At varying points in our lives, we’re each told what is and isn’t okay to feel. It’s a normal part of a society that teaches right/wrong, bad/good, etc. Sometimes we get this wrong though or we internalize a small moment that was a mere passing comment made without much thought in another person’s life. This is what underpins the art of unlearning and finding our way again as we get older. Some never do and admonish me for unladylike things. Others help me see a path to feel things I didn’t think I could.
Thinking about and feeling much of anything around surrogacy except for shallow gratitude for being alive has not felt very permissible. I “broke” at different points, letting slip that I wanted “my real mom” or asking how I could get in touch as I got older. Most of these moments were met with confusion and quick conversation without much space for feelings. Over time, I learned to shut down what I was feeling, as we all do about various things in our lives (I know I’m not unique here).
In the last ten years or so, I’ve started to explore what it feels like not to. What it feels like to see each moment where new, scary feelings come up to feel like a gift and a chance to feel things others didn’t give me space for. Why would I replicate what others did to me and not give myself the space now? I don’t want to do to myself what others did to me when I was too young to question and examine for myself.
Mind you, the emotions are wild and I would be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes thank the heavens for the ability to tuck them away. What a relief to sometimes get away with not having to feel it all and to be in a state of almost forgetting, where so much lies in wait just beneath the surface of my consciousness. I sometimes fear these feelings that have underpinned my entire life. They are big feelings that stretch through every part of me. When they course through me, they often shake everything loose and I worry the pieces won’t fit like they used to. I’m coming to realize though that it’s not always about the pieces fitting and that maybe this is a chance to see how the pieces already don’t fit. I’ve just grown used to the current structure that keeps me locked into familiar fears and storylines. What is there to do except feel and feel and feel until something new is created? I will give myself that space, even if others didn’t give it to me or realize I needed it. I won’t replicate or pretend to be satiated by the tiny feelings others allowed me. There’s so much here to explore and I won’t fear the feelings that others taught me were too much to handle.