It's true that strong feelings can descend from nowhere, like a whirlwind took you through every room in the house, bouncing off walls and leaving you exhausted and drained. But what about when your feelings are not strong? What happens when you don't seem able to feel them at all?
Those times when others are wailing and running about like children, making it seem as if their emotions are so very powerful they have no control over themselves. How quaint! Spare a thought for those of us who take so long to process important events we are still waiting for the first trickles of feelings to break through when everyone else has had the drama and gone home for tea.
Nothing like the meltdowns and stresses, not like the anxiety-induced shivers and tears. Not anything that could be deemed a proper emotion at all. Just a sense that if you were to think about it properly, there may be a feeling somewhere in the room with you. Probably.
Days later, weeks, months and the filtering process is finally starting to work. Like a reed bed on the bottom of the river, forcing the water to slow as it passes, catching tiny, sinking flotsam, the miscellanea of a life lived beneath the surface. There, the water is cleared of troubles and runs freely again.
And so, weeks later, my own filtering has worked enough so that I can feel it. see it for what it is, understand that these feelings are for here and that particular feeling is for there and some of those others are not ready to be felt at all yet.
How confusing it is when we are expected to understand and feel and react all in the same space of time! I suppose it's also mystifying for other people when they see us not doing these things, or doing them in the wrong order with no proper connection.
There is a connection, it is just a little bit like that river; it meanders and makes false turns and sometimes it runs too fast and rushes past where it should saunter. Then it slows and widens and has time to see where it is. But always it does carry on, whatever seems to be happening. Even when it is frozen, it is a river still and life exists within it.
Turning back I can see now what I left to one side, waiting for the time to be right to feel it and know it in its proper place. I waited long enough so that it would be done in the right way. This doesn't make those feelings any easier to have but it does mean they will be processed and not buried away.
Sometimes the most important part of any emotional reaction is giving yourself the time you need to have it, even if that time is measured to a different rule.