Go On and Be So Emotional

Don’t be so emotional. Keep it together. Be cool.

The world tells us in a million ways that showing, even having emotions is a sign of weakness.

Don’t be so intense. Calm down. (Psst, when in the history of humanity has saying, “Calm down,” ever calmed someone down?)

Apparently, we should aim for the stoicism and remove of statues.

Thanks, but no thanks.

The root of emotion means to move. Here’s a short list of items that don’t move: cement, sunk ships, things that are dead.

I want to be awed by Yosemite and cheered by dogs roughhousing, angered by injustice and floored by kindness. Our emotions are the way we experience what it is to be moved, to be changed, to be human. They are the primary source material of artists, the wellspring of creativity, the means by which we connect with others. No one ever said, “This is my dear friend Phil. He’s emotionless and wonderful!”

I know, I know: we don’t want to get blinded by our emotions. But there’s a great big difference between having an emotion and an emotion having us.

So let’s go on and show enthusiasm when we feel it - it lights up a room better than a 100-watt bulb. Find safe souls to weep with. Heap love on people. Make nourishing spaces to mourn, to grieve. Chase our curiosity. Know we don’t always have to be strong.

I’ll leave stoicism for the statues. To paraphrase Mary Oliver, I don’t want to leave the world having been unmoved by it.

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