middle of nowhere, a mark of a navigational hazard.
‘Cause sometimes I’m just holding it all together and the ocean is as good a place as any, better than the desert, to break down every so often and cry a million liters. Though, deserts could use the water, but perhaps not the salt.
I am a danger. Well, not me exactly, but my feelings. Or, not my feelings exactly, but the weight of them. They could crush the strongest and destroy the weakest and I am a good person underneath and on top of all of this, so I choose not to take others down with me. Protect and disconnect.
Sometimes I think a baseline understanding of feelings could change the world, stop war, stop hate, stop anything and begin everything again.
I wish I understood earlier on that feelings are neutral, not good or bad, right or wrong. That being uncomfortable a little or a lot, feeling good a little or a lot is just human and doesn’t require response or action or explanation. And no one outside of my body, not even the people who belong to the voices in my heart and head — mother, father, sister, friend, coworker, annoying neighbor — have the capacity to make me feel anything.
Feelings originate inside me and can’t be transplanted like an organ, or fed to me like food, or caught like a virus through spittle. If they could be transported, injected elsewhere, I couldn’t, I wouldn’t. I don’t wish my depth of sadness or fear or rage on anyone. And I’d keep my joy and coy for myself. My precious.
I discovered what feelings are too late, not too late to change — it’s never too late to change of course — but too late for the delay not to have the oppressive consequence of constantly apologizing, to myself mostly, for feeling everything…all the time.
I’m doing the mindfulness thing, and the self-compassion thing, and the deep breathing thing, and the “you’ve got your journey and I’ve got mine” thing, and, and, and. But sometimes the screaming-like-a-hyena-with-rabies thing is good medicine too.
Sometimes I think of myself as just unsinkable. My upward buoyancy I guess is greater than the downward gravity of my feelings so I stay afloat, bob, bob, bobbing and weaving. If resistance is resilience, then that’s what I must be.
I’m not the writer I want to be yet. I am not the human I’m meant to be yet. I am not in this world how I could be yet. Or perhaps I am and I don’t see yet, ‘cause really, we are always where we’re meant to be – all we’ll be we are today – and isolation can play tricks on the mind-spirit-body.
The universe is infinitely patient with me, letting me figure out this whole human thing, this whole feeling thing in my own time. Not ending me. Or, the universe is totally indifferent and couldn’t give a shit. Or, I’ve got the DNA of a cockroach and refuse to die. Or, or, or. We could be here all day.
Until what I’m meant to be and what I am, meet and marry, I’ll wait to return to the dry and steady. Knowing — ’cause feeling is knowledge — I’m learning a thing or two or three: waves and storms, ebb and flow, tell stories and leave their mark on buoys.